Drivers in Bedfordshire are being encouraged to save money by sharing their journeys rather than driving alone.
To mark liftshare Week (1-5 October), Central Bedfordshire Council is running a campaign to make the area’s residents aware of its free-to-use Liftshare scheme, which typically saves commuters about £1,000 a year.
The 672 people currently signed up to the scheme have saved an amazing £766,006 in the last 12 months, as well as saving nearly 900 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. In a total of 2,723,673 miles reduced in trips, the most impressive impact has been on commuter journeys, with 913,158 miles of traffic taken off the roads and commuters saving a combined £256,817 in the last twelve months.
Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities (Strategic Planning and Economic Development)at Central Bedfordshire Council said: "Everyone is on a tighter budget these days, and every penny helps. But car-sharing can save you more than pennies; many people who share lifts are saving many hundreds of pounds a year!"
"By finding others going your way through Central Bedfordshire and Luton you could at least halve your journey’s fuel costs - as well as reducing stress levels and cutting your carbon footprint."
Central Beds and Luton Liftshare provides a journey matching service for all those who live, work and travel in and around Bedfordshire as well as for longer journeys to London or other locations outside the county.
People can register and search for free to find out if anyone is already taking the same journey. Those who sign up get matched with potential partners as a driver or passenger. Once matched, they can choose to car share as little or often as they like, with whomever they like!
Cllr Young added: "We have nearly 700 people who signed up to our Central Beds and Luton Liftshare scheme in its first year and we’d love more to sign up in Liftshare Week. Just think of how much money you could save!"
The scheme drastically reduces costs of fuel and parking, as well cutting congestion and pollution. To join Central Beds and Luton Liftshare for free, just go to www.centralbedsandluton.liftshare.com
Central Bedfordshire Council is asking parents and carers to start thinking about school places for 2013.
If your child is starting school for the first time, moving onto middle, upper, secondary or secondary school, or you wish to apply for a place at the Central Bedfordshire University Technical College, you will need to make your application soon. The application process is open now and the deadline for applications to be returned to us is as follows:
- Transfer to University Technical College in 2013, for children currently in Year 9 is 31 October;
- Transfer to Upper School in 2013, for children currently in Year 8 in a Middle school is 31 October;
- Transfer to Secondary School in 2013, for children currently in Year 6 in a Primary School is 31 October;
- Transfer to Middle School in 2013, for children currently in Year 4 in a Lower School is 15 January 2013;
- For those children born between 01/09/08 and 31/08/09, who will be starting school for the first time in 2013, the ‘Starting School Application’ needs to be in by 15 January 2013.
Applying for your child’s school place is really simple and quick. You can apply online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/admissions or alternatively complete a paper application form which is available to download from our website, from your local school or by contacting us on 0300 300 8037 or email@example.com
If you live outside of Central Bedfordshire, you will need to apply through your home Local Authority's School Admissions team, and they will work with us to process your application.
Central Bedfordshire Council, in partnership with Aragon Housing, the Older People’s Reference Group (OPRG) and Aragon’s Resident Group (ROAR) will be holding a Festival for Older People to celebrate the contribution older people make to society on Friday 5 October at Flitwick Village Hall.
The event is free to all and will be opened at 10am by TV and film celebrity Robert Daws, star of numerous hit TV series, including The Grand, Coronation Street and Roger Roger.
Information and advice will be on offer from many organisations providing services to older people in the local community. The Council will be represented by key services from the Safeguarding Team, Carers Team, Trading Standards and the Community Physical Activities Team. Other organisations joining us will be the NHS and Aragon Housing as well as many other voluntary exhibitors representing educational, leisure, financial, community safety and information services, all working together to engage the older community and promote their well-being.
There will also be plenty of entertainment including a magician, belly dancing, line dancing and craft displays. Refreshments will also be provided free of charge.
Councillor Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Social Care, Health and Housing at Central Bedfordshire Council said:
“This is a great chance to celebrate older people and the contribution they make to their communities across Central Bedfordshire.
“We are really pleased to be supporting this worthwhile event, which will give older people the chance to find out a more about how they can benefit from local services.”
The event starts at 10am and finishes at 2.30pm. It is being held at Flitwick Village Hall, Dunstable Road, Flitwick, Bedfordshire, MK45 1HP.
