Welcome to the website of the Brickhill Liberal Democrats. We hope that these pages explain the work which we are doing to help our local community, as well as providing other helpful information. If there is something further which you would like to know, just contact us direct and we will be pleased to help in any way that we can. Contact information is shown below.
Borough Councillor Report February 2014
There is a lot of investment by the Council in Brickhill at the moment. We are delighted that Brickhill Lower School has now joined Scott Lower in receiving their new classroom buildings. New trees are being planted, junction improvements and road resurfacing, verge protection is being installed and the 20mph zone is being extended. Over 80% of people were in favour of the 20mph zone extension, those who were not as keen expressed concern that it might not affect real speeds. We have set funds aside to introduce 3 vehicle activated speed signs in Tyne Crescent and the extended zone. These have been shown to be help slow traffic and we know that across the country these zones have reduced speed over time. Five people are killed every day on our roads. Imagine if that happened on trains; there would be a public outcry. We need to take action and these zones do help save lives.
We have just announced that council tax will be frozen this year for the fifth year running in Bedford. Frontline services will still be protected with no closures of things like libraries, leisure centres or children's centres. Bus services will continue to be subsidised and alongside £41m investment for schools there will be no reduction in the road budget and an extra 1m for footpath works. This comes against the backdrop of an eye watering £82m government cut, over a third, to our budget every year.
In spite of difficult economic times Bedford continues to buck the trend with considerable economic growth. The by pass is underway and the new bus station opens at the end of February. The new seven screen cinema will soon be under construction, with a public riverside square, shops, restaurants, hotel and a new pedestrian and cycling bridge. National chains like Wagamama are taking 20 year leases, showing their confidence in the future for Bedford. Around town derelict buildings are being restored like Porter Blacks, and the old Ford Garage on St Peter’s. In St Paul’s Square the refurbished buildings are almost complete, the timbers show these to have been built in the medieval period around 1460. Why not take a drive into town this weekend to see them, and enjoy free parking !
Your Council Tax Frozen Again
Despite huge cuts in government funding, Mayor Dave Hodgson’s
budget will deliver the 5th successive Council Tax Freeze from Bedford
Borough Council. The budget put forward by the Mayor was agreed with
cross party support at a recent council meeting.
Michael Headley said “We have worked very closely with Dave
Hodgson to protect frontline services and still not have to increase
council tax. In fact Bedford Borough Council Tax is now a little lower
than it was in 2010.”
Council Budget Highlights
- Replacement of temporary classrooms with permanent buildings
- £3m investment in leisure facilities and no closures
- All Children’s Centres still open
- No library closures
- Weekly bin collections retained
- Extra £1m on pavement resurfacing
- Finishing the western bypass
- Free 2 hours shoppers parking on Saturdays and free on Sundays
- Town centre car park charges frozen for 5th year
The playground equipment on the play area between Avon Drive and Calder Rise has suffered from rot to the base of the posts. This equipment has been in place for over twenty years. We are delighted to report hat that we have secured funding for the provision of new equipment. This new equipment will have metal posts which will give a longer life. There is aalso a careful design which is suitable for more children, including children with limited physical mobility (See plans here.) The work should be completed in the new three months
We are delighted that schools in Brickhill have received new permanent classrooms to replace the temporary ones which have been located in their grounds for decades. Mayor Dave Hodgson visited Scott Lower School to join in a celebration with the chidlren in which they sang a medley of songs and performed dance routines. Bedford Borough Council has invested wisely in allocating over £40 million of funds to new school buildings to make a long term investment in the future of education in the Borough. This is in stark contrast to the previous County Council which failed to invest in our schools inspite of having the second highest council tax and some of the worst services in the country.
Bedford Hospital doctorshave warned that seriously ill patients could be put at risk if the number of people turning up at A&E with minor illnesses and injuries continues.It comes as local health and social care agencies have today (Tuesday January 6, 2014) taken urgent action across Bedfordshire to tackle the unprecedented demand at Bedford Hospital.
The number of emergency admissions has increased by 25% since Christmas, with the majority being very frail elderly patients over the age of 80. This continuing surge has resulted in the hospital having very limited capacity for new admissions from A&E and has led it to having to postpone all routine surgery and a range of planned outpatient and diagnostic clinics in order to free up resources for those most in need.
