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Showing posts from March, 2022

Central Beds College Merges With The Bedford College Group

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Central Bedfordshire College has decided to merge with The Bedford College Group, it has been announced on Monday 28th March 2022. The merger is proposed to take effect from 1st February 2023. Central Bedfordshire College, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, serves communities across southern Central Bedfordshire and Luton, with campuses in Dunstable , Houghton Regis , Leighton Buzzard and Luton . For both learners and staff at Central Bedfordshire College it is ‘business as usual’ with classes and courses continuing as expected. Behind the scenes, the management teams and governing bodies will be working closely together to ensure a seamless transition, and to put plans in place to expand the educational offer to meet the future skills needs of Central Bedfordshire and Luton communities. Prof James Crabbe JP, Chair of The Corporation at CBC, said, “I am delighted to say that the Governing Body of Central Bedfordshire College agreed to a merger with The Bedford College Gro

37 new student officers and detectives hit the beat in Bedfordshire

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March has seen a total of 37 new student officers and detectives joining the ranks of Bedfordshire Police. A cohort of 12 student officers passed their initial training and have started gaining real-world policing experience by working out of response teams.  This cohort is a special one for Bedfordshire Police as they are the first on the newly introduced  Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship , also known as PCDA. This cohort will be helping the people of Bedfordshire as well as studying for a degree alongside their policing work with Anglia Ruskin University.  Now they have been awarded their warrant card they will work on a 1-2-1 basis with a tutor in response teams and be coached through the different incidents they will respond to. Whilst working as a student officer they will also have protected learning time to complete coursework that will go towards their degree.  Chief Superintendent Julie Henderson said: “We are pleased to welcome our newest cohort to the streets of Bedfor

Further Information Now Supplied on Blow's Down New Paths

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Two days ago, Dunstable News Desk reached out to Central Bedfordshire Council for answers to queries around a new hardcore pathway that is being built along the edge of Blow's Down in Dunstable. An initial response was received which we published here , and late on the 30th CBC's communications team responded to other questions that were put. You can find those Q & A's here: Why were there no public notices about the works?  We put three sets of closure notices at the site before and during the works. The first set of three notices was posted on 9 March. No work had started at that point. The second set of notices was put up on 15 March. We found that two of our previous three notices had been removed. The third set of closure notices was put up on 28 March. Again, two of the three notices we put up had been removed. Where does the new path start and end?  The surfacing will go from Half Moon Lane to the Guided Busway. What material is being laid down as a path?  The su

Outdoor activities with Wildlife Trust in local spots

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Getting out in the fresh air doing voluntary work that helps the environment can be very rewarding both for health, and also for the chance to meet like minded people.  Working alongside the Wildlife Trust for this area, we present the opportunities coming up where this enrichment work can be done. You are recommended to wear appropriate clothing - a good pair of boots, some gardening gloves and some waterproofs might not be a bad idea, and perhaps a packed lunch if you are intending to stay all day. If you can only spare an hour, that's fine, too. Often, the actual tools required to do the work are provided by Wildlife Trust BCN. A typical activity might also include a fresh brew in the course of the day. PLEASE NOTE: It is possible that the venue for any of the tasks can change at short notice. Please check with the task leader before setting off. Tasks usually meet a 10am and continue until around 4pm but there is no obligation to stay all day. Please bring a packed lunch and w

Path Improvement at Blow's Down Stirs up Angry Public Comments

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An explanation for path works at Dunstable's Blow's Down has been received from Central Bedfordshire Council. As the makings of a new path have appeared at the foot of Blow's Down in Dunstable, it has caused a bit of a local stir. Taking to social media this week, one nearby resident commented, “Lot of habitat destroyed. Footpath closed end to end. What's going on? I crawled under a tape barrier to try to read the notices (why behind a barrier )? It didn't reveal much. One said resurfacing footpath (there's never been a surface. ) taking 6 months. The other says closed for 3 weeks.” Another commented, “We spoke to them last week - they’re going to put down a proper wide path so it is usable all through the year. I remember when we had our horses down there that was practically a paddock!” Another, “The busway is a nightmare. Tarmac is fine. No one enjoys the mud. But we don't need cycles and certainly not motorcycles. How come no one actually kn

A Muga for Kingsbury Park, Dunstable?

