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Showing posts from June, 2020

The Changes Needed to Support Armed Forces Families

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A report has been published today, commissioned by the Ministry of Defence , and written by South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous , on what changes are needed to support Armed Forces families . Andrew Selous MP, who started this work last year, said, “I have a long-standing interest in strengthening family life and served as a Territorial Army soldier before I entered Parliament . Armed Forces families face greater levels of mobility, separation and danger than almost anyone else in the country and they have faced considerable difficulties with their accommodation, health care and education as they move around the country, as well as huge problems with spousal and partner employment.” ”The country has rightly made improvements in the way that veterans are treated and it is now time for a similar priority to be given to Armed Forces families. These are the people who support those who serve to keep us free and out of danger.” Andrew Selous has been the MP for South We

Local Educational Buildings to Benefit From Spending Allocation

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SW Beds MP, Andrew Selous, has warmly welcomed the inclusion of 7 South West Bedfordshire schools that will receive additional funding to improve their condition. Yesterday,  Gavin Williamson, MP, Secretary of State for Education announced the outcome of the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) 2020-21 round. Mr Williamson has announced over £434 million for 1,476 projects at 1,243 academies, sixth form colleges and non-diocesan voluntary aided schools. In South West Bedfordshire this includes: Beecroft Academy Brooklands Middle School The Academy of Central Bedfordshire Gilbert Inglefield Academy Vandyke Upper School Eaton Bray Academy Ardley Hill Academy Andrew Selous said “I know how important it is that school buildings are kept in good condition. Our inspirational teachers need good working conditions as do our children to enable them to succeed.” The core priority of CIF is keeping eligible academy, sixth form college and non-diocesan voluntary aided school b

Dunstable Road: Domestic Abuse Attacker Gets Jail Sentence

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A man has been jailed for more than four years, after he attacked his partner in her home last year.  Russell Ward,  33, of Dunstable Road, Luton was sentenced to  four and half years in jail  at Luton Crown Court on Monday (22 June)  for attempted grievous bodily harm  (GBH). On Tuesday 30 July, Ward went to his partner’s home in Luton and began shouting in the street.  His victim let him into the house to try and calm him, but he continued to be aggressive and argumentative and threatened her with a hammer. Then, breaking the coffee table, he beat her with one of the legs until she passed out. He then left the property. In the early hours of Thursday 8 August, Ward returned to the location and made verbal threats towards her, overhead by concerned neighbours who called the police. It was then the victim disclosed the earlier attack. Ward was arrested, and on searching his home, officers found a gym bag containing bloodstained clothing. The investigation into the earlier incident b

New Evidence Available: Further Public Consultation Period for Central Bedfordshire's Local Plan

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Following the public Examination of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan last summer, the Planning Inspector asked the local authority a number of questions. In order to address these questions, additional evidence has been submitted to the Inspectors and is now available on the Council’s website for comment. The additional evidence consists of: a supplementary Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and non-technical summary 3 technical papers on  housing ,  employment  and  transport Sundon Freight Interchange  Alternative Site Assessment additional evidence documents that have informed the work ( see all current documents available for consultation ) All comments will be forwarded to the Planning Inspectors to assist their deliberations and any changes they recommend to the Local Plan. Cllr Kevin Collins, Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration said, “This is an important step in moving the Local Plan forward to adoption. “Adoption of our Local Plan is one

Crimestoppers Helping Businesses to Stay Closed to Crime #ClosedtoCrime

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With the lockdown slowly easing whilst the pandemic is still active, Crimestoppers is using the opportunity to connect with communities and companies by appealing for people to report anonymously what they know about crime against commercial outlets. As local shops and businesses try to cope with the devastating financial impact of the pandemic, the last costly disruption they need is having premises ransacked, with essential items or equipment damaged or stolen. It’s not just burglary that affects businesses. Fly-tipping and arson can seriously impact a company’s ability to reopen. For some, it could be the final straw. Rodger Holden, Director of Business Development said, “Cimestoppers #ClosedtoCrime campaign is asking people to report what they know about crime against local businesses, from shops to company premises, factories to warehouses. They play a crucial role in the fabric of society – indeed, many staff in these businesses are now classed as key workers providing essenti

