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Showing posts from July, 2020

Council's Fraud Team Prove They're Value For Money

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In a report to the Council's Audit Committee on Thursday (30 July), Central Bedfordshire Council's Corporate Fraud Investigation Team (CFIT) presented an annual report demonstrating that they were value-for-money. Audit Committee - Thursday, 30th July 2020 at 10:00am - Central Bedfordshire Council Webcasting The report explains that CFIT was created in 2015 within the Revenues and Benefits service to prevent, detect, investigate and report fraud. The team consists of a very experienced investigator with 4 full-time investigators, supported by a Team Leader and Senior Manager, both of whom also have other responsibilities within the service area. All staff on the team are fully trained counter-fraud officers holding their professionalism in Security accreditation from Portsmouth University.  During 2019/20 over £50,336 was saved with regard to Local Council Tax Support fraud. In the same period, £666,000 was saved related to housing fraud. In a Blue Badge campaign in 2019/

Selous & Holloway Welcome Additional Funding for Beds Police

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Andrew Selous, MP  for South West Bedfordshire, has welcomed the announcement that Bedfordshire Police will receive £882,150 in extra funding as part of the Government’s £25 million Safer Streets Fund . The Safer Streets Fund forms part of the Government’s concerted action to tackle crime, and aims to stop offences that blight communities and cause misery to victims from happening in the first place. The extra funding will be aimed at improving security in areas particularly affected by acquisitive crimes such as burglary, vehicle theft and robbery. These offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year. The £882,150 of new funding will go towards measures proven to cut crime. These include simple changes to the design of streets such as locked gates around alleyways , increased street-lighting and the installation of CCTV . The funding will also be used to train community wardens , delive

Highway Code: Your views needed to improve safety

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Today (28 July 2020) a consultation has been launched seeking your views on proposed changes to the Highway Code.  The review is being held by the Department for Transport, to improve safety for vulnerable road users, particularly the groups of: cyclists pedestrians horse riders The main changes being proposed are: ensuring that road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others making rules on pedestrians clearer providing guidance on cyclist priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead creating guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists and horse riders You can read and respond to the consultation online , complete a form or send an email to share your views. Source: If you have news for Dunstable, please send it in

Virus Responsible for COVID-19 has been Detected in a Pet Cat

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The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed that the virus responsible for COVID-19 has been detected in a pet cat in the UK. The infection was confirmed following tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge on Wednesday 22 July. Although this is the first confirmed case of an animal infection with the coronavirus strain in the UK, there is no evidence to suggest that the animal was involved in transmission of the disease to its owners or that pets or other domestic animals are able to transmit the virus to people. The advice from Public Health England is for people to wash their hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals. All available evidence suggests that the cat contracted the coronavirus from its owners who had previously tested positive for COVID-19. The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission to other animals or people in the household. Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlem

MP Visits All Saints Academy

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South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous visited All Saints Academy before the end of term to talk to students and staff about their experience of learning and teaching during the pandemic.  All Saints students already had iPads and in the small number of cases where students did not have good Wi-Fi at home, the school helped resolve this.  All students were expected to be online at 9 am and received telephone calls from the school shortly afterwards if they were not. Attendance and participation was high throughout the summer term. All Saints welcomed back to school students from years 10 and 12 in addition to the children of key workers who were at school throughout the term. Andrew Selous said “I’m very impressed at the way at which All Saints have rapidly adapted their teaching methods to cope with these unprecedented circumstances. Students and staff have coped really well and I know the school is very much looking forward to welcoming all students back at the start of next t

Environment Agency Cracking Down on Illegal Waste Sites

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A Cambridgeshire illegal waste site the size of a football pitch has been swooped on by the Environment Agency as part of work to shut it down for good. During its inspection of The Streddars site on Hundreds Road in Crowland on 23 July 2020, the  Environment Agency  discovered piles of illegally dumped waste, including construction and demolition materials, metals, plastics and garden waste. The visit was aimed at gathering evidence and disrupting those believed to be involved in illegal waste activities. The site is under criminal investigation for suspicion of operating without the legally required waste exemptions or environmental permits. Yvonne Daly, environment manager at the Environment Agency, said, “It’s clear that this site has been used by rogue traders to illegally deposit waste. Activities like this have the potential to harm the environment, blight communities and undermine legitimate businesses that do follow the rules. “Our role is to protect the environment for peo