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  The Annual Town Meeting was held Monday evening in Grove House, with a lively evening spent listening to and having public questions answered.  Report by Cllr J. Gurney  As usual, most of the questions were aimed at Central Beds Council, as they related to issues such as the roads, pathways, pavements and bus services, all of which are out of the control by the Town Council.   Nevertheless, everyone who attended was given all the time they wanted to have their say, make their points and ask as many questions as they wanted.  Answers were provided by the panel, which were the Mayor, Cllr Gloria Martin, the deputy mayor, Cllr Liz Jones, and the Town Clerk and Chief Executive, David Ashlee.  Additional information and answers were kindly provided in detail, extensively by CBC Councillors Nigel Young and Eugene Ghent, especially in relation to the roads, pavements and objects placed on them.   WHAT ABOUT THE MUGA? The MUGA at Parkside, Houghton Regis.   The issue of the proposed MUGA

Red Route Scheme for Dunstable Shelved for Time Being

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Central Bedfordshire Council today considered a Red Route scheme for High Street North, High Street South, Church Street and West Street in Dunstable. Red routes use single and double red lines just the same as the single or double yellow lines. Although red route rules are similar to those of the yellow, red route rules are often vehemently enforced which results in many thousands of PCN fines being issued each year. The idea of Red Routes for these roads in Dunstable was conceived as a deterrent to those who park on the now widened footpaths of Dunstable town centre. The chairman of the meeting, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, heard that if a Red Route was agreed on today, there would need to be a public enquiry and an implementation decision taken at a higher level. He was also told that there were a number of snagging issues with the ongoing High Street improvement works and that these might not be completed until the beginning of May this year. In the light of those considerations, and concern

Council awarded Government funding to continue support for victims of domestic abuse

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Central Bedfordshire Council has been granted over £450,000 of Government funding to support people experiencing domestic abuse. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities  announced last month  that it is making £125million of funding available for councils to provide support for domestic abuse victims during 2022 - 2023. Central Bedfordshire Council has been awarded £471,557. The new funding has been granted to ensure the Council can support victims to help them rebuild their lives in a safe environment. This builds on the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which places a legal duty on Councils to fund support in safe accommodation for victims, like refuges or shelters. Cllr Sue Clark, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said, “Nobody should live in fear of violence and abuse, and we are committed to ensuring anyone experiencing domestic abuse is supported. We welcome this additional funding, which will enable us to continue to support victims and help to b

The Parking Fee Changes Affecting Dunstable From 1st April

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Changes across Central Bedfordshire are set to impact drivers from 1 April 2022. The initiatives are designed to support businesses and residents. The Central Bedfordshire Council Executive has agreed a series of parking measures that it hopes will encourage custom and vibrancy in towns across the region and support the local economy. The new arrangements follow extensive consultation with residents and the feedback provided through the council’s Committee process.  A new 30-minute short stay option in car parks at just 50p will benefit people needing to pop into their local town for a short visit. Consultation feedback identified this as being important. To support Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard , the council is extending the free parking. So, parking in Ashton Square Car Park in Dunstable will now be free on Wednesdays as well as Saturdays from 1pm to 6pm and visitors can use Duncombe Drive Car Park in Leighton Buzzard for free on Tuesdays and Saturdays again between 1pm and 6p

#BigBagChallenge: The 2022 Great British Spring Clean is Underway Now!

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#BigBagChallenge The Keep Britain Tidy's 2022 Great British Spring Clean is now underway from 25 March until 10 April.  Keep Britain Tidy believes that every act to protect the environment, no matter how small, makes a difference.   And so, when hundreds of thousands of Litter Heroes all join forces and take the same action at the same time, the difference made will be huge.   This year the message is simple. Join the #BigBagChallenge and pledge to pick up as much litter as you can during the campaign.   Make a Pledge You might choose to pick up just one bag, or you could set yourself a local #BigBagChallenge such as collecting a bag of litter every day during Ramadan.  Make a pledge  now.  Keep Britain Tidy has loads of tips and advice to help you get started and cleaning-up safely, so whether you’re a litter-picking pro, or this is your first time, join the Great British Spring Clean and pledge to pick up a bag - or more – today.   If you are a school, please join the  Great Big

Halifax Bank: Dunstable branch to close in July

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Halifax is to close its branch in Dunstable on 11 July 2022. In a review statement, the bank says, “Our customers’ needs are changing. Almost 18 million people now bank with us through Online Banking and over 13 million use Mobile Banking. Branches will remain vital in meeting customers’ needs but we must continually review our network to make sure we have branches in locations where customers need and use them the most. “As a result, we've made the difficult decision to close this branch because customers are using it less often. In addition, the majority of customers are also using alternative ways to bank. “[Customers] can use any of our branches and our nearest alternative is the Luton Bute Street branch. You can also use a Post Office® for your everyday banking. We’re still here to support you, and there’s a number of ways you can bank with us.” The bank's address is: 36-36A High Street North Dunstable Bedfordshire LU6 1LA The cash machine at this branch will be closing, a

Shoplifter gets a CBO and is banned from Dunstable shops

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A man has been served with a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) for prolific shoplifting in Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard town centre. John Denton, 34, from Houghton Regis, was served a two-year CBO at Luton Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday (9 March), preventing him from visiting Quadrant shopping centre and White Lion retail park in Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard town centre. PCSO Elliot Weedon, from the local Community Policing Team, said: “This particular CBO has been a priority and together with our close partnership with the council and local business owners we’ve achieved a great result. “John Denton targeted these shops for a number of years and his actions have had a detrimental effect on the communities and businesses he targeted. We are pleased with the court’s decision to issue him with a CBO.” If you see Mr Denton breaching his order, please call 101. If you experience anti-social behaviour in your neighbourhood, or if you would like to report any suspicious behaviour, contac

