Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Newbury Rd Garages Update


I've been asked by residents to see what can be done about these three garages in Newbury Rd. This is being pursued by the ASB & Statutory Nuisance Team responsible for Community Safety at Central Bedfordshire Council.

The main problem is tracking down the owners, as some are privately owned, and others may be housing associations. I'm told that two owners have been tracked down and asked to clear up and make secure or they could face penalties. The third owner is still being sort.

Our Mature Trees Need Maintenance

When we had Pride in Houghton earlier this year some effort was trumpeted by Central Bedfordshire Council as they trimmed a few trees, but what happened to the momentum?


All over the Parkside ward  people are now kicking up a fuss, notably over the state of sycamore and ash trees, some that are more than 30 years old. Planted close to homes, they regularly drop off their seeds that can quickly establish root and sprout in gardens. Some are so close they touch the windows of homes, and when they don't can block out a significant amount of light.


There's a horse chestnut tree in Enfield Close that, as a sapling, was lovingly watered by the first residents, but now they are regretting it, as the chestnuts in their cases make the footpath slippery while the branches cut out light. There are trees and public flower bed areas that have been left to be taken over by ivy and other strangling weeds. Areas in Bromley and Chelsea Gardens have become unsightly.


I have written to CBC to ask them what their strategy is towards these mature trees. People have had enough of being told "we'll see what we can do" and want some action. It is probably time to take out older trees and replant saplings in better places. I have offered to tour the ward with people from CBC's arboreal team to see what can be done. It's going to take some investment, so anyone on CBC, be warned, I'm looking for it.





TREE REPORTS August 2014

Bromley Gardens Tree Report August 2014

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update: 1/10/2014 CBC Highways Messaged me: "Your queries have been passed to the Arbitrational" ( I assume they meant Arboriculture) "Officer for your area and will be inspected in a timely fashion. At present we are experiencing a backlog of tree inspections due to restructuring and the sheer volume of requests."

"I have today emailed the Arbitrational" (?) "Officer and have asked the next time he is due in the Houghton Regis area. When he provides me with this information, I will add a note to the accounts to make you aware."

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update 2/10/2014: I am indebted to a customer services advisor for looking into various tree reports for me. Responses recorded here to help me keep track of things.

I have spent the afternoon between calls obtaining the information for each individual case mentioned above and can give you the following updates:

232040 – Opp 100 Westminster Gardens, Over grown Tree– I do not think this is highway maintained but we have asked David Alderman to have a look. Maybe Housing/Handyvan

232081  - 126 Bromley Gardens Overgrown Tree – I do not think this is highway maintained but have asked David to check. Maybe Housing/Handyvan

232092 – Sundon Rd opp East hill footway, Overgrown vegetation – passed to waste services as not public highway.

232093 – Near 51 Bloomsbury Gardens, tree stump left in danger of children playing – this is not highway maintained but may fall under CBC housing/handyvan services

232095 – nr 46 Bloomsbury Gardens, Overgrown tree near to house and leaves dropping causing mess – I do not think this is highway maintained but have asked David to take a look to clarify, leaves will be under waste/handyvan services.

232096 – Sundon Road/Westminster Gardens crossing, hedges overgrown – Not public highway, passed to waste services.

232099 – Next to 30 Enfield Close, Overgrown Tree – Again unsure if this is a highway maintained tree due to its location but have asked David to clarify, may be Estates

232103 – Horse Chestnut located in the centre of Enfield Close, Issues with children throwing sticks up and hitting resident’s windows and leaves dropping making footway slippery – Due to location I do not think this is highway maintained, asked David to check but children issue may fall under housing/tenants and leaves are waste controlled.

232106 – Tree waste left on Westminster Gardens – This is not public highway, so we would not have carried out the work, may be down to waste/housing to clear

I have forwarded these over to the Estates Manager for the area and also Waste services and asked if they could investigate and let you know of any works which are their responsibilities which have been completed or due to be completed.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Less than 8% of Homes Are Affordable

A new survey from Shelter shows that less than 8% of homes are "affordable" in our area. The pressure is on for Central Bedfordshire to ensure that new developments have the right proportion of affordable homes to meet local needs.