People wishing to find out more information can contact Diana Blackmun on 0300 300 6647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Councils are teaming up once again to hold a third Bedfordshire Readers’ Day.
Following on from the success of previous years, an exciting and varied programme of speakers has been lined-up for the event on Saturday 13 October at Flitwick Village Hall. Places are filling up fast so make sure you reserve your place soon. The authors attending include;
• Judy Astley as Key Note Speaker
• Rory Clements
• Martin Davies
• Christina Hopkinson
• Erin Kelly
• Ali Knight
To reserve your place, make sure you complete a booking form available from www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/libraries or call in to your local library. Booking is open until Saturday, 29 September and tickets cost £8.00 per person (this includes refreshment and a buffet lunch).
The day provides a great opportunity to listen to the authors, ask questions, buy signed copies of their books and meet members of book groups across the county. There will also be two ‘Meet the Author’ sessions, where attendees will have the opportunity to talk with the authors in smaller groups.
Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member of Sustainable Communities at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Now in its third year, this event continues to go from strength to strength. It’s a great day for everyone passionate about reading and gives people who might not usually read the chance to speak to authors, meet keen readers and be enthused to pick up a book.”
“We are of course grateful for the help and support of publishers, Hodder & Stoughton and Transworld in organising the day.”
Local businesses can now access free health and safety advice delivered directly to their doors after a scheme by Estates Excellence was launched on Friday (21 September).
The Estates Excellence scheme is a partnership of large businesses, insurers, fire, police and health services and regulators providing free health and safety advice and training on topics tailored to their needs on their doorstep.
Dunstable Town Mayor Cllr Patricia Staples and Deputy Mayor Cllr John Chatterley, along with Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Deputy Exective member for Sustainable Communities (Services) at Central Bedfordshire Council were among representatives from local and national businesses and other organisations at the launch of the Estates Excellence initiative at Woodside and Townsend Industrial Estates, Dunstable.
In these hard times, the question for local businesses is not whether you can afford to manage your health and safety risks, but whether you can you afford not to. When someone suffers a fairly minor injury at work it is likely to cost their employer over £2,000 and if the injury is more severe, such as a broken arm or leg, this figure can rise to £25,000 – a sum that would put many small firms out of business. With figures showing that injury and work related illnesses in Central Bedfordshire cost the local economy around £41 million every year, businesses need to identify and manage their risks effectively.
Business viability depends on keeping trained staff, reducing absence, performing efficiently and most importantly, saving money. The Estates Excellence team will help smaller businesses in Dunstable to identify improvements and then give them free training to help them make changes. Training sessions are short and provided at the Woodside estate, minimising travel. Members of the team will also be available for one-to-one meetings to discuss specific questions.
There is also free access to occupational health testing for those who work where it is very noisy or with substances that can result in conditions such as dermatitis or asthma. Bedfordshire NHS Trust will advise people on simple changes that can improve their general health and wellbeing.
Mick Adams from Monarch Aircraft Engineering said: “We are delighted to be part of this important project. The great thing about this approach is that businesses and other organisations are coming together to help each other. We have the buy-in of local and national companies such as Meggitt Control Systems, Cinram and Veolia alongside Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Bedfordshire Police, Central Bedfordshire Council, the Health and Safety Executive and the Bedfordshire NHS Trust.”
The project will focus on businesses on Woodside and Townsend estates, but all local businesses are invited to be part of Estates Excellence and benefit from the free advice and training. If you want to know more about Estates Excellence or to sign up to be part of this worthwhile initiative, please call the team on 07584 385 324.
The hard work and determination of children and staff in Central Bedfordshire’s middle and primary schools has been rewarded with the area’s best ever results at Key Stage 2 - the national tests taken by year six pupils.
Overall the number of children achieving at least level four in maths and English has increased by a massive ten per cent. The numbers getting level five or above are equally impressive, with increases of ten per cent in maths and 14 per cent in English.
Around 94 per cent of schools in Central Bedfordshire saw improvements, with over 50 per cent seeing increases of at least ten per cent on the number of pupils achieving level four or better in maths and English.
