Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Houghton Regis Central - Autumn update


Houghton Regis Central is the working title for a 170 unit development for Central Bedfordshire Council for elderly people on the site between Clarkes Way and the High Street, facing eastwards onto the Village Green.


The programmed timetable was outlined by the director at a meeting of the Town Partnership Committee at HRTC offices on Monday.

An architect has been appointed - Kyle Smart Associates - after a shortlist of candidates were given a chance to shine. They were responsible for the work at Priory View, Dunstable. Priory View is a new housing development in the centre of Dunstable offering a total of 83 one and two bedroom apartments Extra Care facility for older people (brochure.pdf) Applications, etc.

A 3D model is in the making, akin to Minecraft, which can be adjusted and tweaked as feedback starts to come back from selected interest groups. This is expected to be available to the public very early in the new year.

Another firm has been appointed to undertake the public consultation work, and raise further awareness and get more feedback. They are due to make a presentation to the Town Council on 1st February, and earlier exhibitions may take place in Bedford Square Community Centre.

If all goes well, a planning application could be submitted in the Spring. Equally, if something comes up that throws a financial spanner into the scheme, or an unachievable objective comes along, then the scheme might not happen at all.

To find out more, we have a Facebook Group Houghton Regis Central: https://www.facebook.com/groups/houghtonregiscentral

Monday, 12 October 2015

Public, Councillors, and Developers: Think! Before You Plant!


Only this last week I was contacted by a householder upset at the lack of light to their home because years ago a tree was planted too close to a home. This tree will be dealt with eventually by CBC, but at the moment not during the next 12 months, according to an update to me from the relevant CBC office.

The public, councillors, and developers clearly need to be educated about the effects of trees when planted near homes.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

COMMENTS WITH REGARD TO CB/15/03411



I am disappointed that the site layout design seems to have ignored the possibility of joining with the owners of the old Red Lion to create a new site entrance for the Red Lion off the applicant's new cul-de-sac. This could have reduced the number of entrances onto the Bedford Road.

Who will be responsible for the "mown amenity grass" between the private gardens, and the "general meadow area" and who will manage the other areas of soft landscaping? I refer to drawing http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/portal/showimage.asp?j=CB/15/03411&index=620830

The trees mentioned in http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/portal/showimage.asp?j=CB/15/03411&index=620837 should not be planted so close to houses that they become a problem in 20-30-40 years time. Regard should especially be taken to ensure that fruiting trees are not planted close to houses. These can become a problem for parked vehicles, dropping fruit such as cherries on cars, or providing a perch for birds that leave their droppings on parked vehicles. Trees should not be planted so close to houses that future branch growth interferes with light to windows, or causes leaves to fall into guttering. Council enforcement officers should especially inspect to ensure adherence to this.

Trees which are particularly prone to self seeding should be avoided altogether from the site, especially close to homes and gardens. The seedlings are a constant cause of irritation to people living in the Parkside ward of Houghton Regis, primarily because of the need to keep on weeding out unwanted seedlings. I would not care to be a resident on the new site having to face the same issues all over again.

Householders should be encouraged not to plant new trees near their houses. The Council could put together advisory leaflets drawing on the examples of problems that might arise in the future, from Parkside, Houghton Regis.

Specifically, there are many trees depicted planted very close to houses in http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/portal/showimage.asp?j=CB/15/03411&index=620826 so I object to this.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Hillborough Crescent Double Yellow Parking Set To Continue


It looks like illegal parking in Hillborough Crescent is set to continue, because, according to a response from CBC that I have received, by the time the parking enforcement staff have parked up, and walked back down the road towards the illegal parkers, the drivers have seen them coming and hurried away!


The problems with parking on double yellow lines at Hillborough Crescent have long persisted. Even Google streetview has caught several vehicles parked on there.


The Control Enforcement Officers have to park down the road from the lines and walk back to the offending vehicles. This gives the chancers time to move on before a Penalty Charge Notice can be issued.


I've been told the Parking Team are aware there is a problem here and will continue to patrol the area and do their best.



