Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Houghton Brook Blockage

Reported this blockage today. Wondering if Environment Agency at enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk will take note? Otherwise I'm going to be stuck on the phone explaining it to them.

Update: The email worked. A man from EA rang me at 17:00 2/Jan/15 to say he had cleared the debris. Result. Yeah!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Chill Out Time

Former X Factor contestant,Janet Devlin, does Stay With Me cover.

Lots of Discussions to do with Woodside Link

Plans on the Woodside Link Scheme, as approved, are here: http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/portal/searchresult.asp?appnumber=CB%2F14%2F04122

1. Placed discussion threads on here on 15 December 2014:
https://www.facebook.com/houghton.regis.news.desk/photos/a.398243747943.174062.290257647943/10152499774617944/?type=1&comment_id=10152506165767944&offset=0&total_comments=56&ref=notif&notif_t=photo_comment

2. Placed another discussion thread on here on 18 December 2014:
https://www.facebook.com/houghton.regis.news.desk/photos/a.398243747943.174062.290257647943/10152505778182944/


Discussion 1. Embeded here:


Discussion 2. Embedded here:

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Road Closures Luton - M1 J10a project update



M1 J10a Improvement Scheme related delays, closures and diversions.
Luton Borough Council logo
Thursday 11 December 2014

M1 J10a progress update


If you're travelling over Christmas, the following works update will be the final list of planned restrictions/closures/diversions over the festive period.

Work over the next few weeks will be affecting:

  • M1 J10a Spur – A1081 New Airport Way
  • London Road, Luton
  • A1081 New Airport Way
M1 J10a works
Please ensure that you allow extra time for your journey and any connections, particularly if you are flying to or from London Luton Airport.

M1 J10a Spur – A1081 New Airport Way


Description:
Lane closures on both sides of the carriageway so only one lane of traffic will be available in either direction. Lane closed between M1 Junction 10 to Capability Green.
Date:
Friday 12 December

Time:
20:00 to 06:00
 
Delays - Likely

London Road, Luton


Description:
Two-way traffic lights near the J10a site offices (near Kidney Wood roundabout).
Date:
Friday 12 December

Time:
20:00 to 06:00
 
Delays - Possible

A1081 New Airport Way


Description:
Lane closure on westbound carriageway between Capability Green and Kidney Wood roundabout. Only one lane of traffic will be available in either direction. Lane closed between M1 Junction 10 and Capability Green.
Date:
Tuesday 16 December

Time:
09:30 to 15:00
 
Delays - Likely

A1081 New Airport Way


Description:
Narrow lanes and cones will remain in the area at all times.
Date:
Continuous

Time:
Full duration
 
Delays - Possible

London Road, south of Kidney Wood roundabout, Central Beds


Description:
Narrow lanes and cones will remain in the area at all times.
Date:
Continuous

Time:
Full duration
 
Impact - Moderate

M1 J10a Spur – Junction 10 to Junction 10a


Description:
Narrow lanes and cones will remain in the area at all times.
Date:
Continuous

Time:
Full duration
 
Impact - Moderate

Kidney Wood roundabout


Description:
Narrow lanes and cones will remain in the area at all times. Alterations to the roundabout with temporary widening to permit works within the centre of the roundabout.
Date:
Continuous

Time:
Full duration
 
Impact - Moderate

Newlands Road


Description:
A temporary traffic light controlled site access will be in place on Newlands Road. This will permit plant access to the worksite.
Date:
Continuous

Time:
Full duration
 
Impact - Moderate
Please note
This information is published in good faith and is subject to change. We cannot accept any liability for delays or disruption, particularly those travelling to or from London Luton Airport.

We are doing everything possible to minimise disruption by keeping two lanes open to traffic in each direction whenever possible during daytime and peak hours throughout the 70-week programme. Nonetheless motorists should allow for potential delays.
View full M1 J10a project map
Copyright © 2014 Major Projects Team, Luton Borough Council, All rights reserved.
You have received this email because we believe or you have told us you are interested in updates on the M1 J10a Improvement Scheme. To unsubscribe, please use the link below.



