Friday, 26 June 2015

Burial Ground at Thorn

I took the opportunity of an annual Baptist service to take another look at the Thorn burial ground yesterday. The scene above is after the short service at which David Skinner projected his thoughts on the coming new community around Bidwell and Thorn. On the lands around here will soon be the start of construction of some 2,000 new homes, and a new community looking to find itself and resolve its problems as they arise.

This small burial plot of land was once an orchard belonging to John Bunker, and on 1st April 1749 it was sold for 10 shillings to a group of local people to form a Baptist Chapel and burial ground, to make them independent of the Kensworth Baptists. People used to walk from local villages to get here. It wasn't until 16 April 1790 that a new Baptist Chapel was opened up in Houghton Regis village centre, converted from two cottages in the High Street, as Thorn was too far to travel especially in cold weather.*

I suppose I was looking forward to  sharing an experience of tranquillity, and to an extent it was quiet, but all the while I was struck by the volume of noise from motor transport of vehicles coming along the A5 some 500m away. Right behind this little heavenly plot a brand new link road has just started construction - that will heighten the noise not only for those in prayer, but for those who will soon have new homes in the area. Between the burial ground and the A5 will be construction of buildings to provide some employment. To the east, between Thorn Farm and Oakwell Park will be a housing estate.

I suppose, we will just have to go further afield to find that tranquillity.

*Historical notes taken from my timeline of Houghton Regis.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Thursday, 18 June 2015

I Don't Call This "Looking After The Brook"

Another of my random checks. They told me they were checking the brook daily. I don't think so. And the wheelie bin (or another one) are now further down the stream. Houghton Brook on the path of the Woodside Link.

Previously: Houghton Brook - Being Blocked Up By Debris As Woodside Link is Constructed

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Old Co-Op Site Is Unsafe!

Insecure site. I'm concerned about potential of children playing here, and arson!
Have written to the ward CBC councillors to ask what they're doing about it!

Update 1/7/2015:

Site has been secured more.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Those Rules and Regulations, Tucked Away, But Who Knows What They Are?

There was something kicking off on BBC Three Counties radio today about a dog owner being threatened with a £50 fine for allowing her dog to wander a Bedford Council cemetery without a lead on. I was pleased to know that the Houghton Regis Town Council (HRTCregulations state that dogs must be on a lead.

However, the hullabaloo in this instant at Bedford was the lack of SIGNS saying that dogs had to be on a lead. See discussion at

Now might be a good time for HRTC to see that signage properly reflects what the regulations state.

I'm not sure if all the Village Green regulations are clearly stated on signboards, for example.

Link: Houghton Regis Town Council Rules and Regulations

Link: Houghton Regis Village Green Bye Laws

Monday, 8 June 2015

Just Call Me Curious, But Are These CBC Councillors Really Independents?

The following "Conservative" Central Bedfordshire Councillors have not declared any sponsorship by a political party in the register of interests:

Mrs Angela Barker, Chairman of Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (**)
Lewis Birt (*) (**)
Anthony Brown, Deputy Executive Member for Community Services(**)
Norman Costin(**)
Paul Downing(**)
Paul Alan Duckett (*)(**)
Charles C Gomm (*)(**)
Maurice R Jones, deputy leader of CBC(**)
Roy W Johnstone 
John McVicar, (*)(**)  Chairman of Sustainable Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Tom Nicols, (*)(**) Chairman of Licensing Committee
Gordon Perham (*)(**)
John A G Saunders
Peter Smith(**)
Tracey Stock(**)
Mark Versallion, (*)(**) Executive Member for Education and skills 
Ben Walker (no Register of Interests shown)
Budge Wells, (*) (**) Deputy Executive Member for Community Services 

The declared interests include the words, "You must complete this box if you received financial assistance from a political party with your election expenses".  Of course, election expenses, can be paid for by the individual themselves, which would be a plausible explanation. As I stood as an Independent, I certainly paid my own. Perhaps these people UNSPONSORED by the Conservative Party should be approached to join the Independent Group?

Save the Tax-Payers Some Travel Expenses!

We have two CBC councillors living in Houghton Regis who represent other non-Houghton Regis parts of Central Bedfordshire:
Cllr Nigel Warren [Dunstable Northfields] lives at 41 Lowry Drive, Houghton Regis 
Cllr John Chatterley [Dunstable Icknield] at 36 Roslyn Way, Houghton Regis 

Together with our 3 resident Houghton Regis Councillors who actually do represent Houghton Regis, maybe the 5 of them will share cars or hire a mini-bus, and save the public some travel expenses to  the Council offices, as well as critical parking spaces at Chicksands? Can but hope, but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

* UPDATE 22/6/2015 8:00AM

All those Councillors marked (*) no longer have a link on their web site record to the Register of Interests. 

** UPDATE 23/7/2015 10:45AM
All those Councillors marked (**) now declare Conservative Party assisted them in the Register of Interests; Tom Nicols, apparently under some protest, "I am required to pay a contribution to the local Conservative Party which is significantly in excess of any payment to me."

Who's Who at Central Bedfordshire Council

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The New HRTC Council - How Will They Manage Our Money?

HRTC start off with "a general reserve balance equating to an average of approximately 8-9 months of expenditure." - 

Well that's quite a legacy to leave the incoming council. Of course, the Town has many challenges ahead, and these funds will be needed to provide new community resources once building works start coming in. Immediately they'll need to start some activity towards a new cemetery, and that money carefully piled up could soon be swallowed up wholesale. The task will be to make sure those new community facilities benefit EVERYONE, not just the incoming people in the to-be redeveloped areas.

I did request that HRTC asks CBC for the money it is withholding from town and parish council's across it's area. ( See Houghton Regis Town Council Robbed : Missing Council Funding ). But they seem to decline to do that. Why not? No harm in asking. But I do like the end remark -

"it might be more appropriate to remind CBC of this situation as and when they ask town and parish councils for funding contributions to various projects."

I Fixed My Street

To fix your street go to

Notes and Links on Community Rights

Community Right To Build Order - If a neighbourhood needs decent affordable housing or other types of community buildings, there is now a straightforward way to achieve it without having to seek permission from your local planning authority. Read more ...

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Off-Road Bikes Houghton Regis

Probably the most irritating annoyance on the estate at the moment, here in Houghton Regis, is the noise of off road bikes on our public footpaths. The police say they are understaffed and cannot always give this their priority.

Well, here in my part of town, is a regular route used by the bikers, often not wearing helmets, potentially without insurance, and on our footpaths, and often more than one unhelmeted rider on each bike.

The yellow footpath route is used by them several times a day. Residents are not protected from possible accidents, we have ineffective barriers, and a lack of proper policing. I think it's the noise of the bikes that is a nuisance, if an accident happens it's more likely to be the biker coming to grief, but equally they could injure a pedestrian or other road (or footpath) user.

In the past week it has come to light that there is a recommendation from Amey about, seeking to not renew chain link fencing along Sundon Road (top right hand corner of picture below). If gaps onto Sundon Road are allowed to proliferate it will be harder to stop off-road biking, as well as reducing safety for pedestrians crossing the road.

The barrier near Sundon Rd has a bike-track around it:

Houghton Hoodrats are back out again on bikes. If you're going to protest that you only do it because you have nowhere...

Posted by Spotted : Houghton Regis on Monday, 1 June 2015