Hillborough Crescent Friday. Here's a reminder.
Posted by Houghton Regis News Desk on Saturday, 3 October 2015

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

2015, Sept 29 - Town Council Meeting

Myself and one other member of the public turned up for last night's Town Council meeting, here in Houghton Regis. All...

Posted by Alan Winter on Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Sunday, 6 September 2015

This Last Week on Facebook

I Am Human First

The immigrant crisis was foremost in our social media minds this week.

It didn't start with the image of a drowned child being washed up on a Greek shore, but public opinion was polarised by it. And some people who knew no facts leading up to that little boys death were quick to condemn all immigrants, without regard to their own humanity. That appalled me.

I was reminded of John Lennon's lyrics in Imagine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRhq-yO1KN8

The other thing that appalled me was how ignorant some people are on international events. I shared a viral video to my Facebook Page of an ordinary  girl who happens to live in a war zone.

So take away the countries, take away the religions, and what we have left is what we all started with. Humanity.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

83 Year Old Lady Fined For Having Her Dog in A Playground

This story emerged on Friday this week. It concerns a lady of 83 walking her dog around a park, getting short of breath and needing to sit down for a rest. A dog warden, employed by, and enforcing rules laid down by Central Bedfordshire Council, saw her, apparently told her she could sit there for 5 minutes but nevertheless slapped her with a £50 fine, and if not paid in so many days time, the fine escalates to £80.




The park in question is in French's Avenue, Dunstable. It's a playing field with one goalpost strategically set so that 2 kick arounds can go either side simultaneously. A cinder track goes around the grass, and 5 adult play features are scattered around it to encourage people to exercise. In one corner of the playing field is a children's play area that has railing all around it. The playing field has no seats in it, although there is a backless bench and a bench with a back inside the children's play area.



Cllr Budge Wells was asked to speak on behalf of the Council on the JVS show.
Listen Again to the show from 1:04 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02xxftw

Well, clearly the dog should have been tied up on the railings OUTSIDE the play area before the lady went to sit down INSIDE the play area. But at some times ones health is the most pressing need. And the need to rest was clearly uppermost in her mind. The dog warden ought to have had more consideration for the lady's welfare. She's hardly going to be a out and out trouble maker at her age, that needs to be told to toe the line.The correct approach should have been for the dog warden to take the dog out, tie it up outside while the lady rested. And then remind her of the signs when she left.


2. People need to write in to Dunstable Town Council and request that a seat or seats are placed around the cinder track. Judging by the amount of new housing in the immediate area, there should be a little bit of S106 money in a pot somewhere.  Here's the email address: info@dunstable.gov.uk

3. For the stress the lady has been put to, she should be treated to a dinner out, or at least a bunch of flowers.

17/8/2015 UPDATEFINE CANCELLED: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02ygjm6 and skip to 2:30
18/8/2015 UPDATE: I have received an email from Dunstable Town Council that states, "Alan,
Thank you for your email to David Ashlee ... I can confirm that the Town Council will be placing benches in the Frenchs Avenue Public Open Space  as part of a wider initiative to renew and replace park furniture across a number of sites in the coming months." Grounds and Environmental Services, Dunstable Town Council

Monday, 3 August 2015

Hey! Buzz Off Pesticides Companies! We Need the Bees!


Wow. Bayer, BASF and Syngenta are suing the European Commission to overturn a ban on the pesticides that are killing millions of bees around the world. A huge public push won this landmark ban only months ago -- and we can't sit back and let Big Pesticide overturn it while the bees vanish.

Last summer, 37 million bees were discovered dead on a single Canadian farm. And unless we act now, the bees will keep dying by the millions. We have to show Bayer now that we won't tolerate it putting its profits ahead of our planet's health. If this giant corporation manages to bully Europe into submission, it would spell disaster for the bees.