P
ostal address is:
Major Projects Team, Luton Borough Council
Town Hall
George Street
Luton, England LU1 2BQ
United Kingdom

Saturday, 6 December 2014

£83 for Automated Council Tax Summons - Surely Some Mistake CBC?

It's almost laughable that Central Bedfordshire Council are charging £83 for an automated Council Tax Summons. That is allegedly the same sum it imposes on debtors where their cases proceed to application for a liability order. 

Enid Brighton's FOI Request

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Dunstable; The Next Chapter - A Video Critique


To the outside world I must reluctantly admit that people tend to know roughly where Dunstable is, but when it comes to Houghton Regis, most are clueless, and some even think it's somewhere on the south coast of England.

So, when it comes to this new video from Central Bedfordshire Council, I suppose they arguably have a reason for labelling the whole thing a regeneration of Dunstable. At the end of the day, any regeneration of Dunstable as a commercial and employment area in the wider context has to be a benefit for people living within its catchment area, and has to be welcomed.

But let's be honest, "Dunstable" is a bit of cuckoo, really. Established as a market area at the junction of the parishes of Houghton Regis, Kensworth, and Caddington, it has gradually flexed its muscles, taken in land that was Upper Houghton, land that is now western Dunstable, swallowing up the Houghton Regis land that once held the two Dunstable railway stations.

This map indicates the boundaries of Houghton Regis over the years. If they hadn't been fiddled about with by pressures from the cuckoo, it would be as big today as the wider pink blob.

Map shows earliest boundaries of Houghton Regis parish.


To look at this new film, you would believe that Dunstablians have every intention of swallowing up the rest of the town of Houghton Regis, for the commentator doesn't even mention Houghton Regis, even though many shots supporting the regeneration of "Dunstable" are actually taken in Houghton Regis.

0:32 Woodside Link was mentioned. That'll be in Houghton Regis and Chalton parish's.
1:15 Whitbread's flashed up there. That's in Houghton Regis.
1:33 The viewpoint from "Dunstable Downs" is actually in the Eaton Bray ward.
1:49 Bus is labelled "Parkside via Dunstable", but the commentator just calls it "Luton & Dunstable Guided Busway". Parkside is in Houghton Regis. Thank goodness for the lady in green at 5:31 mentioning her journeys from Houghton Regis.
2:02 Did you spot the gentleman climbing over the railings in the middle of the road? Surely an overlooked blemish? Safety doesn't come first, then?
2:24 Oh yes, The bypass. Not in Dunstable. That'll be in Houghton Regis Parish.
3:59 Vince Cable mentioned, for opening the Incuba Centre. Nice place, eco-friendly, excellent for hot-desking, business meetings, training etc.
6:18 Lorry emerges from Thorn Turn, Houghton Regis, and heads towards Dunstable.
6:22 There'll be "no lorries in the [Dunstable] High Street" says Cllr Young. Really? Should be careful what you say, councillor!
8:46 HQ Sports Bar. Tell us why you're wasting ecological resources with all those tv's on constantly, Don't people go out to get away from the tv?
9:38 I don't want to take anything away from the multi-million pound regeneration of Dunstable Leisure Centre, but with the new developments in Houghton Regis, original outlines included a NEW leisure centre facility for Houghton Regis, which now appear to be being reduced to refurbished continuation of the old. Watching that one.
10:47 - those new homes are in Houghton Regis. Built as an "affordable" homes estate, it will be one of the few in Houghton Regis, as only 10% of the new 5150 homes for the "Houghton Regis North 1" development are expected to be "affordable", partly because the developers are contributing £45m to the Dunstable Northern Bypass, which of course, will be built in Houghton Regis.

So, to sum up, good to see a promo video for the AREA, but a bit rude of the commentator not to mention Houghton Regis.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Parkside Walk About. Problems Problems Problems. (sigh)

Out and about in Parkside, Houghton Regis today. A few problems reported. A few remaining.

Litter and debris near Bloomsbury Gardens

A mattress is dumped on path by Bromley Gardens  (and another in Long Meadow). And hardboard dumped at end of Conquest Rd. And more rubbish by garages in Linmere Walk (where incidentally, we still have the weeds growing uncontrolled by a partially demolished garage.



