Let's Talk Central

Welcome to Let's Talk Central
What do you think of Central Bedfordshire? Tell us what you think
Welcome to Let's Talk Central
What do you think of Central Bedfordshire? Tell us what you think
Welcome to Let's Talk Central
What do you think of Central Bedfordshire? Tell us what you think
Welcome to Let's Talk Central
What do you think of Central Bedfordshire? Tell us what you think
Welcome to Let's Talk Central
What do you think of Central Bedfordshire? Tell us what you think

What challenges do you think Central Bedfordshire will face in the future?

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Let's Talk Central

As a new place, Central Bedfordshire is in a good place to meet the challenges facing every part of the country. What are the particular issues that you see facing our area?

You can read the responses other site users have left, and give us your view as well!

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32 Responses to “What challenges do you think Central Bedfordshire will face in the future?”

  1. GEORGE says:

    I imagine Bedford town to be the first European town that impliments a system of common use electric cars, at a fixed monthly fees. No other car will be accepted to enter the town, unless they have residence. This followed by ban on new cars been bought, will result in 12 years, the best town in Europe. All roads will be pedestrianised, with one car lane only. The car batteries will be charged by solar power. The car parks will turn to parks and the children will walk safe outside.
    It may be a dream, but at least is worth dreaming!

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  2. Alan Greenwood says:

    Living as I do on the very edge of the county, I wonder if anyone has noticed the huge demand for car parking at Arlesy Station. At one time this station was also ran but now this is a heavily used facility where car parking spaces have not kept up with demand. Large numbers of people now park in the only available space in the feeder lane opposite the station. I have no complaints about them being there, or that they do not have to pay (so far) but I do anticipate a time coming when a clamp down may take place and that no alternative will be available for parking. It is excellent that people are using the train and not driving on the roads but if we want this to continue, some official backing would be good, even if it only acknowledges that the present parking has a “P” sign so that we all feel confident that our cars will not be moved away.

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    • James Gleave says:

      Hi Alan,

      Thank you very much for your comments, and apologies for the slight delay in getting back to you. Like you say, we love to see more and more people using trains, but like many of our commuter stations there are problems with on street car parking around Arlesey station. As part of our work on the new Local Transport Plan we are going to set out how we want to enforce and manage both on and off street car parking across the authority (through a new Car Parking Strategy). But that of course is only part of the solution. We are also looking to invest in the walking, cycling, car sharing, and a value-for-money public transport network to help encourage those who can travel by other means to the station to do so.

      I’m sorry that i can’t go down into the nitty-gritty of what this means on the ground quite yet, but we are working on it.

      If you want to know what our Local Transport Plan says, it will be up on our website (www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/myjourney) soon. And if you have any questions, please feel free to email us on myjourney@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

      Kind regards,

      James Gleave
      Senior Strategic Transport Officer

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  3. mark wilkinson says:

    Central government cutbacks will reduce services. So it’s hard to contemplate the thought processes that lead Central Beds Council to advertise this month for 2 posts for “Communication Managers” at £45,000 a year salary, to “manage the council’s reputation”.

    The Council organises what seem to be never ending consultations and surveys on every aspect of their activity, so why not consult on the question “Is spending £2,000 a week on “spin”, a proper use of council tax?”

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    • Karen Aspinall says:

      I wanted to respond to the comments made by Mark and Sandra about recent recruitment to the communications team.

      Whilst it is certainly true that we’re in the process of filling two vacant posts, we’ve actually reduced spending on management in communications over the past few months, through a combination of redundancy and retirement. These changes were part of a bigger review of Senior Managment across the Council which has resulted in a 20% reduction in this overhead.

      But to be honest, I get the sense that the real irritation for people is that we do communications at all because people think that we’re all about spin and cover up.

      In fact, our job is about helping local people to get information about the services we offer and how to access them whether that is via our website, our magazine News Central or through publications, such as an A-Z of services that we’re working on now to distribute to all households in September. We also work with the local media to raise the profile of the decisions that local councillors are taking so that Central Bedfordshire residents can understand how policies affecting our communities are changing.

      I would never dream of suggesting that our work is more important than that of our colleagues working at the front line in critical services areas such as home care, education, highways and leisure. But I hope that what we do supports these services and the customers who use them.

      Georgina Stanton, Assistant Director – Communications

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  4. Katy says:

    Hi, I love your blog. This is a good site and I wanted to post a comment to let you know, great job! Thanks Katy

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Carolyn says:

    Ampthill is facing challenges – like many other towns – the shops struggle to keep going, as peoples shopping habits change, but a town without any shops will not be the same.

    We used to have a busy Farmers Market – but that is gradually running in decline it was moved out of the main car park a few years ago and has never been the same – Central Beds do not give any initiatives like that any support, even by offering advice/expertise, rather than financial help. I understand there was a request to move it and the man in ‘Highways’ was dealing with the necessary paperwork to approve the move – but nothing happened.

    It also has a problem with parking, the only car park in town is run by Waitrose and has 2 hours restriction, there are plans to build one on the edge of town…but I am not holding my breath. I do feel that there appears to be a lack of interest in the town centre by the Council, particularly since the officers have left town to go to Chicksands and beyond.

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    • Hi Carolyn

      I have forwarded your comments to the teams which deal with the Farmers Market and also regarding parking and will get back to you once I hear more.

      Regards

      Alan

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      • Hi Carolyn

        I believe the Farmers Markets are arranged by Amptill Town Council and Central Bedfordshire Council’s Tourism team assist in promoting these.