Those with less serious health problems are being told they will have to wait considerably longer to be seen in A&E, as doctors and nurses focus on the most seriously ill patients, and so people are being advised to first seek alternatives such as pharmacists, the walk in centre or to speak to their GP practice.
Stuart Lloyd, Emergency Consultant, said: “A&E departments are here for people with life-threatening and emergency conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems and serious accidents.
“Patients with serious and life-threatening conditions should always receive priority care, but when people attend A&E with minor illnesses and injuries it means that our doctors and nurses cannot focus their attention on the most seriously Ill patients, potentially putting lives at risk.
“A large number of patients who attend A&E with minor injuries and illnesses could be treated elsewhere, so we are urging people to consider using other NHS services first, such as their pharmacy, local walk-in centre or GP. Doing so will help us to focus our attention on the most seriously ill patients.”
Chief Executive, Stephen Conroy, said: “Despite our recent solid A&E performance, we knew that the Christmas period was going to be incredibly challenging.
“We have been preparing for the increase in demand this winter and have worked with our health and social care partners on a range of initiatives, using government winter pressure funding, to help support the safe and effective delivery of urgent and emergency care.
“However, the increase in demand we are currently experiencing is unprecedented. We have every available bed open in the hospital to accommodate the increase but the number of patients being admitted currently outweighs the number of patients we are able to discharge. We have today reached a point in Bedford where we have needed to escalate our response with our partners.
“Doing this enables us to increase our focus on our most ill patients and step up our management of our resources to ensure that we are seeing, treating and admitting those who most need our care. We are ploughing all our efforts into making sure that we provide the best possible care to those who need it, but we also need the support of local people by not coming to A&E unless it is a real emergency.”
Crime Update 30 December 2014
The Police have advised us that there have been no burglaries since recent arrestes have taken place, please read this important update Police have asked us to encourage residents to have continued vigilance. Any information should be sent to Inspector Masters email email@example.com Please be especially vigilant and lock doors etc. Please tell us if you know of any burglaries so that we can spread the word.
We are delighted that grass verges in Brickhill which once suffered from severe damage caused by vehicles are now protected by no verge parking zones. Where necessary we are also installing tarmac or grasscrete to protect verges in vulnerable areas. Verges in Mallard Hill and Rooksmead have received extensive improvements as a result of investment in verge protection across the Borough.
Unlawful encampment Woodland Estate
An unlawful encampment was particularly unwelcome when six caravans pulled onto land off Ashmead Road at the entrance to the Woodlands Estate. Mayor Dave Hodgson met with the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police recently to discuss these encampments and we are pleased that prompt action by the Council’s Gypsy and Traveller officer led to the caravans vacating the site. Council staff have also cleared the area of any rubbish left by the travellers.
Doorstep Selling in Brickhill
There is also currently aggressive dioor step selling in Brickhill with roofing and other companies engaging in unlawaful activity. Our advise is clear - do not buy or sell from people who knock on your door. Never let them in your house.
Please display one of our stickers which tells traders to leave your property - this then makes any attempt at selling a criminal offence.
If you contact us we will be pleased to deliver one of these stickers to you
On Wednesday 22 October we were pleased to join Mayor Dave Hodgson and Anita Barker the Headteacher of Scott Lower School as Mayor Dave officially opened the new classrooms. Across the Borough new permanent classrooms are being built to replace old portable buildings and also to provide additional places for children. It was a great day to see the new ‘state of the art’ classrooms providing superb places for children to learn and the staff, governors and children are to be congratulated for the continued success of this brilliant school.
On Friday 24 October we went to see the historic sod cutting event to mark the start of work on the £18 million Northern Section of the Bedford Western Bypass. It has taken a huge effort involving compulsory purchase orders and a series of negotiations by the Mayor to unblock the logjam. Overcoming these obstacles brings to an end a 50 year wait and work will now begin on a scheme which will bring new investment and jobs to Bedford Borough, while making it easier for all road users to get around.
Closer to home we are delighted that work will soon start on upgrading and resurfacing Avon Drive shops. The car park area especially has required repair and we are delighted to have been able to allocate funds to enable this work to take place.
