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Brickhill Liberal Democrats
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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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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' 
Freemans Common , Bedford
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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