Executive Member for Children’s Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, Cllr Mark Versallion, said:
“These are excellent results. I’m delighted with the progress that has been made by our middle and primary schools over the past year. The results are testimony to the hard work of our children, their teachers and parents. I am extremely proud of and happy for everyone involved.
“We want the best for all our children, and these results are just what we needed as we strive to raise educational attainment in Central Bedfordshire. I know the hard work will continue as we maintain this positive momentum moving forwards to even better results again next year.”
The council is seeking local people's views about what the new Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan for Central Bedfordshire should contain.
The Plan will set out how Central Bedfordshire Council will meet the accommodation needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community up to 2031. This will include new policies outlining how planning applications for Gypsy and Traveller pitches will be assessed as well as new sites. More specific proposals detailing how the council will propose to meet identified needs will be put to residents and the wider community in a full public consultation on the draft plan in May 2013.
Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities Strategic Planning said: "We are at an early stage in producing this document and are initially seeking views on the suggested outline content. We know that this Plan will be of interest to both the settled and gypsy and traveller communities and are committed to having a full and transparent consultation with everyone concerned and giving people greater input from the outset."
The proposed structure for the Gypsy and Traveller Plan can be viewed and downloaded from the council's website under the 'planning news and consultation' section. Everyone is invited to comment using our online planning consultation system or by downloading a copy of the form to print. Paper copies are also available at council offices, customer service centres and libraries.
All comments must be returned to the Council by 5pm on Monday 29 October 2012.
A Clifton man has been given a three month curfew after being found guilty of falsely claiming benefits.
Peter Wilding, 59, of Bilberry Road, pleaded guilty to submitting a benefit claim to Central Bedfordshire Council in which he failed to disclose that he receives an occupational monthly pension and had previously received a lump sum of over £16,000. He also pleaded guilty to knowingly failing to declare an increase in his income between October 2007 and January 2009. Withholding this information meant that he received Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit he was not entitled to.
Mr Wilding will have to repay the £8,346 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit he received unlawfully.
And in an unrelated case, a Houghton Regis woman has been sentenced to six months in prison after being found guilty of falsely claiming benefits.
Christina Wincheser, 54, of Drury Lane pleaded guilty to knowingly failing to report to Central Bedfordshire Council and the Department for Work and Pensions that she had started work in April 2003.
Starting work affected her entitlement to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from the council, and she also received overpayments of £35,400.32 from the Department for Work and Pensions.
Mrs Winchester will also have to repay the £18,771.54 Housing Benefit and £4,506.60 Council Tax Benefit she received unlawfully, as well as full repayments to the Department for Work and Pensions.
Cllr Richard Wenham, Deputy Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: “Benefits cheats take money away from those people who really need it. These investigations clearly show that we will not tolerate abuse of the benefits system and will take appropriate action against those who do try to make a fraudulent claim.
"While we take a hard line against anyone who falsely claims benefits, help is always available for people who are genuinely entitled to receive financial aid.
“Our confidential fraud hotline - 0300 3005557 is open 24 hours a day, for anyone who suspects someone might be claiming benefits fraudulently.
“Any residents who want information about paying their Council Tax or to find out whether they are eligible for Council Tax or Housing Benefit can call our Money and Benefits Helpline on 0300 3008306.”
Biggleswade library is next in line in a series of refurbishments planned by Central Bedfordshire Council as part of its 15 year scheme to modernise libraries.
The library will be closed between 24 September and 6 October to upgrade the building layout, install new self-service technology and introduce a read and relax area.
The self service desks allow customers to scan in books and other items that they want to borrow, return or renew meaning library staff will be able to spend more of their time helping customers. The library will reopen on Monday, 8 October.
Feedback from residents was gathered as part of the council's Libraries for the Future consultation and has been reflected in plans to develop the service and individual libraries.
During the refurbishment, items will have been issued for a longer period than usual so that members will not be charged fines while the library is closed.
In the next two years the council is investing £850,000 to improve the service. This will include updating buildings and installing new self-service technology, developing the online library and piloting library access points in rural communities.
Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member Sustainable Communities, Services said: "Feedback from residents last year proved just how much people value their local libraries as a focal point for learning, information and culture in our communities.
"Because of that, we have decided that no library should close and we should make the service more available, extending its reach into local communities.
