Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Dunstable; The Next Chapter - A Video Critique


To the outside world I must reluctantly admit that people tend to know roughly where Dunstable is, but when it comes to Houghton Regis, most are clueless, and some even think it's somewhere on the south coast of England.

So, when it comes to this new video from Central Bedfordshire Council, I suppose they arguably have a reason for labelling the whole thing a regeneration of Dunstable. At the end of the day, any regeneration of Dunstable as a commercial and employment area in the wider context has to be a benefit for people living within its catchment area, and has to be welcomed.

But let's be honest, "Dunstable" is a bit of cuckoo, really. Established as a market area at the junction of the parishes of Houghton Regis, Kensworth, and Caddington, it has gradually flexed its muscles, taken in land that was Upper Houghton, land that is now western Dunstable, swallowing up the Houghton Regis land that once held the two Dunstable railway stations.

This map indicates the boundaries of Houghton Regis over the years. If they hadn't been fiddled about with by pressures from the cuckoo, it would be as big today as the wider pink blob.

Map shows earliest boundaries of Houghton Regis parish.


To look at this new film, you would believe that Dunstablians have every intention of swallowing up the rest of the town of Houghton Regis, for the commentator doesn't even mention Houghton Regis, even though many shots supporting the regeneration of "Dunstable" are actually taken in Houghton Regis.

0:32 Woodside Link was mentioned. That'll be in Houghton Regis and Chalton parish's.
1:15 Whitbread's flashed up there. That's in Houghton Regis.
1:33 The viewpoint from "Dunstable Downs" is actually in the Eaton Bray ward.
1:49 Bus is labelled "Parkside via Dunstable", but the commentator just calls it "Luton & Dunstable Guided Busway". Parkside is in Houghton Regis. Thank goodness for the lady in green at 5:31 mentioning her journeys from Houghton Regis.
2:02 Did you spot the gentleman climbing over the railings in the middle of the road? Surely an overlooked blemish? Safety doesn't come first, then?
2:24 Oh yes, The bypass. Not in Dunstable. That'll be in Houghton Regis Parish.
3:59 Vince Cable mentioned, for opening the Incuba Centre. Nice place, eco-friendly, excellent for hot-desking, business meetings, training etc.
6:18 Lorry emerges from Thorn Turn, Houghton Regis, and heads towards Dunstable.
6:22 There'll be "no lorries in the [Dunstable] High Street" says Cllr Young. Really? Should be careful what you say, councillor!
8:46 HQ Sports Bar. Tell us why you're wasting ecological resources with all those tv's on constantly, Don't people go out to get away from the tv?
9:38 I don't want to take anything away from the multi-million pound regeneration of Dunstable Leisure Centre, but with the new developments in Houghton Regis, original outlines included a NEW leisure centre facility for Houghton Regis, which now appear to be being reduced to refurbished continuation of the old. Watching that one.
10:47 - those new homes are in Houghton Regis. Built as an "affordable" homes estate, it will be one of the few in Houghton Regis, as only 10% of the new 5150 homes for the "Houghton Regis North 1" development are expected to be "affordable", partly because the developers are contributing £45m to the Dunstable Northern Bypass, which of course, will be built in Houghton Regis.

So, to sum up, good to see a promo video for the AREA, but a bit rude of the commentator not to mention Houghton Regis.
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