Friday, 1 December 2017

New Look For The Old Sugarloaf

New Look For Old Sugar Loaf
The Old Sugar Loaf Hotel is to have a facelift.

Agents for the Grade II listed building on High Street North have gained planning permission to refurbish and improve the appearance of its front facade. The changes will see the replacement of its old sign with cleaner more modern lettering. The new 3D lettering will be in white in stainless steel internally illuminated 3D letters.Twenty two older framed sashed windows fronting High Street North will be refurbished after details are provided to the Council, and facade repairs including cornicing, are approved. The existing porch will be fully refurbished and decorated in pure white with black blue glazed timber framed entrance doors. A new / refubished timber yard gate to the side will be decorated in matching colours.

Old Look
The approved planning application calls for the removal of the existing 3D conical 'sugar loaf' model above the porch. The current gold lettering that can be seen above the first floor windows would be removed, also. Existing wall mounted lantern luminaires, advertising board on the left and above the doorways will be removed as well as a plaque to the left of the porch.

The planning application details can be viewed on the Central Bedfordshire website.

This decision is being discussed on Facebook in "Dunstable — Preserving the Past for the Future"

In days gone by ... "telephone number 4 Dunstable" ...

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Central Bedfordshire Council has been named Best Social Work Employer of the Year

Central Bedfordshire Council has been named Best Social Work Employer of the Year in a national awards event.

The council’s Children’s Services saw off three other shortlisted local authorities to claim the prize at the Social Worker of the Year Awards on Friday night.

Judges praised the work done by Central Bedfordshire to ensure that social workers have manageable caseloads, good supervision and support with access to great learning and development opportunities and an excellent Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme for newly-qualified children’s social workers.

As part of Children’s Services’ ambitious transformation agenda, during the past three years teams have been restructured into smaller units with non-caseholding managers. The result of this is that front-line social work staff now have manageable numbers of families to support and can devote more time to getting to know the children they work with, in turn building up positive and lasting relationships.

That has led to more social workers seeing the benefits of working for Central Bedfordshire Council, resulting in a quality and stable workforce rather than relying on agency staff, vacancy rates down two-thirds in just three years and a staff turnover of less than ten per cent a year.

Sue Harrison, Director of Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted that the judges recognised the hard work which has been taking place to help us recruit and retain quality staff, and create an environment where our children’s social workers can really thrive.

“To win an award like this requires a whole-team effort and I would like to thank everyone who has played a part. We embarked upon some bold changes, such as involving members of the Children in Care Council in the social work recruitment process, significantly restructuring teams and also the way we work by getting partners involved.

“These changes allow front-line staff to spend more time helping children and families in need and develop their skills and training to do an even better job. While it’s great to receive recognition for what we do, we won’t stand still and will continue to work hard to do the best job for those who need our help.

“Congratulations too, to Jason Sedgman, Senior Practitioner in the council’s Children with Disabilities Team, who received a silver award in the Children’s Social Worker of the Year category. His dedication to the children and families he supports was praised by the judges as an example to all.”

For more information about the awards and a full list of winners, visit

Lidl Dunstable to Open on 14th December

Lidl UK has confirmed that its new store on Luton Road in Dunstable will open its doors for the first time to customers at 8am on 14thDecember.

In addition to the ribbon cutting, Lidl will be offering customers the chance to sample some of its award-winning products throughout the day. For the first week of trading customers will be able to enjoy up to £40 off selected non-food products including a record player with USB (£29.99, RRP £49.99) from Thursday 14th, a dehumidifier (£79, RRP £119) from Friday 15th, and a professional food processor (£39.99, RRP £79.99) from Saturday 16th December.

The new supermarket forms part of the company’s ongoing expansion and regeneration plans in the UK which will see it open between 50 to 60 new stores a year. The sustainable store with 1424m² sales area has created up to 40 new jobs and boasts state-of-the-art facilities including an in-store bakery, longer-style tills with dual packing, customer toilets, baby changing and ample parking for both cars and bicycles.

The fully glass fronted façade maximises natural daylight entering the building, whilst sensor controlled exterior sun blinds automatically operate to mitigate the effects of unwanted heat from solar gain. The electrical lighting system is made up entirely of LED fittings which, compared with a traditional lighting system, are over 50% more energy efficient whilst still providing excellent levels of lighting to meet the needs of customers choosing their products.

Lidl UK’s Regional Head of Property, Jeremy Lee, commented: “We would like to thank all those who have played a part in bringing this new Lidl store to Dunstable. It is great for us to be able to create more jobs and investment opportunities in the area, and we can’t wait to start serving our multi-award winning products to the local community.”

Lidl has experienced continued growth over the years as consumers flock to the shop to discover products – two-thirds of which are British - ranging from quality British fruit and vegetables to premium wines from its much-coveted Wine Tour collections. Over 5.5 million British shoppers are now flocking to Lidl each week, half a million more a week than in 2014. Lidl’s success shows no signs of slowing, as the latest Kantar Worldpanel results highlighted the supermarket as the fastest growing in the UK with sales up 15.1% year on year and a market share high of 5.1%.

More at

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Free Cycle Parking Stands Available!

