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Latest News Stories Affecting Brickhill 
Brickhill Liberal Democrats
Riverside Bedford
Exciting Times ahead

Town centre cinema has returned to Bedford with the Vue Cinema 7 screen venue. There are also riverside restaurants, public square and a new hotel. This £34 investment in our town by business shows the confidence which has returned to Bedford. The new Harpur Centre owners have announced a multi million pound refurbishment of their premises as investment returns to our town centre. 

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Winter Cometh

With wintry weather forecast, I wanted to make sure everyone had access to local information that may be useful.

If you want to know when gritting is taking place, you can find that out here:

The same page also has tabs about any disruption to Public Transport, School Buses, Adult Services Transport and Waste Collections.

If you need to look at information about school closures at any time over the winter, that can be found here:
Schools will probably also have their own methods of notification to look out for as well.

Manton Lane Congestion 

Mayor Dave Hodgson has announced a £5 million scheme to ease congestion at the A6 roundabouts either side of the Sainsbury’s on the north side of Bedford, and on Manton Lane. 
The announcement of the works at this traffic hotspot comes after we were successful in winning £3.5 million of grant funding for the project from Government. It will involve:

  • New signals to smooth traffic in all directions at the A6/Manton Lane/Shakespeare Road roundabout junction;
  • Improved capacity at the A6 Clapham/new bypass junction
  • Linking the improved Manton Lane junction to the Manton Lane signalised junction;

Essentially, three junctions which currently operate independently will now be linked in a way which is designed to minimise congestion. Bedford has undergone major regeneration and employment growth in recent years, and it’s crucial that our roads are improved to match. That’s why we worked to win this funding, and it’s why this project is just one part of a major decongestion programme we are working on for Bedford.  We hope to have funding in place and a full programme of works confirmed soon. 

Bin Collections

Garden waste collections will be suspended after Thursday 30th November for the winter period. Don't forget to put your green
lidded garden waste bin out on your collection day over the next couple of weeks. Collections will recommence on 1st March 
2018. Keep an eye out for next year's collection calendar through December to see when your first garden waste collection of 2018 will be.  

Development of Accommodation Brickhill Drive 

Thank you to those residents who have spoken with us about concerns regarding the development on the site of the old garages on Brickhill Drive. In response we asked for a presentation from BPHA on the new accommodation which is being built on the old garage site off Brickhill Drive at Brickhill Parish Council.
There are rumours that this development is now being considered for 'drug rehabilitation.' 
We have been assured by Bedford Borough Council who will allocate residents that this has never been discussed as an option. The latest information which we have been given on this development is shown below and we would encourage residents to contact us if they have any further concerns.
In response to questions raised at the Parish Council meeting we have received the following information from BPHA

Will screening be put up in the 11th flat 
The building does not have any windows directly facing the existing gardens, and should be frosted.
How high will the flooring come up on the site side? Will people be able to look over from the floor into the gardens? – 
No, won’t be able to see over when walking.
Will 136 and 138 Mallard Hill be getting a brick wall? 
Yes. Residents have been informed.

Will the new residents be expected to pull out the bins for the bin men? 
No, they will be down the side of the passage that leads to Mallard Hill and the bin men will get these.

Will the access to Mallard Hill be blocked off? 
Yes by gates at the end where the new flats will be.
BPHA has taken the decision that this scheme will be managed by Jadran Hajdarevic, who is one of the Supported Housing Officer’s for BPHA. Jadran has considerable of experience in dealing with Mental Health and I have briefed him on what has been happening. He will be the point of contact now for any queries going forward. His contact details are, 0330 1000 272.

The following information has been provided to us as an update from Bedford Borough Council 
This service was always intended to be for people who are being supported by Mental Health Services and both the site and building design have been selected for this purpose.
The original design for the scheme did include a staff office to enable staff visiting to have a base whilst on site. However, as the scheme would be accommodating people who are able to live independently within the community, the intention has always been for the scheme residents to receive any support they may require through a support worker or other professional visiting them rather than a staff team based on site. As no staff team would be based on site, it was felt that a site office would not be needed or well utilised and therefore it would be better to make use of the space to provide an extra flat.
The intention is not for this scheme to accommodate anyone who is unable to manage independent living or who would pose any risk to the other residents or the public. In order to ensure that the flats within the scheme are offered to appropriate individuals for this type of service, all allocation decisions will be made by an 'Allocations Panel' who will carefully consider the needs and situations of all those who are put forward as suitable for the service to ensure they are able to live independently in the community with appropriate support provided.

