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.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Financial planning by crystal ball

The fallout continues following a rather incredible radio interview (listen again here) earlier in the week.

This surprising exchange on the BBC was then followed up by the local press, see copies below.

Herald & Post

Luton On Sunday
The point here is not that estimated figures turned out to be wrong given the benefit of hindsight, nor is it about the rights and wrongs of the busway project (which is built and operational; discussion about whether it was a good idea belong in the past).  The worrying issue is the casual attitude towards at least attempting accuracy; the strong implication seems to be that it is perfectly okay to lie if it gets you what you want.

This was not some junior or inexperienced councillor being cornered by a journalist; Dave Taylor has been around in Luton politics a long time and is a senior member (portfolio holder) of the Luton Borough administration.

This was not a panicked answer to a difficult question; Cllr Taylor was taking part in a pre-arranged interview about a subject he is well briefed on.

This was not a misunderstanding or unfortunate misquote being repeated out of context; Iain Lee gave Cllr Taylor every chance to retract or correct the quote but he stood by it, and continued to stand by it when speaking to print journalists later in the week.

Cllr Taylor also referred to the central government funding which has been secured to enable the junction 10a upgrade project.  My understanding is that certain projections around creation of new jobs were made to support this funding bid and that the funding is conditional upon those projections being met; if they are not, then Luton Borough Council could be liable to repay significant amounts of that funding to the government.  I sincerely hope that those targets are hit, because job creation is certainly a good thing, but I hope that the projections are realistic and not embellished; Luton Borough can ill-afford the financial consequences of pushing up the figures here.

There is also the issue of trust in local government, both between the public and those who serve them and also between different local authorities.  When you are dealing with difficult projections and large budgets then the variances will often be significant but to be quite so gung-ho about being wrong by 59% is deeply troubling.

With arguments over assessing housing density, with another senior Councillor recently giving serious misquotes on the BBC and now this, how are we to trust any statistics or other claims coming out of Luton?

There was a lengthy discussion on twitter last night.....

...and this is perhaps one of the best extracts from it.

Luton on Sunday letters page

From today's edition:
Luton On Sunday, 28 September 2014

Junction 10A carriageway closures

Most of the residents of Caddington, Slip End and Hyde will be well aware of the continuing roadworks around the Kidney Wood roundabout.

 There will be overnight carriageway closures on the spur linking the two roundabouts and junction 10 and junction 10A; the eastbound section (leading from the motorway) is scheduled for closure on Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 September and then the westbound section (leading to the motorway) is scheduled for closure on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 October.

Closures are between 8PM and 6AM, with diversions via junction 11.

Luton Borough Council have provided a detailed PDF of the overall scheme, available here.

Friday, 26 September 2014

An invitation to meet the Mayor

I have received an invitation to a small business launch event next month being hosted at Harpers in Pepperstock.  The new Harper's function room is a fine choice and I am delighted to see them doing so well in their new home.

What is slightly troubling is that the invite also encourages my attendance on the grounds that The Mayor will be present.  And Pepperstock in Central Bedfordshire does not have a mayor.

You would presume that a Mayor from a neighbouring authority might have the courtesy to inform local councillors if they were co-hosting this type of event in the ward, but I guess it is easy to presume too much these days.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Salvation Army band coming to All Saints, Caddington

The Salvation Army band are due to play at All Saints Church, Caddington, on Saturday 27 September 2014.
Tickets are £5 on the door (including a drink and a cake) for a late summer concert of popular music.

Local press coverage of Woodside incident

2014-09-21 Luton On Sunday

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Inspector Hitch addresses Caddington & Slip End

Caddington Sports & Social Club was full this morning as plenty of villagers from Slip End, Caddington and surrounding hamlets came to listen to local policing Inspector Jim Hitch.

This meeting was arranged at very short notice following the recent events in Woodside and public concerns as to what had (and had not) happened.  There was no formal agenda, but Inspector Hitch spoke for 10-15 minutes and then took questions from the public.

To recap, last Sunday (September 14) a member of the public saw two men in a field in Woodside; this was away from the public footpath and not somewhere people are normally seen and so their presence, coupled with their apparent use of some sort of monocular or range finding device, appeared suspicious.  The member of the public approached the men and challenged them; they ran away without responding.  The incident was reported to the Police by calling 101.

The Police referred the report to an appropriate senior officer who, against the background of the heightened alert against potential terrorist threats nationally, decided that the incident merited further investigation.  The local policing team secured the site and a specialist counter-terrorism team covering the eastern region of England and supported by SO15 (Scotland Yard counter-terrorism) took charge of the investigation, which is ongoing.  Other than a piece of paper recovered by the member of the public who made the original report, no further evidence was found.