Please join me in signing the petition to tell Bayer, BASF and Syngenta to drop their bee-killing lawsuits now.

http://action.sumofus.org/a/bayer-bees-lawsuit/13/?sub=mtl

Thank you.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Local Councils Out-Priced for Home Rentals By London Councils

Isn't it ridiculous? Council's in London can afford higher rentals to house their homeless families in Luton, thereby pricing Luton out of the local market, and forcing Luton to send their homeless people further north.

There's a hint there, for Luton people who think they might be homeless soon. Make a good case to the London Councils of why you're actually homeless in London. Then, they might just send you to Luton!




 Labour and other successive governments should have built more houses.

You don't have to be sleeping rough to be homeless. You are homeless if you don't have any rights to stay where you live or your home is unsuitable for you. Anyone expecting to be made homeless should make arrangements, fast. Best place I konow of to start looking for advice is at Shelter. http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/homelessness

Saturday, 1 August 2015

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Monday, 27 July 2015

Time to Renew My Royal Mail Opt-Out


Add caption
Anyone fed up with Royal Mail pushing unaddressed mail through their door can opt-out.

Apparently my 2 years of opting out has now expired, so that explains why the postie is cramming more crap through my door.

Yes, I know it's a job creation scheme, for the leaflet designers, the printers, the bulk deliverers, the postman, the bin-men, the recycling centre sorting people, and paper-makers, but to be honest, it's mostly absolutely unwanted by anyone in my household, so I prefer to opt-out.

Bear in mind that the Royal Mail don't deliver election material, so you should still get that if you opt-out.

And also bear in mind that Royal Mail reckon that 75% of junk mail doesn't actually come from them. So you might want to invest in a "NO JUNK MAIL" sign for your letter box, and then jump out on the first people that ignore that sign, to give them a piece of your mind, so that they get the message.

The process involves going to Royal Mail website, writing to an address, waiting while you receive back gumf explaining the process, and then filling out a form, and post it back to them. So much for being simple!

To save a bit of time, you could download the paperwork they sent to me click on the link in that to download the OPT-OUT FORM, fill that in and mail it off.

Once you've opted out, RM should send you a sticker saying OPTED-OUT which you need to put somewhere near your letter box - after all, the poor old postie can't be expected to remember EVERYONE who has opted out.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

HRN2 Outline Approved - Without Land Identified for Cemetery

I attended the 2 hour debate at CBC on Wednesday this week on whether to allow the outline planning permission for HRN2, or not. It was all a forgone conclusion, really. The Conservatives have a huge majority, and none of the 4 councillors representing Houghton Regis, 3 of whom are that rare opposition, even have a vote on the DMC.

Lots of objections were put in. It's in the green belt, the number of allotments doesn't match how many should be provided per household, road safety concerns with the road layout proposal, traffic volumes on Bedford Road, the original proposal for a wildlife visitor hut had been removed, there was a need for a new cemetery in the town and no provision for one. There were nods to some of these, but in the voting, the need to create new housing seemed to take on the majority opinion.

Who knows, maybe some of these concerns will be worked out before the full planning permissions go through? I doubt they all will be. Some of those things needed to have been "set in stone" before the outline was agreed. In fact, one of the Tories said as much, and then said he'd still be supporting the outline application. Beggars belief.

If not Orchard Close, and not the HRN2 site, where?
So, what are the options for a new cemetery, now? Orchard Close was investigated for its suitability, by the Environment Agency, then dropped due to covenants protecting it for open space for recreational use. The other original choice was Windsor Drive, which might have also been used for allotments, but local opposition is expected there. That site is even closer to the water table, so is less suitable than Orchard Close. That's a big problem for any site within Houghton Regis Parish. The water table. There might just be other plots on the edges of the parish our town councillors might look at, like at Sewell (still in the parish), but environmentally special and sensitive to many people.

With the Town Council having few options left, I wouldn't fancy being in their shoes for next few years. Perhaps a new approach altogether is needed? After all a town council does not HAVE to provide a cemetery. But typically, burials in parishes where you are not resident, are charged THREE times higher than someone who does.

Maybe Central Beds Council needs to start looking to provide a central cemetery? It could be run profitably (as is the Conservative way), if charged correctly, after all, no crematorium runs at a loss.


