Caddington ward covers the six parishes of Hyde, Slip End, Caddington, Kensworth, Whipsnade & Studham
Individual parish council websites (where available) can be reached by clicking on the names aboves.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Temporary Closure – Kensworth: Part of Footpath No 17

Notice is hereby given that Central Bedfordshire Council intend not less than seven days from the date of this Notice to make an Order the effect of which will be to prohibit any person proceeding on foot along the length of Footpath No 17, Kensworth which extends from Ordnance Survey Grid Reference (OS GR) TL 0098 1991 in a south easterly direction to OS GR TL 0115 1971.
This temporary closure is required to enable works to the pipeline to take place. The closure is expected to take place from 14 July 2014 until 6 October 2014.
There is no official alternative route for footpath users while the closure is in operation, however where possible a local alternative will be signposted on site.
Further details, including a map, can also be found on the Council’s website
The proposed Order will come into operation on 14 July 2013 for a period not exceeding six months or until the works which it is proposed to carry out on or near to the footpath have been completed, whichever is the earlier.
For further information please contact Michelle Flynn, Tel: 0300 300 6072,
DATED 26 June 2014
Priory House, Monks Walk
Chicksands, Shefford
                                                     DAVID LEVERINGTON
Beds  SG17 5TQ                                                             Rights of Way Team Leader 

 Click on the picture to enlarge or download a PDF here.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Lower Harpenden Road

The burst water main on the Lower Harpenden Road in Hyde has now been fixed.  However, reinstatement of the carriageway will require closure of the road.

It will therefore remain open tonight and tomorrow morning subject to manually controlled lights and then will be closed to all traffic from 09:30 to 15:00 tomorrow (26 June).

News central magazine - correction

The latest quarterly update magazine from Central Bedfordshire Council is currently being delivered to homes.

Please note that there is an error with the map on page 9.  As the name suggests, there are a couple of basic points to note about the Sundon Rail Freight Interchange:
  1. It is near Sundon
  2. It is next to the railway
Please ignore the marker suggesting that the facility is in Slip End!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Neighbourhood Planning in Studham

Further to my previous post, I was happy to accept an invite to Studham tonight to talk about how they might start to put together their Neighbourhood Plan.

I am pleased to report that a good number of people turned up to the meeting, and half a dozen or so of them have agreed to form the core of the new steering group; some others do not feel able to commit to the main group but have indicated a willingness to assist with certain tasks.

It is clear that the residents love their village, and I am sure that they will be able to form a plan which will guide and enhance future planning decisions in Studham.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Continuing growth of Neighbourhood Planning

Parishes within the Caddington ward of Central Bedfordshire are engaging well with Neighbourhood Planning.

Caddington and Slip End are reasonably well advanced with their joint plan, Kensworth have started the process and Studham meet again this week to map out how they will start preparing their Neighbourhood Plan.

Each of these plans will have a different focus to reflect the varying aspirations and desires in each parish, but the common theme is local people helping to define the future vision for the areas they live in and care so much about.  That has got to be a good thing!

The table below shows just how many Neighbourhood Plans are underway (at various stages) across the nation.

Thanks to Jonathan Green, Department for Communities & Local Government.

Monday, 16 June 2014

If it looks wrong, phone 101

The following article was penned by Carol Brennan of Slip End; it was written for that village's Parish News but it is good general advice for everyone:

You may have heard that there had been a couple of break in’s towards the end of last month which is why the advice concerning the locking of UPVC doors has been published. There is a lot we can do to help the police, which is principally to keep an eye open and report anything suspicious by dialling 101. Remember the watch word is, “ If it looks wrong, it is wrong phone 101”.   

In last month’s Parish News you will have seen that the Community Projects Group is setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme (if it looks wrong it is wrong phone 101) led by Carol Brennan and they have already had their first meeting, look out for the material which they will soon be producing. If you would like to be involved my contact details are at the back of this issue.

But what of the Police, surely they are not just relying on our Neighbourhood Watch Scheme (if it looks wrong, it is wrong phone 101)?  The question was put to Sergeant Linda Wilson who looks after our Parish. This is what she said:
 “Joint protective services (which are departments like Roads Policing, ANPR, Dogs) have been tasked to the area in any down time they may have between commitments.

A further briefing slide has been requested for all units at Luton to make them aware and attend location in a high visibility capacity when resources allow, highlighting the vehicles stolen so they too can be targeted if seen.

