Sunday, 19 April 2015

Fascinating Family History - in Japan after WWII

https://www.quora.com/What-was-it-like-to-live-in-Japan-right-after-WWII

Tokyo -

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Great Response On The Doorstep

A big thanks to a couple of people who volunteered their time to help get out a leaflet over the last weekend. I'm getting a great response on the doorsteps. 

New issues are arising all the while. Plenty of signs of people recognising years of neglect and underinvestment in the estate. Continually keeping council tax to a 0% increase is bound to have an effect somewhere. So-called front-line services might be being defended by the Conservative run Central Beds council, but the neglect shows itself in:

  • failing to keep up street repairs, so our footpaths are frequently badly damaged
  • failure to provide sufficient parking facilities and secure parking for a modern society
  • failure to provide adequate street sweeping manpower
  • failure to successfully negotiate with the private development of Houghton Park estate, with the consequence that weeds grow wildly along pathways, trees grow unchecked, and residents feel unsafe parking their vehicles.
Concern is frequently expressed in what will happen when Parkside Drive is opened up to through traffic. I spoke against the road being opened up at the hearing last year; now we must ensure that traffic calming measures are installed on the two way road when it is opened up.

Concerns about off-roaders are being addressed by Police, but other concerns are that youths have little to do, cause mischief, and disruption. We have a huge enclosed area by the Sports Centre that could possibly be used as an adventure playground, or be used for some venture as a model village, or commercially run venue with a recreation bent to it. Even well-lit youth shelters might be provided where youths can just "chill".


While my reception on the doorsteps is hugely positive I still have a lot to do before polling day. I sense little pockets - and I mean little - of UKIP support where their neighbours have foreign sounding names; really I sense they're just railing against a very localised perception. I have absolutely no idea how they think they can change immigration policy from Central Beds Council. If they just got to know their neighbours a bit more, the animosity would disappear, I'm sure, when they discover how much good can be found in people. 

One or two outright flatcap "Labour" types, and a handful of staunch Conservative types (mostly wondering what benefit would be gained by electing someone who lives in Leighton Buzzard), but on the whole, though,  I sense people really appreciate my political neutrality, are aware of who I am, what I do locally, and what I stand for.

I look forward to meeting you out on the doorsteps.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

NEWS UPDATE

NEWS UPDATE
http://alandwinter.blogspot.co.uk/

Important message if you vote by post

It won't have escaped your attention that there is an election coming up! If you vote by post, you should be getting your ballot papers starting 15th April. I have enjoyed the past 8 years on the Town Council and keeping you all informed through writing Houghton Regis News Desk. I hope that you will vote to allow me to represent you on Central Bedfordshire Council. If you need a late postal vote or need to register, you can do this online at http://gov.uk/register-to-vote before 20th April.

Doorsteps

I am currently spending time door knocking getting to see people in Parkside. Logistically it will not be possible for me to see everyone before polling day but if you would like me to, please contact me, or message me via "News Desk".

HRN1

This development could be another two years away from starting due to the legal wrangling between Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. The developers are contributing £45m towards building the A5-M1 link, and as a knock on effect CBC agreed to just 10% of the housing classified as "affordable". LBC are mounting expensive legal challenges on the basis that CBC have not consulted enough with them, and at least one of LBC's planning team is suggesting that up to 50% of the housing should be affordable.

Woodside Link

When will Parkside Drive be opened onto the new Woodside Link road?
This is due to open late 2016 / early 2017. I will press for proper traffic calming measures in Parkside Drive, especially near the shop, and the Sports Centre.

Trees

Most of the trees have grown up since the Parkside estate was built. Many were placed far too close to homes resulting in seedlings dropping into gardens, roots lifting up tarmac causing trip hazards, gutters filled up with unwanted growths, and light being blocked so much that even in summer, people have had to have their lights on during the day.
I wrote in a couple of tree reports to CBC last summer, and between Housing and Highways departments they have had to take ownership and responsibility to maintain them. This resulted in Highways carrying out severe pruning along Sundon Road, allowing light to come into homes facing onto the road. That was long overdue.
Earlier this year the Housing Department commissioned a tree survey report. Over 6,000 trees in the district have now been surveyed, noted in a database and the trees themselves have had silver numbered discs attached to them. They will now be deciding on their priorities as to how they will allocate that tree budget. Last year's tree budget was £20,000, and for 2015/16 they have £80,000. It's still a relatively low figure, so many people are going to have to be very patient. In March I toured Parkside with CBC officers to try to influence their priorities over a list of trees I had noticed being of special concern, and drew their attention to those that residents have pointed out to me. In Enfield Close one tree was lifting up the kitchen floor, and this tree has been severely crowned. If you think there is another that may have been missed, let me know.
While I'm on trees, I can tell you that the Town Council has ordered work to prune willow trees opposite The Chequers, as a large limb crashed down onto the road earlier this year. The cost of that work is approaching £5k.