PCC in Annual Survey to the people of Bedfordshire

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Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye has launched his Annual Survey to the people of Bedfordshire. The survey was launched earlier this month and gives residents an opportunity to give feedback on their views and experiences across different aspects of policing. Mr Akinbusoye said, “One of my statutory duties is to consult and engage with members of the public. However, I don’t just see this as a requirement. “Something that I am absolutely passionate about and is crucial to me, is involving the residents of Bedfordshire in my research and plans. “Putting people at the heart of policing is not about me making decisions, it’s about hearing from you. Your opinion matters a lot to me, and I value your feedback, good and bad, as it helps us to shape the future of policing in Bedfordshire. “I thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this short survey and I look forward to sharing the responses and outcomes with you.” The survey includes questions asking for residents

PCC hosts OPCC’s first ever Schools Debating competition in Bedfordshire

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The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), hosted their first-ever Schools Debating competition this week. During his campaign the Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye pledged to run an annual debating competition. Young people aged 15-18 years old were invited from Bedfordshire schools to take part in the competition, proudly sponsored by Willmott-Dixon, a national construction company who have recently developed the new custody block for Bedfordshire Police. Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye said, “I wanted to give young people the opportunity to develop their confidence in public speaking and broaden their knowledge of topical issues by encouraging participation in Parliamentary-style debating. “The event was a huge success.  I was incredibly impressed by the professionalism, passion, and most of all knowledge of all the students.  Honestly, some of these topics, I had a clear opinion on.  Now, due to the quality of knowledge and extensive res

College Requires Improvement - Ofsted Report

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Central Bedfordshire College had a full inspection in January by Ofsted. Their report is now published and the overall verdict is 'requires improvement'.  The College is mostly based in Dunstable, but also operates in other towns in Bedfordshire. The last full inspection was carried out on 15 May 2018, and that also came out as 'Requires Improvement'. In 2022 the rating was (2018 in brackets): The quality of education:  Requires improvement  ( Requires improvement ) Behaviour and attitudes: Good ( Requires improvement ) Personal development: Good ( Requires improvement ) Leadership and management: Requires improvement ( Requires improvement ) Education programmes for young people: Requires improvement ( Requires improvement ) Adult learning programmes: Good ( Good ) Apprenticeships: Inadequate ( Requires improvement ) Provision for learners with high needs: Good ( Good ) Overall effectiveness at previous inspection: Requires improvement ( Good ) To improve, the report

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo proves one of the UK’s most popular days out

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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is one of the 20 most popular visitor attractions in the UK, according to figures published today (Friday 18 March) by The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).  The UK’s largest Zoo was the 19th most visited attraction in the UK during 2021, and the eighth-most visited attraction outside of London.  Chief Operating Officer of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Owen Craft said: “We are delighted to, once again, prove to be one of the UK’s most popular days out.   “Families choose adventure-filled days out at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, particularly during school holidays, because they know they will encounter some of the most colossal and majestic creatures on earth, like our herd of Asian elephants or our two species of rhinoceroses that roam and graze across our 600-acre site.  “Others, I think, choose ZSL Whipsnade Zoo because they support our global conservation aims and want to be part of the vital work we are doing for wildlife right here in the Zoo, as well as all arou

Plans approved for first crematorium to be built in Central Bedfordshire

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A crematorium is set to be built off Fordfield Road in Steppingley, near Flitwick, following approval from Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee, subject to following due process.   The crematorium will be the first in Central Bedfordshire and will enable local people to say goodbye to loved ones who have passed away in an appropriate setting closer to home.  Services will be delivered between 9am-5pm on Monday to Friday and construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months.   The location of the crematorium is away from homes and public roads and will have additional landscaping, including a tree-lined approach, remembrance garden, meadows and a lake, minimising the impact on the existing landscape and making it a serene place for remembrance. View this image of the scheme in full here Councillor Eugene Ghent, Executive Member for Assets and Housing Delivery, said: “The crematorium is a necessary addition to our community and will allow us to provide the right

Big Battery Storage Facility Approved for Chalton - EV charging to become easier

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Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, has won planning approval for a new grid-scale battery storage facilities at Chalton, Sundon, Bedfordshire. This is one of two projects forming part of Pivot Power’s nationwide rollout of ‘energy superhubs’, designed to deliver up to 2 GW of transmission-connected battery storage and high-volume power connections. Taking power from the grid and storing it in big batteries The 50 MW/100 MWh lithium-ion battery storage facility in Sundon could begin construction in early 2023, aiming to be connected to the National Grid’s Sundon substation later. Once constructed, Pivot Power will also develop a private wire for electric vehicle (EV) charging. In Indian Queens, in Cornwall, Pivot Power will share a grid connection with two other developers, including Renewable Connections, with whom Pivot Power submitted a joint planning application.  Alongside a similar site in the West Midlands, which started construction last year, the Sundon and Indian Queens batt