Not all councillors work appears quite so significant but nevertheless small things matter too. As the darker nights draw in, we are touring Brickhill looking for failed street lights, bollards and road signs. We have already reported quite a few but not nearly as many this year as we used to. Many street lights have now been replaced or upgraded to new low energy and longer life lighting. Please help us and let us know if you see any lights out, it could save a life.
We have been worried recently by the number of Brickhill residents being bothered by doorstep traders, we have reported some who have been aggressively selling things like roofing repairs. Please tell us if you have been visited as we are compiling evidence for the Borough Council Trading Standards and asking them to take action.
We are working with police to tackle the menace of moped driving over pavements around Brickhill especially in the Tyne Crescent area. The Police have agreed to act against this unlawful activity which is both dangerous and creates unacceptable noise in residential areas. We have allocated the Brickhill wireless CCTV surveillance which we purchased with our ward funds and which has already been highly successful in tackling crime in Brickhill. If you have any information on these ant-social riders, please contact Gail Mulvaney, Local Policing Community Team, Bedford Borough Tel 01234 275006 firstname.lastname@example.org
Avon Drive Shops Car Park Refurbishment
The condition of the surfacing of the car park at Avon Drive shops has been a cause for concern for some time. Proposals have been brought forward by the Mayor for a resurfacing of the car park and an upgrade of the facilities.
Dangerous parking at Junctions
Parking close to junctions can cause visibility problems and may also force vehicles into the middle of the road as they turn in or out of the junction to avoid parked cars. It is possible to have double yellow lines painted to stop parking near busy junctions like this. We want to know what you think about the suggestions we have had for restrictions, and whether you would support them. Please tell us which junctions are dangerous, the following suggestions have already been made
- Starling Way/ Linnet Way
- Curlew Crescent/Brickhill Drive
- Mallard Hill/Brickhill Drive
- Windrush/Severn Way
Bus Station Update
Bedford bus station is being rebuilt and work is well underway. This is just a part of the major regeneration of our town centre which will include a new seven screen cinema.
View the View the latest progress at Bedford Bus Station via webcam (opens in new window)
The wider scheme includes:
• The demolition and replacement of the existing bus station building with vastly improved facilities for passengers – ONGOING
• Major refurbishment of Allhallows multi-storey car park - ONGOING
• New public toilets with improved disabled and baby change facilities - NOW COMPLETED
• Construction of a new surface car park at Greyfriars - NOW COMPLETED
• New shopfronts and improved disabled access for shops –
• External improvements including new paving, seating and other features -
We look forward to meeting with you at our forthnightly surgeries, no need to book just turn up. We will be pleased to help with any matters of concern to you.
- 14 February at Brickhill Drive Shops at 10.00am
- 28 February at Avon Drive shops at 10.00am
Bedford is open for Business
The Mayor has just published the Growth Plan for Bedford and you can see a copy on our website growth plan or the summary 30 points
These are exciting times to live in Bedford with so many things now changing for the better. We have great schools, in the last year 18 out of the 19 Local Authority maintained schools inspected by Ofsted were judged to be either good or outstanding. Schools in Bedford Borough were ranked as 11th out of 150 local authorities across the country and number one in the Eastern region. Economically also our town is thriving attracting new businesses and providing new apprenticeships and jobs. We have seen the new Waitrose, the B&Q store and with Morrisons even the petrol prices have fallen! In the town centre there are now more public toilets than ever before and the Bus Station toilets will open next week after being completely rebuilt. Even the bus station will be rebuilt next year as a part of the 8 million regeneration investment. From Saturday 23 November the first two hours of parking will be free every Saturday all year round in council owned car parks. In spite of already having to make savings of over £40 million from government, we have prioritised frontline services so that things like libraries, sports centres, road repairs, grass cutting and weekly bin collections have been protected. All this has been done whilst freezing council tax! Soon we will see the results of more funding which we have attracted to Bedford with 6 million spent on the Black Cat and millions of private investment to bring a riverside town centre development on the site of the old Town Hall with new restaurants, a cinema and even a micro brewery. In these really tough times when other councils are cutting services and increasing council tax we can be proud that we live in Bedford a town which is bucking the trend and has a very bright future.