Noisy Bikes

I have requested better barriers around our estate, to try to make life difficult for motorised bikes, but this is mainly a matter for the police, and besides, we need to have access for pushchairs etc. Call police on 101. Our police have been allocated bikes to help them get after the bikers. Your photos and video can help to give evidence, too. I can relay them to the police for you if you email them over.

How can I report an issue in my street?

At Fixmystreet.com or use the CBC app www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/mobileapp Or call CBC on 0300 300 8049

Can the concrete in Kirton Way be removed?

Hopefully, it soon will be. This dangerous old concrete needs removing. I have given my full support in local council meetings to get it
removed.

What can be done about children gathering at Neptune Square?

I have asked police for help here, but it is not a crime to gather in a crowd. Please can I appeal to parents to not let their children gather there as it is intimidating to local residents and shoppers. If you experience any kind of anti social behaviour Central Beds do have an ASB team of experienced people. Bringing successful actions against the perpetrators can depend on some effort from you, too. Central Beds Community Safety ASB Team: 0300 300 8302. Report it online http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/asb email: community.safety@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

The High Street

“The High Street Crossings Aren’t Safe.” - This has been a common theme at town council meetings since the High Street works were done. The work was done at the request of CBC, as part of the agreement for Morrisons to build their supermarket in the town. The cost of the works was met by Morrisons. At Town Partnership committees councillors, including myself, have railed on CBC officers firstly to get them to do an audit, which they did last year, and secondly to do another audit because the first one did not cover our concerns adequately. Work was meant to be taking place in the High Street at the cost of the original contractors during January, which got put back, then again in March and April, and even then the works will still not be done to rectify all safety concerns. If elected, I shall continue to make a fuss about safety, until it is sorted out.

PAYPOINT

The new food and drink store (near Roger Marsh) is going to host a Pay Point facility. It is due to be installed in the next couple of weeks or so. The store is open 7am to midnight.

Cemetery Provision

Cemetery provision in Houghton Regis is limited to just a few years now. If we don't get a new facility soon, people will have to go elsewhere for a cemetery. I am among those who have pressed for the establishment of a new cemetery, perhaps in the land earmarked for development between Thorn and Bidwell. I don't agree with taking over Orchard Park recreation ground. It has a covenant on it to keep it as "open space for recreational use".

Arriva Buses

From April 12th the 39 will stop altogether, and the 38 won't be running on Sundays. The new 38 service will be run by Arriva under contract to Central Bedfordshire Council. From the 13th April it will only do trips to Dunstable and Parkside, not Luton. The new 38 (or 38D) will be a circular route calling at Morrisons, Johnsons Court, Bromley Gardens, Westminster Gardens, Hawthorn Park School, [38D only - Dolphin Drive], Houghton Regis Academy, Hillborough Crescent, Tithe Farm Rd, Library, Morrisons, All Saints Academy, [38 only - Frenchs Avenue loop], High Street North, Ashton Square, High St North, [38 only - Frenchs Avenue loop], All Saints Academy, Morrisons.
For Luton, The A service will be as it was before, except when it gets to Dolphin Drive, it will become the Z, and travel on to Chelsea Gardens, Bromley Gardens, Windsor Drive, Lewsey Farm doctors, L&D, and then head for Luton Galaxy via the busway, joining near B&Q. And vice versa.

Bookstart

Bookstart is a government funded scheme which offers free books to all children at two ages before they start school to inspire a love of reading and help families read together. The charity involved say children who receive Bookstart packs are more likely to do better at school. Bookstart is coordinated and delivered via health visitors, library staff and early years staff. In Central Beds Bookstart Baby bags are provided by health visitors at the new birth visit and Bookstart Treasure bags are handed out by Early Years staff to children at the age of four. If your child has missed out for any reason, please contact: www.bookstart.org.uk

Community Defibrillator

Seminar: 27th April 2015, 7pm Bedford Square Community Centre, Tithe Farm Road, Houghton Regis.
The Community Heartbeat Trust will be demonstrating the use of defibrillators and explaining how the equipment works and its benefits to the community in saving precious minutes in the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest.
The more people that know how to use the portable defibrillator installed in our community, the more chance there is of saving the life of a victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Everybody is welcome, and no special skills are required, just your willingness to play an important role in the event of a medical emergency.