Community Groups Can Have Extra Cash Through Their Councillors

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Your local CBC Councillors are to be given extra funding so that they help local groups in their area affected by the impact of COVID-19. Each year, as part of the Ward Councillor Grant Scheme, Councillors are given £2000 which they can allocate to groups in their area which aim to improve the lives of local people. At a meeting on Tuesday 16 June, the Council’s Executive agreed a proposal to extend the existing Ward Councillor Grant Scheme and allocate an additional £1000 to each Ward Councillor. This is to enable them to support local groups that are dealing with the direct consequences of the current public health emergency. Unlike the existing scheme, bids for the additional funds  do not require match funding . Executive Member with responsibility for Communities, Cllr Tracey Stock explains, “Many local voluntary and community groups, both new and well established, have stepped up to help as part of their response to the pandemic, playing a phenomenal role in their pari

Flexible School Starts Warmly Welcomed by Local MP

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South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous has warmly welcomed the Government’s decision today to allow primary, lower and middle schools the flexibility to invite back an additional year group if they want to. The Government guidance released today states, “Where schools have the capacity, they may choose to welcome back additional pupils. It is up to schools to decide which pupils to prioritise, based on their knowledge of their children and communities. They may choose to welcome back pupils in another year group. Where middle schools choose to invite year 8 pupils back, they should be confident they can manage this within the strict measures we have asked primary schools to adopt (including no more than 15 in a class, and consistency of these groups).” Andrew Selous said “I am delighted that the Government has given headteachers this flexibility. A number of teachers and parents have written to me asking for this flexibility, particularly in respect of the three tier schools

Bedfordshire Drug Dealer Sentenced For Five Years

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A  drug dealer  who had stored a  gun  in his bedroom has been  jailed  for five years. Umar Javid, 19, of Hastings Road,  Kempston , had pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition, two charges of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and possession of cannabis. It was reported to police earlier this year that Javid was believed to be in possession of a firearm. In April armed officers recovered a gun from Javid’s bedroom and established that it was a blank-firing weapon that had been converted into a viable firearm. Prior to this, on 21 June last year, Javid was arrested when officers stopped a vehicle in Bassett Road, Leighton Buzzard. He was captured as he dropped cling-filmed packages containing  Class A drugs  while he attempted to run away from police. He also had a small amount of  cannabis  in his possession as well as a mobile phone, which when investigated indicated he was involved in  dealing drugs . Javid appeared at Luton Crown Court on

House of Commons: Zoos, Aquariums and Wildlife Sanctuaries: Reopening

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 – in the House of Commons at 3:16 pm on 11th June 2020. Listen to Andrew Selous in debate in Parliament.tv Andrew Selous: “I congratulate both my hon. Friend Andrew Rosindell and Christian Matheson on their fantastic speeches. It is a testament to how important this issue is that the Chamber is this full on a Thursday afternoon. “When people ask me where I am the Member of Parliament for, I normally say Whipsnade zoo, because it is by far the best known part of my constituency. It occupies 600 stunningly beautiful acres of the south Bedfordshire countryside and it is a part of the Zoological Society of London, which is joined with Whipsnade zoo, so London zoo and Whipsnade zoo are both part ZSL, the same organisation. “I wish to start with a big thank you to the Minister. I have said on a number of occasions that her Department, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has been—if I can put it this way—on the side of the angels in this debate. It has been standing

Celebrating Bedfordshire Carers

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Central Bedfordshire Council is recognising the work of carers and the significant impact they make to the lives of those they look after as part of Carers Week (8 to 14 June). The week aims to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities. It also helps people who don't think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support. Councillor Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Adults, Social Care, Housing Operations (HRA) and Customer Services, said: “We want to highlight how important carers are and the valuable role they play within our communities. Especially during this lockdown where many of our carers have faced increased challenges and taken on more caring responsibilities for relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older. “Despite all of this our carers continue to do an amazing job. We also want to recognise our younger car

Zoos Permitted To Reopen Just as 100,000 Signatures Was Approaching

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Zoos in England are to be allowed to reopen their doors to visitors from 15 June 2020.. Also permitted to reopen will be outdoor attractions where people stay in their cars, such as safari parks or drive-in cinemas, and takeaway food services. But some things will have to remain closed like aquariums, reptile houses, other indoor exhibitions, cafes, and gift shops. The news was embargoed until 22:30 Tuesday 9 June, reported The Independent Earlier in the evening, a petition that had just 111 signatures at 10am on the morning of 9 June, was on course to get 100,000 signatures by 10:30pm. At 100,000 signatures Parliament would have had to consider debating it. The 100,000 signatures were actually reached just after 11pm, with over 1,000 signatures coming from South West Bedfordshire, Andrew Selous' constituency where ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is situated. Map source: parliament.uk Source: If you have news for Dunstable, please send it in