"Biggleswade is a really popular library and the improvements there will help make the service more efficient, will free up library staff to spend more time helping customers and demonstrates our commitment to investing in our libraries for the future."
While the library is closed, members will be able to access the Virtual Library to renew their books and make requests at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/librariesforthefuture
Members can also use their nearest library in Sandy, but can borrow items from any Central Bedfordshire Library and return items to any Central Bedfordshire Library with their library card.
A new Travel Choices project that aims to raise public awareness about the variety of travel options open to them and get them to rethink the journeys they normally make by car has been launched by Central Bedfordshire Council.
Travel Choices is a three year, £4.9m project funded by the UK Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund and will focus on the Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard areas.
The project aims to make people think more about their journeys and whether that trip to the corner shop by car is always necessary. With information about cycling, walking and buses, residents and businesses could benefit from the project by saving money on petrol, making more time-efficient journey choices, and improving their long-term health at the same time.
Welcoming the project, Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities, Strategic Planning and Economic Development said. “This project fits in with our bigger vision to boost economic activity and growth in Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard.
“Along with other schemes that are under development such as the Busway, the A5-M1 link and the Woodside connection, the money from this fund will play a key part in tackling congestion and regenerating Dunstable and Houghton Regis.
“By reducing congestion and offering better options for travel, we will improve access to jobs and education.”
At the launch, delegates including businesses and transport providers, were introduced to the Personal Journey Planners who are visiting 8000 households in Leighton Buzzard over the next few months, offering information on the travel options in their area.
The travel advisors will be equipped with all the information required to help put together individual travel plans that suit people’s needs and make them aware of the different travel options available. Local businesses and community groups will also be contacted, to see how they can benefit, and hopefully improve their services.
Following the launch, Council Chairman, Cllr Angela Barker said: “If we’re all honest, taking the car isn’t always necessary. If it isn’t that far, why not walk? It’s free, easy and you can see more of our lovely area. “
Plans to improve transport in Central Bedfordshire are being put to residents as part of a consultation, with the feedback influencing the spending of over £1.8 million of funding by 2015.
The Local Area Transport Plans highlight the priority issues to be tackled in each area based on information from a range of sources including census data, householder travel surveys, future growth predictions, town plans, previous studies and feedback from working groups.
Feedback from the consultation, which asks people to highlight the biggest transport issues in their area and say what they’d like to see done about them will help to decide which improvements will be funded over a four year period.
Plans have been published for:
Arlesey and Stotfold (including Astwick, Clifton, Henlow, Langford and Stondon)
Biggleswade and Sandy (including Blunham)
Potton, and the surrounding area
Haynes and Old Warden.
Chiltern, and the surrounding area
Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member of Sustainable Communities, Services, at Central Bedfordshire Council said: "People rely on effective transport every day to make essential journeys such as going to work, school or the doctors so it’s important that we get it right.
"This is a huge opportunity for residents to shape future transport arrangements for their area and their comments will be taken on board for the final plans."
You can view the plans and comment through the online form and clicking on the ‘Get Involved’ tab. The consultation runs until Friday 23 November.
A Houghton Regis woman has been sentenced to four weeks in prison (suspended for six months) and given a two month curfew after being found guilty of falsely claiming benefits.
Sharron Poynter, 45, of Kensington Close pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to notify Central Bedfordshire Council that she got married in 2009. This change affected her entitlement to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and she subsequently received money she was not entitled to. She also admitted allowing a joint benefit claim form to be submitted to the council, even though she knew the information contained in it, namely that her husband Mr Lee Poynter was not working when in fact he was employed, was false.
Mrs Poynter will also have to repay the £3,757 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit she received unlawfully as well as pay costs of £250.
Cllr Maurice Jones, Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said:
“Benefits cheats take money away from those people who really need it. This investigation clearly shows that we will not tolerate abuse of the benefits system and will take appropriate action against those who do try to make a fraudulent claim.
"While we take a hard line against anyone who falsely claims benefits, help is always available for people who are genuinely entitled to receive financial aid."
“Our confidential fraud hotline - 0300 3005557 is open 24 hours a day, for anyone who suspects someone might be claiming benefits fraudulently.