        I have sent details to the Town Council of your comments and will post when I get a response through.

        Regards

        Alan

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        • Carolyn says:

          I know the TC organise the market – however they have been trying to move it and get the appropriate permission from ‘Highways’ – and I have been led to believe this is why it has not moved. One of the market traders did ring to try and move it along, but had no success as he said he was very busy.

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          • Donna, Ampthill Town Council says:

            Hi Carolyn

            Thank you for your interest in Ampthill Farmers Market.

            Yes the market is suffering from a decline in footfall but I am not sure if this is entirely to do with its location. The introduction of Waitrose, car parking restrictions, economic downturn and other Farmers Market in the area all seem to be contributory factors.

            You will know by now that we did put in a request to move the market to the wider paths along Bedford Street but this is not going to be an easy thing to do. Therefore, it is important that Ampthill Town Council and the Farmers Market traders focus their efforts on the current site. This is often not helped by having our banners stolen and A3 laminated posters being taken down!

            The Town Council’s Farmers Market Working Group will be meeting shortly to discuss ways in which they can help further with advertising and promotion of the FM and we will also be inviting traders to meet with the Council again in due course.

            Regards

            Donna, Ampthill Town Council

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          • Carolyn says:

            …in response to Donna’s post about the Farmer’s Market….

            I agree moving it may not make the difference and all of the factors you mention come into play, but if it doesn’t then it is clear that the FM is not for Ampthill, and it will be time to call it a day I guess.

            I know there is a request to move – which is what I have mentioned here on my posts and understood that the hold up with the request was with Central Beds? Maybe this is not the case anymore?

            The traders have now started putting up signs on the day in the hope of encouraging a few people down to the back of the White Hart.

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      • Hi Carolyn

        This is just in from Central Bedfordshire Council’s transport team. They have had a study undertaken to quantify what the extent of the problems are and look at viable options (both on and off street). The report identified that another off street car park of approximately 100 spaces offering stays longer than 2 hours would be appropriate.

        Whilst the council does not have the budget to undertake work to facilitate a new car park of this size, planning consent has been given for a new residential development on the old Gas Works site in Ampthill just outside the town centre and the developer has agreed to provide a car park of this size. The provision of the car park is dependant on the development and therefore we do not know at this point when it will be built and brought into use.

        Thanks

        Alan

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        • Carolyn says:

          They have started digging in the orchard, 2 years after the planning consent – but I am sure it will be a year or so yet before any parking spaces are available.

          Incidently the site is already flooding from the stream/spring on the land, one digger sunk and had to be dug out by another…I hope they know what they are doing and that the water doesn’t effect the land around it, or my proprty which is near and has a culvert running beneath the garden for the stream.

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      • Carolyn says:

        Can you let me know what the outcome was from the Highways on the use of wide pavements for the market. The market has moved to a new location in the Prince of Wales Car park but it would be useful if we could site 2 more stalls just the other side of the wall on the very wide pavement. It would not block any pedestrians. The market is now being run by the traders with Ampthill TC keen for it to continue. I am not sure who I need to contact to find out what if any permissions are needed.

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        • Karen Aspinall says:

          Carolyn, I have emailed our customer service team to find out who you can contact. Will let you know when I have a response.
          For your information, should you need it, the email address fro customer services is customer.services@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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        • Karen Aspinall says:

          Hi Carolyn
          In order to grant permission we need to use powers under the Local Government (Misc provisions) Act 1982 schedule 4 with regard to street trading. We have been consulting with Town and parisch Councils on this and the Council’s regulation Committee has recommended to Full Council that the powers are approved. Full Council will make a decision on 24th February on this. You can view the papers and the minutes from the meeting on our website.

          Assuming Full Council approve this, you will then need to make a formal request to Highways so they can evaluate your proposal and, hopefully, grant you permission.

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    • Carolyn says:

      does Central Beds try and help small businesses survive in the town, if not financially through advice and support?

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  6. Arthur Pennington says:

    In Shefford we have had, in the recent past, serious problems with flooding, in fact on one occasion it was quite evident, from the smell, that the drains contents were rising to the surface. This was counteracted by dredging the rivers to give greater capacity to get rid of the water. Recently the river levels again rose to a critical level, but seemed to be just contained. I believe the method of handling the potential flood problem in the area needs to be looked at with some urgency. Is the dredging a regular system, if so, how often? The Dutch in designing and implementing the Fen system seemed to have handled it quite well. What are we doing in the long term, are we consulting them or the Cambridgeshire Council.

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    • Karen Aspinall says:

      Hi Arthur
      Thanks for your comments, I will forward them on to the emergency planning team and ask them to respond to your specific questions. I will post the reply on here.
      Karen.

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    • Karen Aspinall says:

      Hi Arthur
      As promised I have been in touch with the emergency planning team at Central Beds Council, they have informed me that the river in Shefford is designated as ‘Main River’ and so is under the jurisdiction of the Environment Agency, it would therefore be appropriate for only them to answer your query about their river maintenance policy. I have included a link to their Website ‘contact us’ page http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/contactus/default.aspx

      You can find out more information about flooding, risk and the Council’s plans in terms of emergency response to flooding on the Council’s website http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/advice-and-benefits/emergencies/floods/default.aspx

      The Council also works with other agencies to monitor risk and plan for emergencies such as flooding and they too have a website http://www.bllrf.org.uk/

      I hope this helps
      Karen

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