Little Park Farm - Hawk Drive Traveller &Gypsy site
Following the Conservatives calls for Little Park Farm in Hawk Drive, Brickhill to be made into a Gypsy and Traveller, we are pleased to announce that Mayor Dave Hodgson has now sold the land to prevent this from ever happening. Brickhill would never be safe in Tory hands and this is a measure to safeguard the future of our community.
Shock Announcement Over 150 New Gypsy and Traveller Pitches Proposed by Conservative Councillors
Conservative Councillors have proposed 10 new completely unnecessary Gypsy and Traveller sites across Bedford Borough, containing over 150 new pitches. Mayor Dave Hodgson has ensured that the Council is meeting its need for such sites up to 2021 and delivered the first gypsy and traveller pitches in Bedford Borough for many years. Yet Conservative Councillors have proposed a swathe of new Gypsy and Traveller sites across Bedford Borough, In the recent ‘Call for Sites’ as part of the Local Plan process, Conservative cllrs proposed 10 new completely unnecessary Gypsy and Traveller sites, containing 150 new pitches. Over 100 of these pitches were proposed within rural areas including Elstow, Wootton and Wilstead.
These proposals would see valuable public land and huge amounts of taxpayers money going to provide gypsy and traveller sites that are not needed. The sites proposed by Conservative Cllrs include:
Elstow Road in Cauldwell, near Bedford Town Centre
Manton Lane in Bedford
Near Cowbridge in Elstow
Within the ‘Northern Expansion Area’ of the Wixams
South of Fields Road in Wootton including Berry Wood, a local woodland that is over 20 years old
We delivered the first new pitches in Bedford Borough for many years at Kempston Hardwick, and the Meadow Lane site is now under construction. Every single site required under our duty to provide a five year supply of sites is either complete or under construction. In fact we have fulfilled our need for sites up to 2021 and our approach has been approved by the Planning Inspectorate. The proposals are completely ridiculous. All they would do is waste taxpayers money and public resources, and provide pitches for travellers with no need and no local connection to the Borough. Residents of Brickhill will be shocked to hear that the Conservatives have proposed new pitches in the ward, in an entirely irresponsible move that ignores the great work already done
Bedford Borough Council has taken clear action in relation to gypsy and travellers sites:
The Council is in a strong position as every single pitch required under its duty to provide a five year supply of sites is either complete or under construction
- It was the first authority in the country to deliver additional pitches under that round of Homes and Community Agency funding with 6 additional pitches at Kempston Hardwick
- These 6 additional pitches were the first to be delivered in the Borough in many years, after decades of inaction
- A gypsy and traveller site at Meadow Lane is currently under construction, creating 14 new pitches and fulfilling our need up to 2021
Read our Borough Councillor Report
This is an important opportunity for us to communicate with the parish about things which are happening in Brickhill and across the Borough. We will not produce a full report at every parish council meeting, however a couple of times each year it is important to try and give an overview of the things which we are doing to make Bedford a better place to live and visit. Of course we always dedicate ourselves to Brickhill but it is important that we also work hard to support the Mayor who works tirelessly to make ensure that our Borough achieves growth and prosperity for the benefit of all our residents.
Caught Littering in Avon Drive
Mr Andrew Broom of Grafton Road, Rushden did not appear before Magistrates but did present a guilty plea in writing in relation to a littering offence on Avon Drive, Bedford in September 2012. Taking into consideration his guilty plea, the Magistrates fined Mr Broom £75 and ordered him to pay costs of £160 and a victim surcharge of £15.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “These prosecutions are further evidence that the Council is serious about taking action against those who think it is okay to drop litter. This is a criminal act which makes our Borough untidy and costs taxpayers more than £1million every year.
“Littering is anti-social behaviour and blights the local environment for everyone. We are now prosecuting more offenders than ever before and we will maintain a zero-tolerance approach towards the minority of people who believe it is acceptable to drop litter in the borough.”