“Any residents who want information about paying their Council Tax or to find out whether they are eligible for Council Tax or Housing Benefit can call our Money and Benefits Helpline on 0300 3008306.”
Central Bedfordshire Council has raised a number of key priorities in response to the Department for Transport's request for stakeholder views on proposals to combine the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise.
The consultation focuses on the specification for the combined franchise which is due to start in September 2013 and run for a minimum of seven years. This franchise will run rail services through Central Bedfordshire and will impact on the residents and businesses in the area.
Priorities that the council would like the new combined franchise to deliver include:
Supporting the council's economic growth ambitions including the emerging priority to redevelop Flitwick Town Centre, and improve the station forecourt as part of the Biggleswade Town Centre regeneration.
Investment in station facilities to provide better interchanges between bus and rail at all Central Bedfordshire stations, and retention of ticket office staffing hours. Of particular priority are disabled access improvements at stations, such as lifts at Flitwick and Biggleswade stations, and helping to deliver the new station planned at The Wixams.
Improving the rail services by providing a punctual, reliable, frequent, and affordable rail service that is attractive for people to use, and manages disruption well. This includes trains from Central Bedfordshire serving more destinations after 2018, but also enhancing existing services, like more fast trains to London from places such as Flitwick and Biggleswade.
Managing impacts of rail stations by easing issues with on-street parking around stations by reviewing parking charges and increasing the number of parking spaces at stations. The council is keen to work in partnership with the operator to encourage more walking, cycling, and bus travel to local stations.
Cllr James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "Train services are vitally important to Central Bedfordshire residents and we want to get the best possible outcomes for our residents. We have submitted the key priorities for those living and working in Central Bedfordshire and trust that the Government will consider them carefully as part of its consultation. We have focused on the improvements and investments that will directly impact those using the service.
"We at Central Bedfordshire Council are really keen to work in partnership with the successful franchise bidder to make sure the best possible service is available for our residents and businesses."
The franchise will be responsible for delivering rail services across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Greater London, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk, Surrey and Sussex. These include the Thameslink service to Harlington, Flitwick and the new Wixams, the Great Northern service to Arlesey, Biggleswade and Sandy, and the Southern service to Leighton Buzzard.
Biggleswade Library will offer an insight into crime writing as it hosts an evening with retired murder squad detective, Trevor Marriott, who has written a book on Jack the Ripper.
The event on Wednesday 12 September at 7pm has been arranged with help from the Crime Writers’ Association.
Trevor will be discussing the new evidence he uncovered whilst writing his book, Jack the Ripper: The 21st Century Investigation, and will share his experience as a crime writer.
Trevor has re-investigated the Jack the Ripper case using 21st century techniques and uncovered new facts and evidence. His book explores this evidence and examines new leads in one of the great unsolved murder cases.
There will also be an opportunity to purchase signed copies of this book on the night. Tickets are free and refreshments will be available. To reserve your place, contact Biggleswade Library on 0300 300 8055.
This will be one of the last events at Biggleswade Library before it closes from Monday 24 September until Saturday 6 October to undergo refurbishment. There will be a self-service area installed, improved decoration and layout of the building and a new read and relax area. This is part of an £850,000 capital investment to modernise and transform libraries across Central Bedfordshire.
The investment was the result of a review of the library service in 2011 and the resultant library strategy.
Did you know the average family of four throws away £680 worth of uneaten food every year? Since the introduction of weekly food waste collections, Central Bedfordshire Council has been making good use of any food waste, collected in brown food caddies, and helping the environment too.
Using an anaerobic digester, basically a giant composter, food waste from the weekly collection has, to date, produced enough renewable energy to power more than a thousand homes for a year and prevented more than 13,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere. However with 60% of UK household food waste still ending up in landfill, residents can save money by making the most of their food.
Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities Services at Central Bedfordshire Council said:
"Our residents are already doing a fantastic job in helping us keep food waste out of landfill but we can all still do more. There are many ways we can make our food go further – planning meals well, getting our portions right and being creative with leftovers. For any food that has to be thrown away, we encourage residents to use the brown caddies in the north of the area to separate all food waste from the normal refuse.
"Residents reducing the amount of food they throw away can save themselves money."