Flappy Birthday: Live Lockdown Party To Celebrate Sealion's First Birthday

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ZSL Whipsnade Zookeepers mark sea lion’s first birthday with a lockdown party – and you’re invited Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are hosting a FB live birthday party for the colony of sealions, as part of the fundraising appeal to save the iconic zoo. The sealions (and zookeeper Alex) have already helped to raise thousands for the conservation charity through live talks from the sealion pool, so keepers thought a live birthday party would be a great way to drum up support. As zoos up and down the country remain closed, while furniture stores, off-licenses and car showrooms open, the conservation charity behind Whipsnade is appealing to the public for support and donations. Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are throwing a party for sea lion Maui’s first birthday during lockdown - and you’re invited to join the celebrations as they’re broadcast live on the zoo’s Facebook page. Join In Celebration Birthday Party! On Wednesday 10 June at 12pm, you and your whole family can celebrate

Andrew Selous in Whipsnade SOS: Petitions Available

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9 June 2020: Following the publication of this article, the Parliamentary Petitions Team have highlighted two petitions that may be signed: You may wish to support these petitions: Allow Zoos and Wildlife attractions to reopen with social distancing in place Provide financial help to zoos, aquariums, & rescue centres during the pandemic: Local MP, Andrew Selous says on his online blog, “For weeks now I have been in almost daily contact with Dominic Jermey the Director-General of the Zoological Society of London which owns Whipsnade Zoo and with the Government to try to get Whipsnade reopened .” The MP believes that “ZSL remains capable of continuing its outstanding global conservation work and higher education research work, both of which have never been more necessary. “ZSL is so much more than London and Whipsnade zoos. The work it did on the Dasgupta Review played an important role in getting COP26 to the United Kingdom. ZSL has helped the Treasury understand the va

Take Part in Neighbourhood Watch Week (7th - 13th June 2020) #LetsStayConnected

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This weekend is the start of Neighbourhood Watch Week (7th - 13th June 2020) in which we are encouraged to celebrate our neighbours.  Here's a folding card - you might print out and post. ( Download pdf file here ). During Neighbourhood Watch Week hopefully, you find ways to celebrate the neighbourly connections made in past and recent weeks. This can be by joining in with the Big Virtual Lunch  weekend activities, displaying a poster in your window, gifting a postcard to a neighbour, or entering a competition. To find out more information including details of the competition please visit ourwatch website . The competition provides an opportunity using cartoons to express what neighbours mean to you.  Please share this with your neighbours and join in. Facebook Live Quiz And, there's a Facebook Live Quiz to be hosted by our CEO, John Hayward-Cripps, on Friday 12th June at 7pm. To find out more see Ourwatch Facebook Event page: facebook.com/events/551427478871731/ or take pa

Residents To get Cycling and Win £500 Towards A New Bike

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It’s great to see more people having a renewed interested in getting out on their bike during the lockdown. Riding a bike gives you the chance to not only exercise and get some fresh air, but to discover new places in your local area. If you haven’t been out on your bike yet, there is now even more on offer to encourage you to. Central Bedfordshire Council is working alongside Love to Ride this Bike Month to get more people to choose cycling as part of their daily travel and exercise and encourage others to try it too. To be in with a chance to win £500 towards a new bike sign up to the Love to Ride free event. It doesn't matter if you ride every day or haven't been on a bike in years, you just have to set yourself a goal and achieve it – it’s that simple. And, if you win, Love to Ride will also give £500 to either the Bikes for Key Workers or the Community Support initiatives so you could be giving back to others at the same time as winning yourself. Cy

Bird In Hand Replacement - Still Time to Send in Comments

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A company interested in redeveloping the site of the former Bird and Hand is still keen to receive feedback from local people on its proposals before it submits a planning application to Central Bedfordshire Council. They encourage you to visit their website and virtual exhibition at https://mulberrycourt.uk/ The Bird in Hand on Dunstable's High Street North closed in November 2018. Two breweries had failed to make a successful business work there. Anti-social behaviour at the pub is said to have been part of the problem. Local residents tried to rescue the Bird in Hand but the Facebook Group, Dunstable North Community Group , reported on August 9, 2019, “The inside of the property has been well and truly trashed with the Pizza Ovens and Kitchen equipment all stolen. Fires have been started in the upstairs flat and there are now holes between floors. It is simply not viable for us to find the funds a) to purchase the property or b) to refurbish it. ” There are