Railings @ Bromley Gardens bent and twisted.

An issue with frayed ropes at Parkside Upper playground reported to HRTC.

I've long thought that something should be done with the pathway leading from Sandringham Drive's new estate to Parkside Lower playground. The path leads through a small copse and is used by young mum's taking their small children to the playground. If you've ever pushed a pushchair through mud, I think you'll understand the issue. I think I'll have another stab at CBC's Travel Choices people and see if they can't fund a solution. After all, they seem to be happy to spend money helping two-wheeled cyclists in South Beds, so how about other, four wheeled, pedestrian vehicles?

 



Ongoing Fareham Way issue:


Need to chase up a certain CBC officer about this:

That'll do for today. (sigh).

Footnote 1/12/2014. Very responsive reply from CBC Environmental Protection Officer about the burnt out garage. "Have asked for a sample analysis to be taken in regards to the possibility of asbestos with in the waste from the roof covering. Once I have the results of that test we will be in place to select a contractor to clear and secure the garage. Once this is done I will finalise the case file and sent to our legal team."

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Cemetery Charges Under Review



Houghton Regis Town Council meet tonight to review various charges, including burial costs at their cemetery in Cemetery Road. Should the charges be left as they are, increased by the rate of inflation, or brought into line with charges made by bigger local authorities?

I've just done some research, and although Houghton Regis charges very fairly as compared to similar small towns in Central Bedfordshire, the cost of looking after graves over many years is never really met. Crematoriums are run at a profit, graves at a loss. Farmers are no longer giving away land as a favour for a cemetery, preferring to sell it to developers for new housing. The value of any land a town council has, has to be carefully weighed up. It won't last forever.

The Town Council are currently looking into the prospect of converting a recreation ground (WITH  COVENANTS ON IT, ONE THAT RESTRICTS ITS USE TO "OPEN SPACE FOR RECREATIONAL USE") into a cemetery that might last them 40 years. Well, what happens after the 40 years are up? What playing field comes under scrutiny next?

The land use might be spun out a bit further by building mausoleums, and charging high fees for vaults (prices up to £37,000 at Bedford Borough Council), but in the meantime, more should be done to dissuade burials, and encourage cremations.

Sample fees (sourced Nov 2014) :

Exclusive Right of Burial (Adult) cost to authority residents 75 years except where stated):
£954 East Finchley  (+50% for advanced reserve)
£893 Mill Hill  (+50% for advanced reserve)
£860 Watford (50 years)
£675 Luton
£561 Bedford
£469 Stevenage
£260 Toddington
£236 Houghton Regis
£220 Edlesborough (50 years, includes interment)
£205 Flitwick
£160 Biggleswade (100 years)

After the burial right, the cost of Interment in a grave:
£620 Luton
£619 Bedford (with other options up to £37,447)
£552 East Finchley / Mill Hill
£450 Watford
£262 Flitwick
£248 Stevenage
£200 Biggleswade
£163 Toddington
£110 Houghton Regis


Permit for headstone:
£212 Bedford
£170 Stevenage
£150 Toddington
£84 East Finchley / Mill Hill
£64 Flitwick
£45 Edlesborough
£43 Houghton Regis
£40 Biggleswade

* Footnote: since writing this, the committee agreed to increase the fees in Houghton Regis by 5% rather than the 3% in-line with inflation suggested by officers. Luton's fees are due to rise again in January 2015. For the record, when the covenants on Orchard Close came to light, this changed everything for me. I do not support Orchard Close being used as a cemetery.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Apalling Fly-Tipping Problem in Essex!

It's going to cost about a £1million to clear this lot up, is just one of the quotes in this story from the BBC. I really can't understand why any local councillor has allowed things to get into this state. In my experience you have to keep going out in your patch, seeing what the problems are, and reporting them. If you don't report them things get out of hand and this is the result.


Story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-30146968

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Appalling Behaviour of Tory Councillor @Councillorsuzie - Pointing Out A Person As Fat - And Just For A Laugh.

If Suzie knows Gemma, and knew she could take it as a joke, then fair enough.