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Off-Road Bikers Now Challenging #WoodsideLink Constructors



I spoke with a rep from Balfour Beatty this afternoon; they are contractors for the Woodside Link. Apparently they are already suffering nuisance from off-road bikers in balaclavas who are allegedly using bolt-cutters to get access to the route of the new roadway under construction.

Clearly this cannot be allowed to continue, as the contractors are on a tight schedule to get the chalky soils moved around on site to the correct levels before October. Biker intrusions mean they have to down tools and wait for a police presence, or wait for the nuisance to go away. This will clearly be a further challenge to police resources.

I'm making local police and Andrew Selous, MP aware so that they might use this example to further the cause of improving police resources for Bedfordshire.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Farewell Funeral Attended by Darth Vader

Luton On Sunday this week... fancy dress to a funeral?


I think I find this bad taste. Each to their own, though.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

POLLING DAY QUESTIONS FINALLY ANSWERED

I posted off a series of questions to the Returning officer at Central Beds Council at the beginning of June. Today I got a response. I find the answer to question 1 particularly worrying.

1.   During the May elections I was informed that some voters were able to go into a polling station, give their name, and get ballot papers, even though they had no polling card on them, and neither were they asked for any other form of identity. What is the correct procedure for the staff at a polling station to follow in the event that a person does not have a polling card?

RESPONSE: The system currently still works on trust with or without the poll card.  The poll clerk should repeat the line entry at it appears in the register and the elector confirms that they are that person.


2. During the count of ballot papers, boxes for Tithe Farm and Parkside were clearly visibly unattended for a long period, and open, at the rear of the tent. Why were they not attended and kept locked at all times?

RESPONSE: I have spoken with the Manager who administered the count within the marquee and he assures me that the ‘open mixing’ boxes were always in view should anybody have attempted to tamper with them.

3. Why were counting staff kept waiting for long periods, apparently waiting to count votes when there were many boxes piled up waiting to be counted?

RESPONSE: Until the supervisor has clearance from the central control that the verification figure or the count figure has been reconciled with the number of ballot papers issued at the polling station then there will always be a small period of time when the counters ‘appear to be doing nothing’.  Quite often the central control requests that a recount takes place and therefore that process would be carried out before the next box is issued.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Nuisance Off Road Bikers

A campaign to have more barriers installed around Parkside to help combat nuisance motor-bikers that ride around the footpaths of Houghton Regis has stalled.

Central Bedfordshire Council has responded to a residents request for barriers, saying that "the highway capital programme for this year has been agreed and is already fully committed".

Another line of attack was to approach the Council's Housing department. But the Council have stated that there is no evidence that the perpetrators of the anti-social noise are Central Bedfordshire Council tenants. Therefore the authority do not have any authority to challenge the youths directly, so the matter needs to be dealt with by the police.


View on Facebook

The reply puts the ball in the court of the police and local CBC councillors. Can't see any point in the last suggestion, unless the officer replying is suggesting his hands are politically tied unless a bigger fuss is made.

And the remark about a fully committed highways budget, is, I would suggest, complete twaddle. There is always a bit extra to be found somewhere, though it might be nearer the end of the financial year. Funny how they happily put funds into an opposed one-way contra-flow on Easthill Rd, then financed a new cycle path across part of the Village Green and made a path wide enough to take a quad bike at the back of Hammersmith Close (and omitting to put in barriers big enough to stop them) all without telling local representatives what they were doing.

The police have told me they are planning a series of further actions against the illegal use of bikes this summer, and the new Sergeant for Houghton Regis will be useful, but with the biggest will in the world, I can't see the problem ever going away.