Bedford Borough Council will work with both BPHA and other partners such as ELFT (East London Foundation Trust) to ensure that residents have all the support they need when they move in to their new homes, and that they have all the information they need in relation to contacting staff should they need any additional assistance at any point. Neighbours will be advised who to contact if they were to have any concerns in relation to a resident's behaviour or welfare.
This type of scheme is already successfully operating in other parts of Bedford, providing long term stability and support for a number of people with mental health problems. We are confident that this scheme will be just as successful and enable us to provide a number of vulnerable adults with safe and secure accommodation where they will be able to thrive.

Congratulations to our schools 
We are delighted that both Brickhill Primary and Scott Primary have got off to a flying start with their new primary school status. This was a big challenge but our congratulations to the Headteachers Anita Barker and Debbie Wilson all staff, 
children and parents for such a success. Thanks also to everybody at the council who rose to the challenge to ensure that new classrooms were available on time.

Tree Planting 
An old Greek proverb says that “Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” It is about planting for the future and doing something which doesn’t give you immediate approval but is nevertheless great because you consider the needs of future generations. It is with that in mind that that we have committed over £7,000 towards planning and maintaining trees in Brickhill. As well as planting trees, we have for some time asked for work to be carried out on the wildlife corridor in Falcon Avenue to tackle invasive ivy which is choking trees. This work will now be started before the next nesting season. 

Brickhill Drive BPHA housing 
Residents are understandably concerned about what kind of development is being created in the and at the top of Brickhill Drive which was once a site of derelict garages. We have asked for an item to be placed on the next parish council agenda to invite BPHA to present plans for the new flats which are being built.

Travellers in Brickhill
Following our work with Bedfordshire Police they have produced a more robust policy for enforcement against unlawful encampments. This has seen reduced activity across the Borough, however meanwhile we are progressing applications for high court injunctions, one of which would cover Waveney Avenue. This would make it much easier to evict anybody on the land as it would make sure activity an immediate criminal offence.  

Thomas More School - Traffic Issues
Planning permission as granted to Thomas More for replacement of classrooms with two storey new buildings. The improvement to classrooms is to be welcomed but we highlighted the continuing number of complaints which we receive about parking at the school. We are looking at extending the zig zag lines and asking for enforcement cameras to be installed. These have already been deployed at three schools across the Borough as part of Mayor Dave Hodgson’s on unlawful parking outside schools. The council can only use cameras on zig zag lines outside schools and bus lanes - the government removed all other enforcement by councils using CCTV last year in a moment of complete madness.    

No Verge Parking in Moriston Road
There is strong support for no verge parking restrictions at the top of Moriston Road closest to Tyne Crescent and we have therefore asked for this stretch of Moriston Road to be included in a scheme which we will pay for out of our ward fund . At this stage we have asked only for his area to be protected by no verge parking and not the entire length of Moriston Road. However we have asked for the signage to be on small yellow plates which mean that the scheme can be extended easily simply by adding more plates. We will see how the enforcement progresses and if residents wish more no verge parking to be introduced further along Moriston Road then we will ask for the area to be extended. As soon as the no verge parking zone is introduced we will ask Council Enforcement Officers to issue fixed penalty tickets.
We will continue to work with the school in measures such as encouraging parents to park in Ashmead Road and with the Parish Council and Borough Council who have been working with the school on reducing the number of children who are brought to school in private cars. 

Roads and Pavements
The 1m extra funding towards road and pavement will see roads in Brickhill brought forward for resurfacing. Schemes for Plover Way and part of Tyne Crescent are in process but we have asked for many roads to be added to the list for consideration. Our roads and pavements in Brickhill need this investment and we fully support the priority given which will help keep drivers and pedestrians safe. 
We have asked for the roundabout on the junction of Tyne Crescent and Avon Drive to be repaired since March and we are assured this will happen soon. 

Dirty Street Signs 
We have had dirty street signage along Kimbolton Road washed to remove mould and make the signs easier to read. It is a little thing but dirty signs bring down the pride in our neighbourhood and little things like this make a difference.

Bedford Hospital
Mayor Dave Hodgson has been leading the fight to keep essential services here in Bedford. The latest announcement has seen proposals for a partnership with Luton which will keep Emergency treatment, paediatrics and maternity in Bedford. Millions have been wasted by the NHS in this meaningless review which thankfully has seen Bedford fight off closure of essential services. Thank you to everybody who signed our petition to save Bedford Hospital. 

Local Plan Housing for Bedford

Homes in Brickhill received an anonymous leaflet which stated that the Mayor was considering proposals for New Towns in Bedford Borough. It is understandable why those responsible wanted to keep their names secret. The law demands that any published and distributed publication which conveys a message must state the printer’s name and address. This cowardly political attack on the Mayor and his executive was designed to provoke anxiety and misinformation amongst local residents.  
It is not the Mayor but the government which places house building requirements on councils and Bedford Borough is required to allow anybody who wants to build houses to submit their proposals for consideration. Those writing the leaflet should have the courage to write to the government who set these targets, they should also supply their name and address!     