If Suzie simply doesn't like ANY fat people, and doesn't care for their vote, then fair enough.

But otherwise, this is BAD. BAD. BAD.




Thursday, 13 November 2014

Pharmaceutical Needs in Central Bedfordshire (file note)

Document includes lots of health statistics, chemist opening times, services they provide, ward by ward, life expectancy,  Stop Smoking Services, Substance Misuse, Childhood Obesity, population maps by ward,  End of Life Care Medicines  service, Legislative requirements, for Central Bedfordshire.

  Link.

Houghton Brook - Lilly Lane (file note)

 I took a number of pictures of the Houghton Brook yesterday afternoon alongside the path between the cricket pavilion and Park Road North. Historically this route is known as Lilly Lane.






The Houghton Brook starts behind the Pavilion on Houghton Regis Village Green and wends eastward. It is claimed as the source of the River Lea.  Sustrans National Cycle path N0. 6. runs alongside the Brook through Houghton Regis. The waters easily collect debris from small fallen branches between the Green and across to Parkside. And then there are people who don't care and throw things into it.

My contact at the Environment Agency has now promised me that he "will get one of our Operations gangs to come and clear the brook. I will try and get this done ASAP."

The EA will attend to calls made to their incident number (0800 80 70 60 ) by members of the public reporting obstruction/blockages such as fallen trees. They don’t own the Houghton Brook and  have no legal responsibility to carry out any work on it. Maintenance of the brook is the responsibility of the land or riparian owner. The EA carry out maintenance works on the brook for flood defence purposes using powers granted to them by Government.

The EA have a brochure "Living on the Edge". If you own land or property next to a river, stream or ditch you are a ‘riparian landowner’ and this guide is for you. It has been updated with new information on who to contact for guidance on watercourses. Download here (pdf).

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Question About Stray Dogs In Central Bedfordshire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/235372/response/582062/attach/html/3/141107%20Bloomfield%201686%2010Response.pdf.html

Unfinished Business

In July and August I provided Central Bedfordshire Council with a "tip of the iceberg" report on the state of overgrown trees in Parkside. I am still waiting to hear what they will actually do about them, apart from pass the baton to someone else to look into.
http://alandwinter.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/our-mature-trees-need-maintenance.html
http://alandwinter.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/parkside-tree-reports.html

Back in April the Town Partnership, a joint committee of Town and Central Bedfordshire Councillors and officers from both, met to decide a way forward to removing a pile of concrete from Kirton Way. I am still waiting to hear when and if any action will actually take place.
http://www.houghtonregis.org.uk/minutes/town-partnership

I have not had any news on any schedule of works to remedy the works in the High Street. We were informed in the summer that the rectification bill would be met by the private supermarket developers, although the work would be carried out by Amey.
http://alandwinter.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/still-waiting-to-hear-what-will-be-done.html

On 15th July I presented a petition to CBC  requesting that provision be made for a social club within the redeveloped Co-op site on Houghton Regis High Street. Senior CBC councillor Nigel Young delegated an officer to liaise with myself, the club chairman and the two CBC ward councillors. To date all I've been told is that negotiations on the site are confidential.

I have had CBC officers investigate three eyesore garages in Newbury Road. This has resulted in enforcement notices, and the area being made more respectable, although it needs constant monitoring.
http://alandwinter.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/newbury-rd-garages-update.html

A problem of parking near the Parkside Neighbourhood Centre has been investigated. Housing and Highways officers from CBC have advised me, and I have seen residents involved. Let's hope the residents understand each other now.

Last year I highlighted the problem of empty garages in the ownership of CBC (http://alandwinter.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/wasted-resources-of-empty-garages.html). I was told in a Freedom of Information request that Central Bedfordshire Council owned  1,016 garages in Houghton Regis, of which 565 of them were boarded up, and apparently a waiting list of only 25. A wasting asset in my view. Action seems to be nearing some conclusion as I understand that CBC are working up a couple of schemes to redevelop one of two garage blocks in the Tithe Farm area, although not in Parkside, just yet.