Borough Schools get top marks
Congratulations to Beachamp Middle School in June 2013 for receiving a 'Good' grade at their OFSTED
It is something of a scandal that in a week when the Borough schools have done so well in league tables measuring standards across the country, the press have been silent on the achievements. It seems that so many people have criticised our Borough schools for so long that they simply cannot bring themselves to give credit where it is due. The facts are that our primary school aged children 5-11, have come 11th out of 150 in a national league table by Ofsted. It recognises that 85% of these children will be in good or outstanding schools. Secondary children are not put into the same kind of league table but here 70% of children will be in good or outstanding schools, ahead of the national average at 69%..
So we say well done to teachers, governors, children and familes. You can read a copy of the report here yourself, the league table is on page 31.
Buses from September 2013
Brickhill is well served with buses. The following services will be operational from 1 September 2013
No 6 - Brickhill (Tyne Crescent - anticlockwise) to/from Town Centre (every 12 min during day Mon to Sat, hourly on Sun) via Rail station at peak times
First bus to town: 0553 (Mon - Fri), 0705 (Sat), 0945 (Sun)
Last from town: 2241 (Mon - Sat), 1732 (Sun)
and also from Putnoe Lane/Kimbolton Road junction
No 7 - Woodside to/from Town Centre
(every 20 min during day Mon to Sat, hourly on Sun)
No 10 - Goldington Gn/Putnoe to/from Town Centre (every 20 min during day Mon to Sat, hourly on Sun)
No 52 (One service per day - Monday to Friday)
Goldington Green to Town Centre, Marsh Leys and Cranfield via Tyne Crescent (0524) and Manton Lane (0531)
(see separate timetables for full details)
No 20/21 (6-9 services per day - Monday to Saturday)
Woodlands Park to/from Town Centre via Larkway and Kimbolton Road (3 via Manton Lane and Rail Station) (see timetable summary overleaf/back)
No 22 (One service per day - Monday to Saturday)
From Anjulita Ct to Town Centre (& Sainsburys) via Larkway & Brickhill Dr
(see timetable summary on back)
No 28 (7-11 services per day - Monday to Saturday)
From/to North East Villages along Kimbolton Road on route to/from Town Centre (only first one to via Larkway) (see timetable summary overleaf)
Full timetables are available at a number of outlets and can be seen on the Stagecoach, Grant Palmer and Bedford Borough Council websites.
Concessionary fares are valid on all services.
For Stagecoach services within the urban area it is recommended that a Dayrider is purchased for more than one journey or a 7 or 28 day Megarider for more than six journeys per week obtainable from the driver of the first bus used.
Please see this Brickhill bus timetable leaflet
Information has been compiled from published timetables by:
Peter Blakeman, 15 Dove Road, Bedford, MK41 7AA
We are working to introduce a range of measures to make Brickhill roads safer. The 20mph speed limit will soon be introduced on Tyne Crescent and in addition the 20mph signs shown opposite will be installed in Avon Drive, Waveney Avenue and Falcon Avenue. These will advise vehicles of the need to reduce speed at school times to help keep children safe. We know that reducing traffic speeds is vital to make our streets safer. If a child runs out three car lengths ahead and the driver is doing 20mph, they should just be able to stop in time. If they’re doing 30mph, they will barely have time to hit the brakes before hitting the child. We all need to slow down our speeds and this is part of achieving a long-term culture change towards creating safer road environments for all users. These zones, accompanied by new parking restrictions which will soon be implemented outside all Brickhill schools, will help keep our children safe.
Crime in Brickhill. We have purchased our own Brickhill wireless CCTV camera from our borough councillor ward funds. This is linked to the Bedford Borough Council control room and provides 24hr surveillance and recording. We deploy this in hot spots in Brickhill to nip crime in the bud and it has recently been moved to provide cover following an incidence of arson. For more information on any of these items, please visit our website www.puttingbrickhillfirst.com. If you have any concerns then please do call us direct using our contact details below, we are always pleased to help.
Pot Hole Hit Squad
The squad is dedicated to ridding Bedford of Pot Holes and they have been working across Brickhill. Read more here If you see a pithole then please call the Pot Hole Hit Squad on 01234 718003
We have received many requests to prosecute those who park vehicles on verges and pavements. As local councillors we believe that verge parking causes damage to the grass and it also damages cables in the verges, sometimes leading to costly repairs of telephone and fibre optic cables.