Bikers Discussed Over a Video Put on BBC Three Counties Radio 7/7/2015

BBC3CR Facebook discussion



'Catch me if you can' - A teenager's message to the police about off-road motorbiking. It remains a problem in Dunstable and Houghton Regis.Our reporter Tony Fisher recorded this short video of the motorbikes in Dunstable.
Posted by BBC Three Counties Radio on Monday, 6 July 2015

Friday, 26 June 2015

Burial Ground at Thorn


I took the opportunity of an annual Baptist service to take another look at the Thorn burial ground yesterday. The scene above is after the short service at which David Skinner projected his thoughts on the coming new community around Bidwell and Thorn. On the lands around here will soon be the start of construction of some 2,000 new homes, and a new community looking to find itself and resolve its problems as they arise.

This small burial plot of land was once an orchard belonging to John Bunker, and on 1st April 1749 it was sold for 10 shillings to a group of local people to form a Baptist Chapel and burial ground, to make them independent of the Kensworth Baptists. People used to walk from local villages to get here. It wasn't until 16 April 1790 that a new Baptist Chapel was opened up in Houghton Regis village centre, converted from two cottages in the High Street, as Thorn was too far to travel especially in cold weather.*


I suppose I was looking forward to  sharing an experience of tranquillity, and to an extent it was quiet, but all the while I was struck by the volume of noise from motor transport of vehicles coming along the A5 some 500m away. Right behind this little heavenly plot a brand new link road has just started construction - that will heighten the noise not only for those in prayer, but for those who will soon have new homes in the area. Between the burial ground and the A5 will be construction of buildings to provide some employment. To the east, between Thorn Farm and Oakwell Park will be a housing estate.

I suppose, we will just have to go further afield to find that tranquillity.

*Historical notes taken from my timeline of Houghton Regis.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

I Don't Call This "Looking After The Brook"


Another of my random checks. They told me they were checking the brook daily. I don't think so. And the wheelie bin (or another one) are now further down the stream. Houghton Brook on the path of the Woodside Link.

Previously: Houghton Brook - Being Blocked Up By Debris As Woodside Link is Constructed

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Old Co-Op Site Is Unsafe!

Insecure site. I'm concerned about potential of children playing here, and arson!
Have written to the ward CBC councillors to ask what they're doing about it!



Update 1/7/2015:

Site has been secured more.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Those Rules and Regulations, Tucked Away, But Who Knows What They Are?

There was something kicking off on BBC Three Counties radio today about a dog owner being threatened with a £50 fine for allowing her dog to wander a Bedford Council cemetery without a lead on. I was pleased to know that the Houghton Regis Town Council (HRTCregulations state that dogs must be on a lead.

However, the hullabaloo in this instant at Bedford was the lack of SIGNS saying that dogs had to be on a lead. See discussion at
https://www.facebook.com/BBC3CR/photos/a.197474390269947.59062.196330280384358/1143274765689900

Now might be a good time for HRTC to see that signage properly reflects what the regulations state.

I'm not sure if all the Village Green regulations are clearly stated on signboards, for example.

Link: Houghton Regis Town Council Rules and Regulations

Link: Houghton Regis Village Green Bye Laws

Monday, 8 June 2015

Just Call Me Curious, But Are These CBC Councillors Really Independents?

The following "Conservative" Central Bedfordshire Councillors have not declared any sponsorship by a political party in the register of interests:

Mrs Angela Barker, Chairman of Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (**)
Lewis Birt (*) (**)
Anthony Brown, Deputy Executive Member for Community Services(**)
Norman Costin(**)
Paul Downing(**)
Paul Alan Duckett (*)(**)
Charles C Gomm (*)(**)
Maurice R Jones, deputy leader of CBC(**)
Roy W Johnstone 
John McVicar, (*)(**)  Chairman of Sustainable Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Tom Nicols, (*)(**) Chairman of Licensing Committee
Gordon Perham (*)(**)
John A G Saunders
Peter Smith(**)
Tracey Stock(**)
Mark Versallion, (*)(**) Executive Member for Education and skills 
Ben Walker (no Register of Interests shown)
Budge Wells, (*) (**) Deputy Executive Member for Community Services 

The declared interests include the words, "You must complete this box if you received financial assistance from a political party with your election expenses".  Of course, election expenses, can be paid for by the individual themselves, which would be a plausible explanation. As I stood as an Independent, I certainly paid my own. Perhaps these people UNSPONSORED by the Conservative Party should be approached to join the Independent Group?