Application to build one bedroom flats on the old Dog & Duck car park - the outcome of this is awaited with interest. My objections were largely based on poor security provision for the site, such as leaving proposed bike cupboards exposed to a public car park. http://alandwinter.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/objections-to-plan-for-building.html






Monday, 3 November 2014

Beetle


found on the Busway near Dunstable ... but what sort is it?

Try here: ɥʇʇd://ʍʍʍ˙nʞsɐɟɐɹᴉ˙ɔoɯ/pǝʌᴉlsɔoɐɔɥ-ɥoɹsǝ˙ɥʇɯ

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Objections to A Plan for Building Construction on Dog & Duck Car Park

My comments about the application CB/14/03488 posted to CBC 14/10/2014.

1. I am concerned about the proposed new car park at the northern side. Firstly, there are 4 trees on this site of various quality, and in my opinion one or more of these should be worthy of retention. Secondly, I am concerned about the noise likely to emanate late at night as people leave the bar/restaurant and the slamming of car doors in close proximity to residential homes. Thirdly, I am concerned about the turning of vehicles at night and headlights shining into nearby windows of the residential area of Dolphin Drive.

If trees do have to be lost and the car park does have to be constructed then more consideration should be given to sound-proofing and building a northern wall boundary. This would have the effect of limiting noise, containing headlights, and providing additional security for vehicles while their owners are within the bar/restaurant.

2. I am concerned about aspects of the southern boundary of the whole site. I do not regard the low rail as sufficient security for the maisonettes. The proposed bike sheds would be an easy target for thieves accessing the site from the Town Council's public car park. The low rail border would also serve to encourage residents and visitors to the flats to park in the public car park, causing inconvenience to motorists using the football fields particularly at weekends.

Even a 6ft high close boarded fence would be inadequate as there would then exist the problem of maintenance. I would recommend a 2m high wall boundary to improve security and to discourage use of the public car park.

3. To make the site more secure, the western edge of the car park should have a retaining wall to discourage random walk-throughs with inherent opportunistic theft.

4. I do not think that having three different places for bin storage is good design. It would assist the refuse collection service if there was one central place for all of the bins.

5. I object to the reference in the design and access statement that refers to the grass verge on the southern edge of the site being referred to as an amenity area for the residents of the maisonettes. The grass verge there would surely fall to the Town Council to maintain, and maintenance effort would be increased. I'm also unhappy about the lack of mention of the trees on the southern boundary and any help in the application to explain what will happen to them should the application go through.


After the go ahead was given by CBC, these comments appeared on my Facebook Page:

1. About the decision by CBC:


2. About Kishor's new store:



Friday, 10 October 2014

Request For Highway Controls

When a resident requests additional parking controls by CBC, CBC may well write back advising that they need to demonstrate wider support for the proposal, support from the CBC ward councillor, and from the Town Council.

The form below helps residents through the process.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Kt375B3eTNNzdGcTBidlZHWWswSl9WQVdMR0gzMmNsd3BZ/view?usp=sharing

I would be happy help assist anyone with this process within Houghton Regis.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Help Stamp Out FGM - Conference Will Help Councils Understand

I am appalled by female genital mutilation. I had the misfortune to see on community channel on tv yesterday a woman use a dirty razer blade to cut a young woman where it really hurts. I did not need to see that because  I already have read around the subject and I want to see this savagery halted. A conference is being held this month that will help councils to understand how they can do more to stop this cruel crime of ignorance towards young women.
http://www.local.gov.uk/events/-/journal_content/56/10180/6356935/EVENT

Time To Recognise the State of Palestine

On Monday 13th October, the House of Commons will be debating a motion which calls for the UK Parliament to recognise the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel. This will give rightful legitimacy to the State of Palestine and its right to self-determination.

To finally have a workable two-State solution, then this has to involve two recognised and legitimate States within the negotiation process. The UK recognised Israel in 1950, and did not ask Palestinian permission to do so. The UK Government has the power to recognise Palestine now, upholding basic rights and freedoms for all people in the region.

Statehood cannot be conditional, it must not be part of the peace process but an intrinsic right for the Palestinian people with Israel having no say over another people's right to self-determination.