Consultation - CBC Proposes new Local Development Order for Woodside Industrial Estate

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A new CBC consultation opened today on the re-adoption and amendment of the Woodside Local Development Order (LDO). Relaxing normal planning requirements, the new Order would include the Houghton Hall Business Park for the first time.  Central Bedfordshire Council argue that, “The LDO will be a useful tool to assist businesses in adapting to new layouts and various other changes to their premises necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and their response to recovering from the impact of this on their business. “The primary purpose of a LDO remains to simplify the planning permission process. It will detail the specific types of development and uses which are permitted without having to apply for planning permission. Together with continuing to meet the needs of those refurbishing premises, it will make it simpler for businesses to set up, diversify or expand their existing operations. The LDO should also give greater confidence to businesses investing in Woodside.” "The l

Studham - Witness Appeal After Weapons Incident on Thursday

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Police are appealing for information after two people were attacked and left with serious injuries in Studham. Police received reports of a man and a woman being assaulted by a number of people with weapons in Clements End Road, Studham, at around 4am Thursday. Both victims suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and remain in hospital. Four people have been arrested in connection to the attack and subsequently been released on bail. Detective Sergeant Ryan Barnes, investigating, said: “This appears to be a deliberate and targeted attack displaying some extremely nasty violence. “We believe a number of vehicles were in the area at the time so if you saw or heard a disturbance in the early hours of the morning, or any vehicles being driven in and around this area at the time, please get in contact with us. “We are determined to bring the perpetrators to justice and would really appreciate the public’s help in taking violent criminals of this nature off the streets.” Anyone

30-year Anniversary of Landmark Release of Red Kites in the Chiltern Hills

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Conservationists are celebrating a landmark moment in English wildlife conservation this month, as July sees the 30th anniversary of the reintroduction of red kites to the Chiltern Hills. In July 1990 in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 13 young red kites — recently flown over from the Navarra region in Spain — took to the skies in their maiden flight in England, as part of an ambitious reintroduction programme. The red kite is one of Britain’s most distinctive birds of prey with an unmistakable reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail, and known for instantly recognisable mewing call. Red kites used to breed across much of the UK, but persecution over a 200-year period saw numbers fall as they increasingly became a target for egg collectors, reducing them to a few breeding pairs in central Wales. By the 1980s, the red kite was one of only three globally threatened species in the UK. The re-introduction 30 years ago was hugely successful and helped es

Schroder Optimistic for Industrial Lettings Despite COVID-19

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Schroder UK Real Estate Fund completed significant lettings at its Arenson Way site in Dunstable with the arrival of Signature Flatbreads who has signed a new five-year lease for 40,775 sq ft. The deal is one of several others in the Midland region highlighting the demand for space despite the ongoing problems caused by Covid-19. The landlord has seen a significant rise in demand for industrial units which resulted in a 12% rise in net income over the past year, at a time when many landlords in the office, leisure and retail sector are seeing rent rolls tumble. Rob Cosslett, Deputy Fund Manager, Schroder UK Real Estate Fund, said: “These latest transactions across our industrial assets have taken place despite the uncertainty caused by Covid-19. Not only is this an encouraging sign for the UK property market but also a clear indication of tenant confidence at these particular estates, reflected in the long-term nature of the lettings. Source If you have news for Dunstab

Proposals For New Health Hub & Residential Blocks in Dunstable

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Planning News CB/20/02005/REG3 Land at Grove Park, Court Drive, Dunstable, LU5 4GP Erection of a mixed-use development comprising a 4 storey integrated Health and Social Care Hub (6841 sqm) and 98 residential apartments (80, one bedroom flats and 18, two bedroom flats) for older people distributed in three blocks, 4 storeys in height with access, parking, landscaping and associated infrastructure. All documents available here . Make a Public Comment here . Homes for Older People and an Integrated Health and Social Care Hub  Report by Alan Winter. Location The site is located at the end of Court Drive, Dunstable.  The site is located to the northeast of the High Street in the centre of Dunstable, Bedfordshire.  The site has an area of 3.65ha.  There are pedestrian links to the High Street, library (less than 5 minutes walk), Asda store (3 minutes walk) and local and intercity bus stops (2-5 minutes walk). The site is bounded on the northern side by the Luton - Dunstable busway.  Beyo