Save the Tax-Payers Some Travel Expenses!

We have two CBC councillors living in Houghton Regis who represent other non-Houghton Regis parts of Central Bedfordshire:
Cllr Nigel Warren [Dunstable Northfields] lives at 41 Lowry Drive, Houghton Regis 
Cllr John Chatterley [Dunstable Icknield] at 36 Roslyn Way, Houghton Regis 


Together with our 3 resident Houghton Regis Councillors who actually do represent Houghton Regis, maybe the 5 of them will share cars or hire a mini-bus, and save the public some travel expenses to  the Council offices, as well as critical parking spaces at Chicksands? Can but hope, but maybe that's just wishful thinking.


* UPDATE 22/6/2015 8:00AM

All those Councillors marked (*) no longer have a link on their web site record to the Register of Interests. 

** UPDATE 23/7/2015 10:45AM
All those Councillors marked (**) now declare Conservative Party assisted them in the Register of Interests; Tom Nicols, apparently under some protest, "I am required to pay a contribution to the local Conservative Party which is significantly in excess of any payment to me."



Who's Who at Central Bedfordshire Council

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The New HRTC Council - How Will They Manage Our Money?

HRTC start off with "a general reserve balance equating to an average of approximately 8-9 months of expenditure." - 

Well that's quite a legacy to leave the incoming council. Of course, the Town has many challenges ahead, and these funds will be needed to provide new community resources once building works start coming in. Immediately they'll need to start some activity towards a new cemetery, and that money carefully piled up could soon be swallowed up wholesale. The task will be to make sure those new community facilities benefit EVERYONE, not just the incoming people in the to-be redeveloped areas.

I did request that HRTC asks CBC for the money it is withholding from town and parish council's across it's area. ( See Houghton Regis Town Council Robbed : Missing Council Funding ). But they seem to decline to do that. Why not? No harm in asking. But I do like the end remark -

"it might be more appropriate to remind CBC of this situation as and when they ask town and parish councils for funding contributions to various projects."


I Fixed My Street

To fix your street go to http://fixmystreet.com


Notes and Links on Community Rights

Community Right To Build Order - If a neighbourhood needs decent affordable housing or other types of community buildings, there is now a straightforward way to achieve it without having to seek permission from your local planning authority. Read more ...



Thursday, 4 June 2015

Off-Road Bikes Houghton Regis

Probably the most irritating annoyance on the estate at the moment, here in Houghton Regis, is the noise of off road bikes on our public footpaths. The police say they are understaffed and cannot always give this their priority.

Well, here in my part of town, is a regular route used by the bikers, often not wearing helmets, potentially without insurance, and on our footpaths, and often more than one unhelmeted rider on each bike.

The yellow footpath route is used by them several times a day. Residents are not protected from possible accidents, we have ineffective barriers, and a lack of proper policing. I think it's the noise of the bikes that is a nuisance, if an accident happens it's more likely to be the biker coming to grief, but equally they could injure a pedestrian or other road (or footpath) user.

In the past week it has come to light that there is a recommendation from Amey about, seeking to not renew chain link fencing along Sundon Road (top right hand corner of picture below). If gaps onto Sundon Road are allowed to proliferate it will be harder to stop off-road biking, as well as reducing safety for pedestrians crossing the road.



The barrier near Sundon Rd has a bike-track around it:






Houghton Hoodrats are back out again on bikes. If you're going to protest that you only do it because you have nowhere...

Posted by Spotted : Houghton Regis on Monday, 1 June 2015

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Cycle-Contra Flow For EastHill Rd About To Be Installed Despite Objections

Questions are once again being asked this week about exactly WHO was consulted about this  Contraflow Cycle lane in Easthill Road, Houghton Regis. The work is scheduled to be done this coming week.