Over the coming weeks the Council’s Waste Minimisation Officers will be out and about promoting the benefits of the weekly food waste collection service and addressing some of the concerns of using the caddy such as avoiding food smells, using either corn starch bags or newspaper to wrap the food waste and securing the caddy properly to avoid attracting vermin. They will also be offering some practical ideas on making food go further.
If you’re new to the area or just need a reminder about the scheme, here’s what leftover food you can put in your brown food waste caddy:
- Fruit and vegetables;
- Bread and pastries
- Dairy products;
- Meat and fish;
- Eggs including shells;
- Teabags and coffee grounds.
But please remember not to put in: large bones, liquids such as cooking oil, fruit juice or soup; any packaging, plastic bags or wrapping. If you prefer not to use compostable bags you can line your caddy with newspaper which will save even more waste and save money.
If you would like any further information on the food waste scheme or any other kerbside recycling scheme please contact the Waste Minimisation Team on 0300 300 8302 or visit the recycling pages on the website. For more hints and tips on how to reduce food waste visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com.
Central Bedfordshire Council is asking the public for its views on the current provision of short breaks for disabled children. The council knows short breaks are really important for disabled children and young people and their families and wants to ensure that the short breaks service is meeting their needs.
Short breaks give disabled children and young people the chance to have some time out from their day-to-day routines and responsibilities. They also give disabled children and young people the chance to do things many of the activities that many children take for granted. They help them have fun, try new activities, gain independence and make new friends.
There are lots of different kinds of short break services and they can be provided by short break foster carers, volunteers and paid workers. Short breaks can be day, evening, overnight or weekend activities and can take place in the child's home, the home of an approved carer, a residential or community setting. They can last from a few hours to a few weeks – the length and type of break is tailored to meet the needs of each individual child or young person and their family.
Executive Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Mark Versallion, said:
"Our aim is ensure that we provide all families who have disabled children, with quality short breaks, which support them to have an ordinary life.
"We want to hear from as many families as possible to help us make sure that our services are meeting the needs of disabled children and young people and their families."
You can have your say on the consultation be completing the online questionnaire or by completing a paper copy at your local library or council office. The consultation runs until 26 November.
Houghton Regis Lower School is canvassing the views of parents and others on proposals to extend the age range of its pupils, catering for 3 to 11 year-olds, in a bid to improve education standards and to align its age range with a number of other schools in Houghton Regis who are changing the existing three tier pattern of lower, middle and upper schools in the area to a two tier primary, secondary model.
This initial consultation invites comments on the proposals from parents, staff, and the local community. Central Bedfordshire Council is advising the school on the consultation process to make sure they are following legal requirements and their proposals are in line with Government and Council guidance.
Executive Member for Children's Services, Cllr Mark Versallion said:
"Above all we want to raise standards and results for all our pupils. We will consider any proposals by schools that will meet these aims as long as they can show that this is what parents want, that the new arrangements will meet the needs of all pupils including those with special educational needs and the changes can be achieved within existing resources."
A public meeting will take place at 6pm at the school on Friday 14 September to give parents and others the chance to find out more and ask questions.
This consultation will end on Monday 8 October when the Council's Director of Children's Services, Edwina Grant, in consultation with Councillor Versallion, will consider the results and decide whether to progress the proposals to a final stage of statutory consultation.
If the proposal is approved to proceed to this final stage of consultation , parents , carers and other interested parties would have a further opportunity to put forward their views as part of a formal six-week statutory consultation period.
As Executive Member for Children's Services, Cllr Versallion will consider all representations alongside the school's detailed business plan in arriving at his decision to approve, or to reject the proposal. This decision will be made in a public meeting in December so that headteacher, governors, parents and all other interested parties are fully aware of the factors that are considered as part of the process. The proposed changes could be implemented from September 2013.
Central Bedfordshire Safety Advisory Group is looking ahead to November and giving early advice and support to those planning a public firework event.
The Safety Advisory Group (SAG) brings together public protection services from Central Bedfordshire Council and the emergency services to make sure that organisers of big public events put in place effective safety plans and arrangements. The Group is offering the advice at a time when local groups start their initial plans and discussions about hosting a public firework event.
Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities (Services) at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "We want everyone – organisers and the public alike – to be able to really enjoy firework displays in Central Bedfordshire.
"There is a lot of careful planning and organisation involved in setting up a public display and a lot of essential guidance to follow on public safety and safe storage of fireworks or explosive substances.
"If you are in the planning stages of a display please get in touch with us as soon as possible. We will work with you to make sure that everything runs smoothly and you have a safe and successful event."
More information can be found on the council’s website. Questions can be emailed to SAG@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.
More than 30 residents came along to Bedfordshire Community Safety Partnership’s first ‘Choices’ event in Dunstable on Friday (31 August).
Held on Mayfield Road in Dunstable’s Downside area, it was the first in a series of events designed to get people involved in their community and tell them about available services that they may not be aware of.
The events include information and activities offered by services from Central Bedfordshire Council, Dunstable Town Council and other partners in the Community Safety Partnership, such as the Police, Fire Service and local groups for young people.
Non-alcoholic cocktails and goodie bags were snapped up and local children also enjoyed activities such as games, badge making with the Fire Service and model making with the council’s Waste Minimisation team.
Residents were able to get advice on a range of topics, including:
Careers and employment
Sexual health and healthy relationships
Personal safety and keeping your property safe (from the Police)
The effects of drugs and alcohol
How to stop smoking
How to avoid loan sharks
Further events will be held on Morcom Road on Thursday, 6 September and Southwood Road on Friday, 14 September. All events run between 1 and 4pm.
Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities (Services) at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "The first of these events in Dunstable was a real success and it was great to see so many local families coming along to discuss any local issues with the council and partners in the Community Safety Partnership.
"If you couldn’t make it this time, or there was someone you didn’t get the chance to speak to, make sure you come along to the next events on 6 and 14 September."
Young drivers from across Central Bedfordshire and Luton will have the opportunity to take courses to improve their driving knowledge and skills as part of an initiative designed to reduce road casualties.
Taking place in September, MORE 16 and MORE Drive offer real-life experiences to help young drivers stay safer on the road. The courses are funded by Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council, with delivery organised by Amey.
MORE 16 is aimed at 16 year-olds to provide their first experience of driving. Parents are encouraged to participate to receive advice on choosing a driving instructor and how to help their teens when practising. A high-speed passenger ride with a Millbrook pro-driver with competition history in motorsport such as rallying or racing is available to all parents that attend.
MORE Drive offers 17 to 24 year olds, who have already passed their driving test, the chance to drive on a skid pan and experience ABS braking systems, as well as practising emergency stops at speed to demonstrate varying stopping distances.
Five workshops, covering driving skills, maintenance, first-on-scene first aid, distractions and safety, will be run by the local authorities, Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Three Shires Driving School.
Damion Naidoo, who attended the MORE 16 course earlier this year, said: "Before taking part in MORE 16, I thought that driving fast and doing handbrake turns were cool. Now I’ve been on the course, I’m looking forward to driving lessons to learn how to drive in a safe and legal way.
"The course showed me that driving fast can cause fatal collisions and can have a negative effect on people’s lives. I’m really glad I attended the course, I feel I’ve learnt a lot and would encourage all 16 year olds to go on the course to see there are much better ways to look cool, rather than drive like an idiot!"
Damion was one of more than 250 young people from across Central Bedfordshire who took part in the MORE 16 and MORE Drive courses during the past 18 months.
Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities, Services at Central Bedfordshire Council said: "Young drivers are one of our key priorities. In Central Bedfordshire between 2009 and 2011, 32 per cent of drivers and 43 per cent of passengers killed or seriously injured were aged between 17 and 24. We are pleased that Luton Borough Council has joined us in recognising the value of these courses, and I am delighted that demand for places has been so high."
Councillor Dave Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Environment at Luton Borough Council, said: "MORE 16 and MORE Drive are a great way for our young people to learn new skills and improve their driving ability. It would be wonderful if as many of our young drivers as possible could attend."
The next course will be on Sunday 30 September at Millbrook in Bedfordshire, with 96 places available. The courses are free and are allocated on a first come, first served basis to 16 to 24 year olds living in Central Bedfordshire and Luton. For more information on either the MORE 16 or MORE Drive programmes, or to attend events in the future, email email@example.com.