Voluntary sector groups, businesses, shops, offices, cafés, pubs, churches, dental practices and surgeries in Dunstable and Houghton Regis can get free cycle parking under the community cycle parking schemes run by Park That Bike (supported by CBC Travel Choices).

The bike parking stands are free of charge, but you are responsible for installing them on your own property (full instructions are provided) in a location agreed with ParkThatBike

Friday, 24 November 2017

Local schools to cycle, scoot and walk their way to Lapland

Schools across Central Bedfordshire will soon be competing in a race to reach 'Lapland'. 

The 'Santa Challenge' is an interschool cycling, scooting and walking competition that will run from 27 November to 8 December, which is being funded by Central Bedfordshire Council's public health team and organised by sustainable transport charity Sustrans.

Children and families will accumulate miles each time they cycle, scoot or walk to school, double if a parent cycles too. All the miles will be added up at the end of the challenge to see if each school has travelled the required 2050-mile trip to Lapland over the 10-day challenge. 

All pupils that take part will be in with a chance of winning a 'Frog Bike'. Other prizes will also be distributed to schools for teachers to give to participating pupils, including slap bands, badges, teddy bears and other assorted bike-related prizes.

Sustrans Schools Officer, Derek Smulders said: "In previous years, the children have really embraced the competition. Lots of children and their families opted to cycle, scoot and walk to school, leaving the car behind in order to alleviate congestion around the school gates and gain healthy exercise too."

Councillor Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "Cycling, scooting and walking to school means healthier and safer streets, which in turn will help to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality. Children are advised to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical exercise per day and cycling, scooting and walking to school can be a fun and easy way to achieve part of this."

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Priory View — Wins Best Social or Affordable New Housing Development!

Central Bedfordshire Council’s Priory View, an independent living scheme in Dunstable, has been awarded the title of Best Social or Affordable New Housing Development at the Grand Final of the LABC Building Excellence Awards – one of the most recognised events on the building industry’s calendar. A panel of industry experts judged Priory View the category winner out of 11 finalists from across England and Wales.

Priory View, which was officially opened by HM The Queen in April this year, is a five storey residence containing 83 apartments of mixed tenure (affordable rent and shared ownership) for residents aged 55 or over. The building is a community hub including a restaurant, café, minimarket, hairdressers and beauty/treatment rooms in central atria, located within easy walking distance of Dunstable Town Centre. Priory View is the first independent living scheme built by Central Bedfordshire Council. This was a major challenge, a steep learning curve and very rewarding for the Council.

Priory View was deemed to be unique because it has the ‘wow’ factor from the second you walk in, rather than accommodation that an older person has to ‘accept’ because their home is no longer suitable for them. The colour schemes are bright and warm and the leisure areas are welcoming and spacious. The café and restaurant are shared with the local community and a delightful place for residents to take their family and friends. The roof terrace provides a great place to relax and the landscaped gardens and potting sheds give residents a place to make their mark on the development.
Cllr Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Social Care and Housing at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “We are delighted that Priory View has won with this award. The ethos of the building is to provide residents with the right balance of privacy and support, to live and be independent. This win is a tribute to all the professionals involved in this scheme and particularly the Council’s Building Control team. I am delighted that we have the skills and talents in Central Bedfordshire to deliver top quality projects such as this.”

Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "Priory View offers a safe and secure home, a community of like-minded people, a social life on the doorstep and yet support and care when residents do need it. This is part of a bigger plan to make sure we have the right sort of housing available for older residents within Central Bedfordshire, most of whom want to live in their own homes for as long as possible."

LABC Chief Executive Paul Everall said: “Our building excellence awards are an opportunity for the industry to celebrate innovation and good practice. Our winners demonstrate how positive working relationships with local council building control teams achieve high quality, sustainable buildings. Our awards are unique because they recognise how this cooperation improves building standards and professionalism across the industry.”

The Grand Finals of the LABC Building Excellence Awards took place on Friday 10 November 2017.  Over 800 building industry professionals including contractors, architects and engineers attended the celebration to find out which projects won across the 15 hotly contested categories.

Central Bedfordshire had also celebrated success in three other award categories at the LABC regional finals, with Creasey Park Drive in Dunstable being named Best Inclusive Building; Best Partnership with a Local Authority Building Control Team with Domestic Designs; and the LABC Residential Site Agent of the Year prize for Bloor Homes at Silsoe.

LABC is the member organisation representing local authority building control departments in England and Wales. Its membership includes over 3,000 professional surveyors and support technicians.  LABC promotes the design and construction of buildings that are safe, healthy, inclusive and environmentally efficient to comply with the Building Regulations.  LABC builds awareness of local authority building control amongst the public, developers, designers and contractors.  It also works with government, trade organisations, manufacturers, distributors, research establishments, test houses and professional institutions to support innovation in building.  For more information please visit the LABC website:

Picture (left to right):
Rob Burridge – LABC Warranty (Sponsor)
Richard Scott – LABC President
Colin Smart - Kyle Smart Architects
Chris Weir – Kyle Smart Architects
Ian Johnson – Housing Team
Samantha Holder – Building Control
Kim Dallen – Building Control
Andrew Davie – Assistant Director – Development Infrastructure
Gyles Brandreth – Guest Presenter