PCSO’s have or are in the process of visiting all victims, and neighbouring properties where appropriate, and are also defaulting to the area when resourcing and commitments allow,

I totally understand the concerns and wish to reassure the residents we are acting on the issue”

In the meantime remember, if it looks wrong, it is wrong phone 101.

There are two points I would like to emphasise from this piece:
  1. Police DO react to crime spikes and target resources appropriately; local intelligence is always a great help to them.
  2. Don't be afraid to call 101.  Local intelligence helps the Police; sometimes enabling them to react before the crime has happened helps them even more.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Update on meeting times

Last night we debated and voted on the motion as considered in my previous posting.  It began with some interesting points, but sadly degenerated into a clear example of why people are discouraged from standing for election or attending council
meetings as members of the public.

Cllr Smith spoke first to put his case as to why the motion should succeed; Cllr Jamieson responded with his opinion as to why such changes would be detrimental and hence why he would be opposing the motion.  Many other Councillors from both sides of the chamber then took their turn.

Sadly, the longer the debate continued, the more frustrating it became.  Speakers took up time to repeat points already made, challenge previous comments by blatantly misquoting what had actually been said and so on.  Despite the efforts of the vice-chairman, the debate showed no sign of reaching a conclusion  or progressing to the vote; it was becoming increasingly clear that the prevailing mood in the chamber was that the motion would fail but its small number of supporters were of the opinion that if they strung it out for long enough, minds would miraculously be changed.  It may be laudable to ensure a topic is fully explored, but the Council is often responsible for significant decisions with far-reaching implications and it started to feel distinctly awkward that some people's sense of perspective ranked this particular topic as worthy of such protracted discussion.

When we eventually reached the vote, the final insult was delivered with a call for a recorded vote.  For those that don't know, many votes are cast by show of hands; it takes perhaps one minute to count for, against and abstentions with the majority figure deciding the outcome.  A recorded vote involves every single Councillor being called to cast their vote individually and in turn, and those votes then being tallied up.  It is likely to take five minutes rather than one but the point is that every single Councillor's vote gets recorded in the minutes rather than just the overall result.  It can be an important part of the democratic process when deciding a vote on an especially contentious subject or one where the outcome is unpredictable and possibly settled by the slimmest of majorities.  This vote was neither contentious nor tight (the motion was defeated 40 - 9) and the call for it to be recorded was, frankly, petulant.

A Councillor from Luton Borough Council suggested to me that perhaps making meetings more interesting is more likely to attract people than altering the timings.  I quite agree.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Daytime or evening for committee meetings?

There is a meeting of the full Central Bedfordshire Council scheduled for tomorrow night, and the agenda includes the following motion proposed by Cllr Mark Smith:

"With local council elections occurring in 2015, Central Bedfordshire Council wishes to attract the widest cross-section of candidates to stand for election.  Currently, overview and scrutiny meetings are held during the day.  This policy prevents those in employment from fully participating in the democratic processes of the Council.  The majority of meetings in our neighbouring authorities commence between 6 and 7pm.

Commencing January 1, 2015 my motion to Council is that all overview and scrutiny meetings should take place after 6pm in the evening."

The full council usually holds its meetings from 6:30PM but all other committees tend to meet during the day.  Such meetings are also generally open to the public, either simply to observe the proceedings or (if registered to speak) for a chance to address the committee.  Central Bedfordshire is not unique in holding daytime meetings, but there are plenty of councils, be they district, county or unitary, who hold meetings in the evening.

Cllr Smith's motion refers specifically to potential candidates seeking election, but the consideration also extends to the wider public and how they engage (or do not!) with the Council's decision making process.

Evening is obviously preferable to daytime for a lot of employed people, although not all work 9-5.  Conversely, some people have childcare or other family commitments that give them flexibility during the day but they are unable to go out in the evenings.  A further consideration is that Council meetings involve not only elected members but various and numerous officers who advise and report to the Councillors.  Evening meetings would therefore demand overtime and/or more flexible working arrangements for these officers.

Finally, a lot of elected Councillors already have evening commitments with Town or Parish Council meetings and many other committees or groups which they may be expected to attend.  Would it ease or further complicate their diaries to move more committees to the evening?

At the time of writing, I have no firm opinion for or against the motion and I shall be interested to hear the debate.  I would also be interested to hear if people are for or against such a move, either because they have ambitions to stand for election or simply because they would like to attend Council meetings.

Beginner's guide

Courtesy of "first" magazine from the Local Government Association