New Mayor of Houghton Regis to be nominated this week

  • A new mayor and deputy are to be nominated by fellow Houghton Regis Town Councillors next week as the council meets for its Annual Meeting.

The newly appointed Mayor will hold the chain of office until the next Annual Meeting in 2023. 

The current mayor, Cllr Clare Coplestone, will retire.

Traditionally, this is a popular time for the local community to gather together in the Council offices in Peel Street and to listen to the nominations and speeches, grab a few photos, and with a bit of luck grab a plateful of nibbles and a glass of wine —

As with Covid times, the meeting will be available online via this Meeting Link.  It's a good idea to install Microsoft Teams on your PC beforehand, if you intend to look in on proceedings.

Councillors meet throughout the year, normally in the early evening, but sometimes during the day, discussing such things as budgets, entertainments, events, planning matters affecting the parish, staffing issues, grounds work, grants to outside bodies, reviewing policies, and they also send representatives to  these  outside organisations:
All Saints View Stakeholder Group
Bedfordshire Association of Town & Parish Councils
Chews Foundation
Citizens Advice
Hospice at Home Volunteers
Houghton Hall Park Project Board
Houghton Hall Park MAG
Houghton Regis North Stakeholder Group
Memorial Hall Committee
South Beds Dial-a-Ride

Town Councillors work to a range of standing orders which are the written rules of a local council. You can find a copy of the Standing Orders in the Agenda for the Annual Council Meeting 2022 meeting from page 87. Useful information for anyone considering standing for election to be a local councillor in 2023.

Past mayor: Cllr Tracey McMahon

In 2020 the Government passed emergency Regulations further to the Coronavirus Act allowing councils to hold meetings remotely. When the regulations expired in May 2021 it became necessary for the legal participants of a meeting to be physically present. Houghton Regis Town Council agreed to continue to offer others, including members of the public, the opportunity to observe and partake in the meetings from remote locations to aid and encourage the democratic process. 

Past mayor: Cllr Joanna Hillyard

At the Annual meeting, the minutes of earlier Council meetings will be presented for approval. The devil is often in the detail, as they say, and the 133-page Agenda will tell you quite a tale of Houghton Regis matters for those who have the eye for it all.

Here's an interesting nugget from p12 of the Agenda, "Members suggested that Op Hana be requested to patrol the roads by the schools periodically to ensure the safety of the area during peak times." - Op Hana is a scheme whereby Houghton Regis Town Council gives money to Bedfordshire Police in return for a certain number of hours work over and above what the Police would ordinarily afford the Town. Well, that's the theory, anyway. Prior to this, the Council used to pay a private security company around £35,000 per annum to patrol public buildings in the area.

Past mayor: Cllr Ken Wattingham

p13 in the Agenda tells us, "Members were advised that there had been an increased offer in s106 monies, with the original figure of £38,000 being increased to approximately £280,000." - Well, s106 is money that comes from developers; a sort of tithe for allowing them to build a new house or bunch of houses in the area. The money goes to Central Beds Council, and here they are recognising a scheme for Houghton Regis, namely the new pavilion and all weather pitch being constructed at Tithe Farm Recreation ground, and chipping in £280,000 from that s106 pool of money.

On p14 we read, "Fly the Ukrainian flag from one of the flag poles on the Village Green", and " Light the flag poles with the Ukraine colours" - our councillors even discussed Ukraine and what they could do for the community. Are you enjoying the colours?

p16 tells us - "Members of the public spoke on behalf of the Friends of Windsor Drive Group regarding the Local Green Space" — well, there go you. We've heard a lot about this on social media, haven't we? What will the outcome be? Watch this space! In fact, Watch That Space!

p17 — "Houghton Regis Town Council had no objections to this application." - There are a lot more planning meetings at HRTC than other kinds. And most of the time the applications it sees are quite ordinary.

p18 onwards - well, why not have a read for yourself? Download the Agenda file here.

To: All Town Councillors   Notice of Meeting    
You are hereby summoned to the Annual Meeting of the Houghton Regis Town Council to be held in the Council Offices, Peel Street on Wednesday 18th May 2022.  
Members of the public who wish to attend the meeting may do so in person or remotely  through the meeting link below.   
To attend remotely through Teams please follow this link: MEETING LINK  
Please follow this guidance if attending the meeting remotely LINK  

Meeting Place: Council offices, Peel Street, Houghton Regis
Date: Wednesday 18th May 2022.  
Time: 7pm