Palestine has acquired the attributes of a State, it has the functioning institutions worthy of a State as recognised by the IMF and the World Bank, and is ready for statehood. Its borders are still subject to negotiation, as indeed are Israel's borders but recognising Israel in the 1950's was not subject to negotiation and neither should recognition of Palestine.

The time to recognise Palestine is now.

The right of a people to choose its own destiny is an intrinsic, irrefutable human right. Recognition of Palestine as a State is an indispensable stage in a peaceful two-State solution.

If they me you feel passionately about this issue then please contact your local MP to make sure they attend the debate and speak up for Palestinian recognition. You can do this easily by clicking on this link http://act.palestinecampaign.org/lobby/Palestine.

(The text above has been adapted from a letter by David Ward, Member of Parliament for Bradford East. I have long been of the view that Palestinians have legitimate long-standing grievances.)

Update: MPs voted to chose to recognise the state of Palestine by 274 votes for recognition to only 12 votes against recognition. 13/10/2014

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Are you affected by hate crime?


Hate crime is motivated by prejudice or intolerance of disability,
race or religion, and includes physical attacks to someone or their property, offensive letters or phone calls, verbal abuse or insults, and bullying at school or work. Hate Crime hurts those who are vulnerable, and more victims need to be encouraged to come forward.
There are national support groups that can also offer help and advice to you:
Stop Hate UK 24 hour helpline: 0800 138 1625 or Text Relay 18001 0800 138 1625
Victim Support helpline number: 0845 30 30 900
Bullying UK helpline number: 0808 800 2222

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

How I Scored Politically Against the Policies of All of the Parties

Which UK political party do you side with? I found a very interesting quiz today that asks you questions and determines your political stance against the political parties various policies or pronouncements.

You can drill down deeper and see where you share or differ in opinion to each party. It has helped me somewhat to underline my own discomfort with the Liberal Democrats (nationally), and my own decision to leave them earlier this month, making me an Independent on my local council.

Looking at the comparison scores below, I guess at the General Election I would be the typical floating voter to be won over.

Some of the questions asked left me needing to research further to make sure I answered in the way that best reflected how I feel; the quiz "Learn more" button helped me to achieve that.

My resultant scoring: Lib Dem 65%, Labour 63%, Cons 63%, UKIP 61%. To be honest,  I expected the Greens to show up a lot higher than 17%, but maybe I had previously thought that they had a different policy to the viewpoint I had. That alone is a good reason for taking the quiz - to see if what you think is really what your favoured party thinks.

I've noticed a commentator suggesting that this type of online quiz would be more democratic than actually voting in a polling booth. Not really sure how that would convert to a vote for a candidate to be an MP, but as pre-cursor to going into the booth to place an X (the mark of the illiterate!) it could be a useful exercise if some agreement could be thrashed out about all the algorithms involved.

It's got to be less time consuming than listening to hours of argumentative political speeches, and reading worthless reams of leaflets. But there again, politics is forever fluid, persuasion will never stop, and nothing is ever set in stone.

Monday, 29 September 2014

WEEDS - Neglect of Our Housing Estates in Central Bedfordshire

LETTER TO DUNSTABLE GAZETTE 29/9/2014

Whilst out and about in my locality I obviously pick up on issues and problems and I don't claim a monopoly on reporting these in to Central Bedfordshire Council. So I just wondered what experience other folk have around our CBC area? Seems to me that there must be a manpower / financial problem in not getting attention to our housing estates. I would be obliged if by response, a CBC executive councillor would like to explain the reasons for the apparent neglect? These sample images were taken in my ward in Houghton Regis on 28/9/2014.


Regards,
Alan D Winter
Independent Councillor,  Parkside Ward, Houghton Regis Town Council
Tel 01582 514654
Editor, Houghton Regis News Desk


(2nd picture (weeds at Parkside Drive crossing): 1/10/14 CBC have raised a worksheet for Waste Services reference 14/053112 to investigate)

Sunday, 14 September 2014

So, If Scotland Does Go Independent, What Will Our New Flag Look Like?

Just for fun, I had a look at what we have now, and what we could have.

Here's the familiar Union Jack flag.