Inspector Hitch confirmed that, contrary to some rumours which have been circulating, the piece of paper did NOT contain instructions on targeting planes or details of an attack.  The unidentified men's presence in the field and their activities could have been innocent (plane spotting or bird spotting) but, as they did not remain in the area to speak to Police, nothing can be absolutely confirmed or ruled out.  The specialist team continue to investigate and have also spoken to local residents who wished to report other incidents they have been concerned about in the past.

The general message from the Police is that there is no particular reason to feel unsafe or under threat but if you do see anything that you consider unusual or causes concern then please do ring 101 or 999.

Update: a resident has forwarded me a copy of their much more detailed notes which they were happy to share with the wider community - available here.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Caddington meeting with Police next Saturday

From Tony Hansen, Chair of Caddington Parish Council:

The Parish Council and Cllr Richard Stay have arranged a public meeting with the local Policing Inspector to hear of any concerns you may have, following the incident in Woodside last Sunday.

The venue is the Caddington Sports and Social Club at 10am THIS Saturday.  We do not have time to leaflet the village so please share this post with as many people you can and tell your neigbours and friends.
Whether you can attend the meeting or not, the Police would like to remind everyone to be vigilant at all times and if you do see something not right then ring 101 or 999 depending on how suspicious you feel it is.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Temporary closure of footpath A16, Caddington

Below is a copy of the formal notice from Central Bedfordshire Council:

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 A16, Caddington which extends from Mancroft Road at Ordnance Survey Grid Reference (OS GR) TL 0613 1891 (Map point A) south west for approximately 270 metres to OS GR TL 0594 1871 (Map point B).
This temporary closure is required to enable excavation works for the installation of a cable for the new solar farm. The closure is expected to take place from 29 September 2014 until 3 October 2014.
There is no alternative route for footpath users while the closure is in operation.
Further details, including a map, can also be found on the Council’s website.
The proposed Order will come into operation on 29 September 2014 for a period not exceeding 6 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 11 September 2014
Priory House, Monks Walk
Chicksands, Shefford
                                                     DAVID LEVERINGTON
Beds  SG17 5TQ                                                             Rights of Way Team Leader

 You can also see a map of the affected area by clicking here.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Residents Tracker September 2014

From 8th to 30th September, 1200 residents from across Central Bedfordshire will be asked their views on the services that the Council provides.

The information gathered contribute to the public engagement on the budget and council tax setting process for 2015/16.

An external company called Public Perspectives will be carrying out the telephone surveys on behalf of the Council; more details on the budget and wider telephone survey can be found on the CBC website.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Additional return journey on route 62 bus service

Please see below the text from a notification received back in July; the additional journey enters the timetable in a few weeks time.

"Earlier this year, South Beds Dial a Ride started operating new route 62 linking Pepperstock with Caddington and Dunstable, as a part replacement for 202.

Following discussions with the operator, with effect from 22 September an additional return journey will be provided Tuesdays to Fridays from Caddington to Pepperstock. This will allow an hours shopping/ visit to doctor in Caddington. This was requested by local residents.  There is no additional cost to CBC for this journey.

Modifications to the route within Dunstable town centre area also being made to accommodate requests from users."

Summary of August 2014 reported crime figures

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Looking for Bedfordshire D-Day Veterans: Can you help?

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, would like to trace all D-Day Veterans living in Bedfordshire following the announcement by the French Government in July that every surviving British Veteran who fought to liberate France would receive the Chevalier de L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur award.

The Government of France has told the UK Ministry of Defence that it wishes to recognise the selfless acts of heroism and determination displayed by all surviving veterans of the Normandy landings, and of the wider campaigns to liberate France in 1944, by awarding them with the Legion d’Honneur.

This recognition extends beyond the troops who actually landed on and fought their way up the beaches 70 years ago, and will include Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel who operated in support of the landings.

Requests for the award should be made using the application form that is available online at or from the Lord-Lieutenant’s Office on 0300 300 6131 or 0300 300 6090. After downloading the form you can either email it to the Ministry of Defence or print it and post it to: Personnel and Training – Defence Services Secretary – Commemorations, Floor 6 Zone C, Ministry of Defence, Main Building, LONDON SW1A 2HB.

The French government will be reviewing the applications, so the MOD is unable to give any guidance on timings or the arrangements for the presentation of the awards. Awards will not be given posthumously.