What's On

Have a look at my Pinterest board for local what's on events. I keep this regularly updated.
https://uk.pinterest.com/alandwinter/whats-on-houghton-regis/

Can you do something about parking at Hawthorn Park School?

Several premises near the school all share the car park. I understand the problem. I have asked Highways to start looking at improving the number of parking spaces here. I’ll keep on it.

Why vote for you on May 7th and not for a 'party' person?

People on a 'party' ticket tend to represent their party first. In practice, that means that if they are quiet, they will tend to support, or be lead on, by the talkative ones in their party. If you elect me, I will judge each issue on its own merits. I will put the interests of local people first, county interests second. If elected, I would join the group of Independents already making a difference in their own localities within Central Bedfordshire. The group follow the principles set out by former Independent MP, Martin Bell.
Learn more at http://is.gd/ind4cbc

Can An Independent Win?

Absolutely! In 2011, in Parkside, an Independent was 16 votes short of winning and the candidate didn't even put a leaflet out! There are over 2,000 independent councillors in the UK. Independents form the second largest group on Central Bedfordshire. Your vote would not be wasted!

Are you local?

I have lived in Parkside, Houghton Regis, since 2006. I have excellent knowledge of what’s happening here. I have also lived in the Bedfordshire towns of Biggleswade, Dunstable, and Luton, so am no stranger to local problems.

Will you have the time?

Being a CBC councillor can be quite demanding. Current CBC councillors for Houghton Regis estimate I should allow at least two and a half days a week to go through paperwork and attend meetings. I suspect it may even be more than that. I can easily fit the flexible hours of my part-time job around this.

Can you sort the parking out at Neptune Square / Dolphin Drive ?

Parking should not continue on the sharp bend. A couple of years ago a senior CBC Conservative councillor emailed me privately to
show that he had asked a CBC officer to step in to help to try to bring about a better parking solution. To date, Conservatives have neglected this. If elected on 7th May I shall keep reminding them!

CONTACT

alanwinter.lu5@gmail.com
01582 514654
Website: http://alandwinter.blogspot.co.uk/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/alandwinter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alandwinter
Your News Site, edited by me: http://www.hrnd.co.uk
Facebook editor: https://www.facebook.com/houghton.regis.news.desk
Mobile Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/houghton.regis.news.desk




Monday, 6 April 2015

Luton's 0% affordable homes

At a CBC hearing for two sites off Bedford Rd, the chap speaking for Luton Borough Council made some noises about wanting 50% affordable homes on the HRN1 site. Not that there is any basis for such an excessive request.

Yet, it is said*, Luton Borough Council permit 10% - nay, 0% affordable homes - on their own land sites. Crazy times, as HRN1 scheme could now be bogged down in legal activity for a couple of years as LBC fight CBC on 'duty to co-operate' under the Localism Act, imparticular over sites like HRN1.

Don't get me wrong, to make more than 10% homes under the 'affordable' label might be desirable on the one hand, but I rather fear that would impact on the amount of open space that might be left behind when all the building is completed. 

* between the M1 & Newlands Rd opposite Stockwood Park in Luton, the first application on this site had zero affordable housing allocated [according to source].

Update 8 Apr 2015
http://www.lutontoday.co.uk/news/politics/revealed-luton-borough-council-blew-100k-on-houghton-regis-development-battle-1-6677411
"For the first time we can reveal that to date the case, which a judge branded as “lacking in legal merit”, has cost the taxpayer £109,922.
In response to a Freedom of Information request LBC has admitted that its solicitor’s fees ran up to £64,571, while counsel’s fees cost a further £33,375."

Saturday, 28 March 2015

About Me

Alan D Winter
​ - About Me - 
http://alandwinter.blogspot.co.uk/p/alan-d-winter.html
Tel 01582 514654
Independent 
​Town ​
Councillor, 
Parkside Ward​,
​ Houghton Regis Town Council​
Editor, Houghton Regis ​Diary 

Click any of these links to connect with me:
             

Friday, 27 March 2015