Huge Bike Haul Discovered at Bedford

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Bedfordshire Police received a report from a member of the public on Thursday 2 July, reporting a stolen bicycle being advertised for sale via social media. Officers attended the address of the seller in Bedford, and a 41-year-old man from the town was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. He has been released under investigation while police enquiries continue. Officers recovered in excess of 100 bikes at the property . PC Jade Kilbey, investigating, said: “This was a proactive arrest carried out off the back of intelligence provided by a member of the public who had been a victim of bike theft. The number of bicycles we have recovered is significant and it would be great to be able to reunite some of them with their rightful owners. “We would urge anyone who has had their pedal cycle stolen within the Bedford area in recent weeks to get in contact with the make, model, colour and serial number of their bike, along with any other distinguishing features." If you have

Your Electoral Registration Details - Are they up to date?

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Local residents are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date. With Police and Crime Commissioner elections taking place in Central Bedfordshire in May 2021, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part. The annual canvass ensures that Central Bedfordshire Council can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered or have recently moved so that they can be encouraged to do so. They would then be able to take part in any future elections. You will receive a letter addressed to the household from the beginning of August. Richard Carr, Electoral Registration Officer at Central Bedfordshire Council said, “It’s important that residents keep an eye out for messages from Central Bedfordshire Council, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in our area. To make sure you ar

Activity Packs To Help Bedfordshire Children Keep Active This Summer

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The aim of the Activity Packs is to try and minimize the impact Covid-19 is having on physical activity engagement of children from excluded/hard to reach groups in Bedfordshire. ·         In total 1,185 packs have been funded by team BEDS&LUTON and their key partners across Luton, Bedford and Central Bedfordshire ·         The Activity Packs will be given to children who are in the most need in of support during these unprecedented times, the opportunity to have fun and stay active whilst staying safe. Team BEDS&LUTON is working with Luton, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Council to distribute and support children in most need during the coronavirus outbreak with age appropriate Activity Packs across the county. The packs contain practical examples of ways to stay active, along with items to help people take part in physical activity more easily and to maintain positive mental health. The packs designed for the younger children include a skipping rope, foam dice, hula hoop

Community Groups Second Chance to Apply for A Community Grant

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A scheme to help local voluntary and community organisations make projects a reality by offering matched-funded grants to enable them to invest in their community facilities is now open for bids. Launched last year, the Community Assets Grants Scheme encourages local groups to apply for grants of up to £25,000. The grants must be used for capital funding projects, for example, a new roof for a community hall or to improve access for people with disabilities, or upgrades to other community assets. The grant scheme is open to a range of Central Bedfordshire organisations, including voluntary and community groups, not-for-profit organisations and Parish or Town Councils. The council has allocated £260,000 for release through this second bidding round, which closes at 5pm on 1 September 2020. Following a discussion with the local Ward Councillor, groups who fulfil the criteria will need to complete an online application form. Once applications have been assessed they are scored against

Prolonged Siberian Heat Attributed to Climate Change

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Temperatures in Siberia have been well above average since the start of the year. A new record temperature for the Arctic, 38°C, was recorded in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk on 20 June, while Siberia’s overall temperatures were more than 5°C above average from January to June, reports the Met Office To measure the effect of climate change on these high temperatures, scientists used computer simulations to compare the climate as it is today, with about 1°C of global warming, with the climate as it would have been without human influence.  They found that prolonged heat like Siberia experienced from January to June this year would only happen less than once in every 80,000 years without human help.  Greenhouse gas emissions have been shown to be responsible for the huge temperature increase.  The scientists warn that greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically cut. The UK has a programme to reduce that. The heat in Siberia has triggered widespread fires, 1.15 million hectares wa