We have created a no verge parking zone in roads off Briockhill Drive and we are now consulting to extend this zone around roads such as Pipt Rise, Windrush and Dove Road.
Brickhill Parish Council has taken a 99 year lease on Waveney Green. This is because we all want to make sure that it stays green and is not used for further development. Call us suspicious, but when dropped kerbs are left at the end of roads leading onto green areas - we think further development is being considered. Look what happend in Westrope Way and Tyne Crescent !We have already seen the green built on in the last 15 years - we don't want any more To read more click here
Call your Liberal Democrat Councillors for help and advice
Borough Councillor Charles Royden The Vicarage, Calder Rise, Brickhill. MK41 7UY
Tel: 01234 309175 Email: email@example.com
Borough Councillor Wendy Rider 23 Orwell Close, Brickhill. MK41 7BQ Tel: 01234 303254 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Making Brickhill’s roads safer
Speeding traffic remains a problem in many parts of Brickhill. Traffic
congestion near schools is a long-running problem. We continue to work
with all the local schools, to make travel to school safer.
The new CCTV enforcement car in Dove Road with Wendy Rider,
Borough Parking Officer, Charles Royden and Mark Fitzpatrick
With Mayor Dave Hodgson, the Borough Council and the Police we have taken
enforcement action against illegal parking outside schools; we found that
the deterrent only works when the Police and parking enforcement staff are
present. A new initiative from the Liberal Democrat-led Borough Council is
the introduction of a special vehicle that will record the number plates
of cars parked illegally, which will result in fines being issued. We hope
this initiative to have a big impact, making it safer for children to get
to and from school.
Again working with Mayor Dave Hodgson, we are also tackling the backlog of
maintenance of our local roads. Where possible we are getting roads
resurfaced. If we can’t get them resurfaced we are aiming to get them
patched to a much better quality than ever before.
We hope the above notes give you some idea of the practical measures we
are taking to make Brickhill safer for all its residents.
Clapham Park Wood
We have asked for work to beging in haste to progress the nature reserve and planting of trees across the North of Brickhill. Plasn ahave been prepared for this work which should be completed as a part of the S106 agreement from planning. You may view copies of the plans here - please note this is a very large file and will take time to download.
Council Tax Bands
Council Tax Re-Banding- Shouldn’t Cost A Penny
We have been made aware of a number of residents being contacted by companies who are offering to look at their Council Tax band for a fee and save them money by lowering the band. A large number of people have been contacted in Brickhill, especially in the Tyne Crescent area. This is a serious concern for us as your local ward Councillors and we would like to let you know that it shouldn’t cost you a penny. The Valuation Office Agency(VOA) set the rates for all properties, valued by the VOA based on their open market value as at 1 April 1991.
The best way to get your Council Tax banding reviewed FOR FREE is to contact the VOA direct. This can be done via their website: www.voa.gov.uk or by telephone on: 0845 602 1507
We are also aware that some residents have been very disappointed after a review has taken place, exercise caution as the tax band can go up as well as down! We would also advise that you should have good reason to give money away to a company that promises something you can get yourself for free.
If you have had any experience on this matter recently then we would be interested to hear from you, please tell us using the contact details below. For more information visit our website www.puttingbrickhillfirst.com.
If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other issue, then please feel free to contact, or speak with us at our regular surgeries
What is that smell?
We have been asked by residents to investigate the smell which is powerfully affecting homes in Brickhill at the moment. We have been working with Borough Council officers and can confirm that it is pig muck spreading, the latest case being on fields north of Milton Ernest. We have been told by residents that it is coming from Biogen and we can confirm that this is not the case. Biogen are regulated by the Environment Agency.
There are issues relating to the spreading of manure like this and the operator has to show that they are conforming to 'Best Practicable Means,' in the code of practice issued by Defra. We are informed that there is no reason to suspect at present that this is not the case. We are continuing to investigate and will keep you posted on progress.
Helpful documents relating to this issue
If you have any comments please email us
Liberal Democrat Councillor Surgery. Bedford Central Library,
every Saturday, 2pm-3:30pm. All welcome, just turn up.