The government required the Council to produce a local plan allocating land for development of a further 8,103 homes on new sites by 2035. However the government has just said that it intends to increase its requirement to an additional 6,620 homes in excess of those we are already planning for!  We believe this is way over the top and we will be making a robust response to make clear that the level of housebuilding proposed for Bedford Borough is wildly excessive and our infrastructure just cannot cope.  

The Council is obliged to invite applications to meet these government housing requirements and consult locally. Anybody can bring forward proposals which the council is must consider. At this stage, the Council has made no decisions whatsoever on what land will be allocated for development under the Local Plan, despite the misleading implication of the leaflet. Eventually the Full Council will decide on the Local Plan, not the Mayor or his Executive. 

20 MPH in Brickhill
We have used our ward funds to progress a scheme which will cover Brickhill Lower School and surrounding roads to Brickhill Drive, Linnet Way and Kimbolton Road. We expect work to begin in late October 

Mayor Dave Hodgson Speaks Out Against Rail Service Proposals
Mayor Dave Hodgson spoke at a public meeting which attracted over 300 people concerned about proposed changes to the East Midlands train service. Proposals would result in longer travelling times to London and fewer trains to the Midlands and beyond. This would have serious consequences for the many Bedford residents who commute by train, not just to London but other surrounding towns, as well as having a damaging impact on our local economy with the current travel times estimated to bring an annual £3.5m boost to Bedford’s economy. Mayor Dave Hodgson slammed the huge downgrade in the service that local people receive which would damage the Borough’s economic future. To add insult to injury, there was no consultation event scheduled in Bedford until the Mayor challenged the changes. We will support the Mayor in fighting against any downgrading of our rail services.   

New Street Lighting in Brickhill 

Only a few years ago street lights in Bedford were on their last legs, some lights were broken, others were on all of the time and many columns were structurally corroded. We had a vision to replace all of the lights with new LED units and take out the failing columns and old concrete structures. With a mixture of government grants and council investment, street lights have been replaced across Bedford with new LED lights and now Brickhill is undergoing a lighting transformation. Every single council street light across Bedford Borough will be replaced with the new reduced energy LED lights. This means that they are great for the environment and they also save the council over £260,000 a year on energy costs. Each light is connected to a central control unit which detects faults and can increase and decrease lighting levels. Other councils have taken the decision to turn lights off to save money, in Bedford we are now saving money whilst retaining lighting which is important for safety and security. Praise has also come from Bedford astronomers who have valued the reduced light pollution enabling a fresh vision of the night sky.

Financial savings continue to be at the forefront of our minds on the council as we face millions of pounds more of government cuts. We are committed to make sure that we deliver services which make Brickhill a great place to live, like cutting the grass and repairing roads and pavements. Mayor Dave Hodgson has invested an additional £1m this year to help us repair more roads and pavements. However there is a decreasing amount of money and the cost to the council of providing services such as care for the elderly and education means that we just cannot do all that we would like to do, so please understand the pressures which we are facing to keep on top of roads and pavements in Brickhill. As your local councillors we will continue to work hard and keep you informed through regular deliveries of FOCUS, surgeries and website where you can sign up for a regular Brickhill newsletter. 

Extra £1 Million funding for roads and pavements 

Plover Way is the first road in Brickhill’s to benefit from extra investment by Mayor Dave Hodgson of £1m in roads and pavements. Borough Councillors, Wendy Rider & Charles Royden are backing the decision, Wendy Rider said 

“It has always been one of our top priorities to get the state of local roads and pavements improved. That is why we want to see this extra £1m put to good use - getting even more roads and pavements up to a higher standard.” “We know that there is a lot still to do, but even in this time of funding cuts, we are keeping this as a priority. Time and time again residents tell us how important this is as it affects everyone - pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”

The extra funding has been found from savings in last year’s budget, thanks to good financial management of the council under Mayor Dave Hodgson. This year the council has managed within it’s budget without overspending - just as it has done since Dave Hodgson’s first budget was set in 2010. Charles Royden added 

“If you know of particular roads and pavements that you think should be a priority for work just let us know by email or using the ONLINE CONTACT FORM.”

New 670 Pupil School proposed for land off Manton Lane 

A planning application (16/00111/MAO) has been made by Rushmoor School to build a new school off Manton Lane. Borough Council planning officers recommended refusal on grounds that  
‘Inadequate information has been provided by the applicant to enable an accurate assessment to be made of highway safety and traffic impact on the A6 Clapham Roundabout/A5141 Shakepeare Road/Manton Lane Roundabout….’

However at the planning meeting on 24th July, some members of the planning committee were supportive and the decision has been deferred. Cllrs Mark Fitzpatrick and Charles Royden believe that approval for a new school for a stated number of 670 pupils would have disastrous consequences for traffic on Manton Lane.  