It's a quiet one-way road where some clown at Central Bedfordshire Council has decided it would be good to have cycles going against the traffic flow because it would help children get to school. The school is a long way off. Hardly a cyclist is ever seen there. If they are they use the footpaths where hardly a pedestrian is seen. And if it is laid down as a cycle contra-flow cars won't be able to park on that side of the road, creating a problem for local residents.


The Town Council were very loosely consulted about a series of proposals from CBC officers involved with the Local Sustainable Transport Fund in October 2011. This particular part of their ideas wasn't recorded in the minutes of the P&L committee (see below), so HRTC councillors may not have known about it. However, I did come across a later Public Notice and made a personal objection  (see meeting  http://centralbeds.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=655&MId=4545&Ver=4 ; mine are recognizable within page 27 of this report, and page 3 of this report

We discussed it on Facebook in October 2013. https://www.facebook.com/houghton.regis.news.desk/posts/10151656942457944


HRTC Planning & Licensing Committee
31st October 2011 at 7.30pm
 
6892 LOCAL SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT FUND
Mr P Cook and Mr S Lakin addressed the Committee and explained the purpose of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. £5 million was available to any transport authority submitting a successful bid. The spend period for the money was June 2012 to March 2015 and the bulk of the funds were for revenue spend. The fund was specifically for supporting local initiatives that addressed economic growth, cut carbon and boosted sustainable travel. The aim was to increase accessibility of town centres and local existing and planned employment areas, to make it easier to access skills and training and to tackle congestion by switching local journeys from car to other modes of travel.
It was recognized that the local issues were congestion, traffic volumes through residential areas (rat running), negative impact of HGV’s, access for people with buggies and wheelchairs on buses and access to employment, education and health.
The proposed solutions could be using shared space to make places more accessible for all road users, 20mph zones, lorry bans, improvements to public transport, improved pedestrian and cycling access to employment and health sites and promote sustainable transport in the schools (walk rather than use car).
Proposed infrastructure measures were improvements to the High Street (Morrison’s funded), bus links and facilities at stops, improvements to the National Cycle Route 6 with links to the High Street, Houghton Hall, Woodside, Townsend Farm Road and Kingsland and better signage.
It was reported that if the bid to the LSTF was not successful, local sustainable transport plans would still go ahead, but at a much slower pace.
Members were provided with copies of the presentation slides and asked to think about ways in which the Town Council could contribute to a Local Partnership Agreement and also what transport-based initiatives they would like to see incorporated in the plan. Some initial ideas were put forward, such as pull-ins at the bus stops on Windsor Drive, improvements to the left turn from Parkside Drive onto Park Road North at the Chequers roundabout and a mini roundabout at the junction on Parkside Drive along from the Chequers roundabout.
Mr Cook and Mr Lakin said they would be happy to return to a future meeting to answer any questions Members might have after consideration of the information received this evening.


So far as I have been able to ascertain, the specific items within that overall picture of what they wanted to do were NEVER brought before Houghton Regis Town Council, but were dealt with by Traffic Management meetings at CBC. Cllrs would only have been involved at CBC if the public made objections after reading Public Notices. I, and several others made objections to the Contra-flow at Easthill, but the Cllrs at that meeting sided with the report writer, Jane Moakes.

CBC Traffic Management meeting Wednesday, 11 September 2013 4.00 p.m.
Background papers: 
http://centralbeds.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=655&MId=4545&Ver=4
DELEGATED DECISIONS BY THE EXECUTIVE MEMBER FOR COMMUNITY SERVICES ON TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDERS


Cllr P Nigel Aldis Member In attendance Cllr Anthony D Brown Member In attendance Cllr Ian Dalgarno Member In attendance Cllr Peter Hollick Member In attendance Cllr David Jones Member In attendance Cllr Julian Murray Member In attendance Cllr Roger B Pepworth Member In attendance Cllr Miss Ann Sparrow Member In attendance Cllr Brian J Spurr Member Present Cllr Budge Wells Member In attendance Cllr J Nigel Young Member In attendance 
Houghton Regis – Consider an Objection to a Proposed Raised Zebra Crossing and two raised uncontrolled crossings In Parkside Drive and consider objections to a proposed Contraflow Cycle lane in Easthill Road 
This report seeks the approval of the Executive Member for Sustainable Communities – Services for the installation of a raised zebra crossing and two raised uncontrolled crossings on Parkside Drive and for the implementation of the proposed cycle contraflow on Easthill Road, Houghton Regis.
Decision:That the proposals to install a Raised Zebra Crossing and two Raised Table Uncontrolled Crossings with red imprint on Parkside Drive and the proposed Contraflow Cycle lane in Easthill Road be agreed as advertised apart from the addition of a green high friction surface cycle lane, with white lines around the outside, along Easthill Road to further highlight the route to motorists.

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Back in January 2012, some crucial information here.
 SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 10.00 a.m. http://centralbeds.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=648&MId=3771&Ver=4
"Member Involvement in the Preparation of Planning and Related Strategy Documents " - To consider future working arrangements for Member involvement in the plan preparation process and related housing and transportation strategy documents.
  From the minutes it appears that members were concerned about the amount of time that would be used in working up the documents, and looked to try to save time by less consultation. Independent Cllr, Adam Zerny is singled out in the minutes "Councillor Zerny stated that meetings of all Task and Finish groups should be open to the public to inform discussion and provide evidence."

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Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee (meeting)
Date: 06 March 2012
Subject: Local Transport Plan Scheme Prioritisation Framework 
LINK to pdf file

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On 4th December 2012, the TMC meeting heard an objection to the crossing at Sundon Rd, but overturned the objection. IT had been argued that the humped crossing would generate noise. 

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*This article updated 30/3/2016 to change deep links to the documents on a revamped CBC website.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Jan & Dean & Ian Lee

Broadcaster Ian Lee says that hardly anyone goes on his web site when he asks them to. Well, he's written a wonderful item about Jan & Dean, you know, the old surf boy team, and it's really worth a read, (and a listen).

http://www.iainlee.com/2015/03/jan-and-dean/

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Issues 2015 Photo-file

Westminster Gardens, bus stop destinations. Only goes to Dog & Duck? I think not.

Drug dealings

Beginning of year. Signs of welcome activity.
Although, also seen standing around doing nothing but chatting for some 25 minutes. 

Parkside Drive opp car park to Parkside Rec.
The lump caused by tree-roots is so big you'd be hard pressed to drive a mobility scooter up it.

So scruffy around these flat entrances.

Wonder how long it will take for this to be removed?
Path next to Sundon Road.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Houghton Brook - Being Blocked Up By Debris As Woodside Link is Constructed.




Central Beds Council are the responsible authority for keeping the Houghton Brook free of debris, but my random visit to the brook last weekend showed the stream in a sorry state. That wheelie bin has been there for months, unless of course, its another one. 

The second and third pictures are of a fenced area, intended to trap voles so they can be safely moved away from the area, but from the look of the fencing in the 3rd picture, it has come unstapled from the fencing support, and the voles could easily get out or in through that gap.

As workers move around the area while the Woodside Link is constructed, people jump the stream, breaking down the embankments, giving further cause for concern.

But clearly, DAILY INSPECTIONS, are not being done very diligently, are they, Mr Dobson of Central Bedfordshire Council?


From: Howard Dobson
Sent: Friday, May 15, 2015 5:29 PM
To:
Subject: Your enquiries

Hello again [name dedacted]

Thank you for your recent mails.

As you know we’re about to start the construction phase of the Woodside Link. Before that starts the current gang is carrying out daily inspections of everything on site. Balfour Beatty will then take over duties. Note that one of the first tasks Balfour Beatty will complete is the fencing of the site – which should limit instances of vandalism. Balfour Beatty have also subscribed the Woodside Link site to the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which means they are aiming at standards higher than statutory levels. See http://www.ccscheme.org.uk for more details on that. Please note that the Construction Environment Management Plan (CEMP) will be available in due course when it has been compiled.

With best regards, Howard