This is a union of various flags. Firstly, the flag of St Patrick (Ireland).



Secondly, the flag of St George (England), a red cross on a white background, associated with Saint George since the time of the crusades.


Thirdly, the flag of St Andrew (Scotland),  also known as Saint Andrew's Cross or the Saltire,  the national flag of Scotland.



So, if Scotland goes, we could have a new flag. Take away the blue background of Scotland, and the white diagonal cross and that leaves us with this:

Boring! But, hang on, what about the flag of St David, for Wales? I don't buy the argument that we should incorporate Welsh dragons; we'd then have to think about English lions, and anyway my theme deals with  Saints. Well, here  is St David's flag, a national flag for Wales.



So, let's incorporate that, leaving us with something like this:




Ah, one more thought! Cornwall. Often pushing for independence, but how about making the people of Cornwall feel more welcome, by incorporating Saint Piran's Cross, also known as the Flag of Cornwall. A centred white cross on a black background.



So, that would give us our new union flag! That would look something like this:

A new flag for a new union?



Much better! What do you think?

So, after first writing this, I see a similar flag to this posted on the Mirror.co.uk web site:



I like in a way as it gives the St George cross more prominence. But the Cornish white cross is missing!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Fareham Way - Bushes Cut Back Request

https://www.fixmystreet.com/report/519481

Just For the Record ...

Last Friday I wrote to cancel my membership of the Liberal Democrats.

My decision was not taken lightly, and I do not want to go into the reasons in any detail here. Let's just say it was an accumulation of major and minor issues, since the debacle of student loans, that have ultimately resulted in me being very uncomfortable remaining in the party.

I have thought about this throughout August to make sure that I was comfortable with this decision. I have carried out my duties in this period with gritted teeth at times. There can be no half-way house for me. To resign certain posts and take a back seat, like several others have done, would only prolong the discussion over me and hinder the progress of those who want to get on with the task of positively promoting the Liberal Democrats.

I intend to remain a fully participating member of the Houghton Regis Town Council, albeit not one belonging to any particular party.

Friday, 5 September 2014

A Crossing For Windsor Drive, Houghton Regis?

I received an enquiry about a crossing for Windsor Drive this afternoon, so I thought I'd blog it.

When members of the public send in requests for Highways work, people are now being sent a stiff letter asking them to get support of local people including elected councillors. I am aware of the kind of letter that Nick Chapman is sending out. Indeed, I have myself been sent one.

This appears to be a directive from CBC to Highways to make them think harder about where they spend their money, and to make ad hoc requests from the public more quantifiable, and responsible. If that's the reasoning, then it seems like a good strategy to me, especially as CBC are facing another round of cuts (or a whopping council tax rise) next year, and need to get value for money.

I discussed this matter with the town clerk, Clare Evans, at the end of July and she was going to make a form available for members of the public requesting ad hoc work, which would indeed need qualifying by locally elected representatives.

As to the matter of a crossing (or 2 - I'm not certain if one or 2 were being thought about) on Windsor Drive, my understanding through my enquiries, is that members of CBC have actually given the go ahead for a crossing. Unfortunately money to do this work has not yet materialised, as it was supposed to have been done through developer contributions via the new Sandringham Drive estate, and these have since hit snags.

I have been waiting since the beginning of July 2014, which is when I last received an update on this matter from CBC, (including officers as well as Cllr Spurr and Cllr Young) to learn if there is to be any satisfactory outcome. I shall follow up on that, again, now.

I shall keep you all informed if I do receive an update.

If I do not get an update, the next public opportunity to voice concern on Windsor Drive would be at the Town Partnership Committee  on 20th October, to be held at Peel Street, Houghton Regis at 7.30pm. The Town Partnership Committee is a meeting of CBC and Town Council representatives, with officers from both council also present.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Gaza, homeless people in Alatara

Comment: Israel will one day pay for its war crimes. One holocaust was enough. Have the Jews of Israel forgotten?

Photo Title: Gaza, homeless people in Alatara
Subtitle: Persons rendered homeless due to Israeli crimes in Gaza
Copyright and Picture licencing details: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Attribution: Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phrisrael/)