Brickhill Parish Council were not consulted on this application but the Parish Council Planning Committee has objected questioning whether due process has been followed and also expressing with us 
‘concerns as to the impact of this proposed development on the already heavy traffic flows on Manton Lane and on the roundabout at the junction with the A6….’ 

We are opposed to this development and believe that another school is probably the worst type of development which could take place on this site. This would bring in additional traffic at exactly the worst time for local traffic which is already at near standstill at school times. We have spoken to many residents who were simply not aware that this major building development was being considered. 

Brickhill is currently suffering from a poor decision which was made by Bedford Modern School to take down the pedestrian bridge outside the school. This decision was taken in spite of our campaign against it which was rejected by the now defunct County Council, who refused to allow us to present to committee the overwhelming evidence on the adverse affects of the pedestrian crossing. Bedford Borough Council is now open and transparent and on this occasion it is important that local opinion is heard and we will ensure that this is the case.     

We encourage you to express your views. You can send comments by: submitting online, by e-mail to planning@bedford.gov.uk or in writing to Planning Services, Bedford Borough Council, 4th Floor, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP. Please put at the beginning of any correspondence if you wish to Support, Object or Comment, quote the application number and your full postal address. 
Let us know by email or using the ONLINE CONTACT FORM.

Stop Freemans Common Housing Development 

The Conservatives have lost their attempt to have Freemans Common included in plans for housing development. 

Mayor Dave Hodgson's Executive took action to remove Freemans Common on Cleat Hill from council plans for housing development following a request by Councillor Charles Royden. The move was supported unanimously but attracted fierce criticism from conservatives who stopped the decision and demanded that it be considered again by a council scrutiny committee.

Charles Royden said,
'An independent government planning inspector specifically excluded this land for development and it was removed last time round when I made this point to the previous Mayor Frank Branston. It is madness that the conservatives called for a gypsy and traveller site in Hawk Drive and now they want to include this land for planned housing development.'

Wendy Rider and Charles Royden have been long standing campaigners against the development of Freemans Common in Brickhill. 
'Our ‘No More Bricks in Brickhill’ campaign opposed more housing on this important green space which stretches across the rear of Hamble Road and up Cleat Hill

The conservatives attacked the decision to remove Cleat Hill from housing development and the matter was subsequently brought before the Borough Council scrutiny committee on Thursday 30 March. The Conservatives lost their appeal and the committee supported the decision of the Mayor.
Charles Royden said 
'Thankfully the committee saw sense and the conservatives have lost their battle , we must continue to fight to protect these lovely fields to the north of Brickhill' 
No Verge Parking in Moriston Road

Thank you to those residents who have spoken with us concerning the consideration of no verge parking in Moriston Road and Rede Close. Many residents in Rede Close were opposed to the scheme and we have therefore not pursued this and no signage will be introduced for Rede Close. 

There is strong support for no verge parking restrictions at the top of Moriston Road closest to Tyne Crescent and we have therefore asked for this stretch of Moriston Road to be included in a scheme. At this stage we have asked only for his area to be protected by no verge parking and not the entire length of Moriston Road. However we have asked for the signage to be on small yellow plates which mean that the scheme can be extended easily simply by adding more plates. We will see how the enforcement progresses and if residents wish more no verge parking to be introduced further along Moriston Road then we will ask for the area to be extended. As soon as the no verge parking zone is introduced we will ask Council Enforcement Officers to issue fixed penalty tickets.

We will continue to work with the school in measures such as encouraging parents to park in Ashmead Road and with the Parish Council and Borough Council who have been working with the school on reducing the number of children who are brought to school in private cars. 

Homelessness in Brickhill 

People have spoken to us recently about people asking for money at our Brickhill shopping parades. Homelessness is a serious issue across the UK at the moment but in Bedford we are spending millions of pounds to ensure that nobody needs to sleep rough. The Borough Council has launched the Rough Sleeper Outreach Service to work with rough sleepers and most importantly those at risk of becoming rough sleepers. The Council provides funding for night shelters to ensure that everybody in Bedford can access a bed for the night. 

However it is important to remember that 80% of rough sleepers have some form of mental health problem, others have substance dependency and complex issues and these personal difficulties make it hard for them to accept these services. For this reason we have also invested over £4 million in a newly built complex needs accommodation. This is the first of its kind in Bedford Borough and an innovative approach to offer comprehensive support, to not only get people off the streets but to ensure they stay off the streets and in stable accommodation. The unit is at an advanced stage of construction, and is on course to open later this year in St Mary’s Street. Sadly we have also received reports of individuals being organised and driven from one location in Brickhill to another who are not so deserving. If you wish to be generous then please consider contributing direct to the tremendous charities in Bedford which offer proactive support to help people access safe and stable accommodation, as the best means of supporting those people sleeping rough in Bedford.

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