Central Bedfordshire agrees up to 130 new traveller pitches

Up to 130 new traveller pitches are needed over the next 20 years, Central Bedfordshire Council has decided. The sustainable communities committee approved the number after considering the county’s gypsy and traveller area assessment which evaluates pitch needs. The number of pitches needed will be reviewed every five years. In February, councillors will identify 13 sites, out of the 34 existing sites in the county, which will each get 10 extra places. Some residents in the proposed areas have shown concern but the council said it has a “statutory obligation” to provide accommodation or sites for gypsies and travellers. ‘Going to listen’ Figures for the numbers of pitches used to be imposed on councils by central government, but since the regional government bodies were abandoned by the coalition two years ago, councils have been responsible for their own targets. Councillor Nigel Young, executive member for sustainable communities, said the council would consider the views of both the settled community and the gypsy and traveller community. “We are going to give everybody every opportunity to be consulted, we are going to listen but we are going to act within the statutory obligation that we have,” he said. Mr Young said if residents said they did not want the pitches, the council would “put those observations to the Secretary of State”. Central Bedfordshire Council will decide the final list of 13 suitable sites on 28 February and inform the Secretary of State of its decision. A full consultation will follow with a final decision and the adoption of the sites due in 2014.  ...

New jet terminal for business users at Luton Airport

A new passenger terminal and hangar are being built at Luton Airport for business users and private jets. Signature Flight Support says its hangar will be able to house two jets and could be finished by the autumn. The new passenger terminal, which could open by the end of next year, will include conference and catering facilities. Signature said the new terminal and hangar would replace its existing facility, which it bought in 2000. Maria Sastre, president and chief operating officer, said the new services would provide a “world-class travel experience”....

Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire snow predicted

  The East of England has been put on an amber alert to “be prepared”, with up to 10cm (4in) of snow being predicted to settle. Snow is likely to start falling late morning and will continue throughout the day, the Met Office said. Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing. Hertfordshire County Council’s highways department said gritters would be out in the county on Thursday night and is asking people to drive with extra care on Friday.   Original Source:...

Lord’s plan to open lap-dancing club until 4am

A CONTROVERSIAL lap-dancing club has applied for an extension of opening and alcohol serving hours. Shaylers in Church Street, Ampthill, which has sparked protests outside its building and thousands of residents signing a petition, made the proposals this week to open until 4am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It has also applied to Central Bedfordshire Council to serve alcohol until 3.30am on those respective days. Its current opening licence allows it to stay open until 1.30am but the club’s owner Lord John Shayler has sought for an additional two hours of sexual entertainment at the venue. Shaylers opened its doors in November amid protests among those there was the MP for Mid Bedfordshire Nadine Dorries. Dancers at the club claimed they had to enter the building undercover to avoid abuse.   Original article:...

Leisure centre a step closer

Ambitious plans to create a brand new leisure centre for Flitwick are part of a leisure strategy that was given the go-ahead by Central Beds Council this week. The procurement of a leisure management contract for three leisure centres in Bedfordshire, including Flitwick, was approved by councillors at a meeting on Tuesday. The strategy includes proposals to build a brand new facility comprising an eight-lane 25-metre swimming pool, a four-court sports hall and a range of other sports facilities. A report to councillors said: “This is a phased scheme, which aims to deliver a significant improvement to the quality and supply of leisure facilities for the area when compared to the existing centre. “The new centre will provide additional water space and expansion of the fitness equipment along with associated space for a range of sport and physical activities, and a café. “It will also provide significant improvements to energy efficiency and avoid £2 million life cycle costs associated with the existing centre. “A business case requires further development but the exact specification will aim to maximise a return on the council’s capital investment. “The first phase is re-provision of football pitches.  The scheme is required because the proposed site for a new Flitwick Leisure Centre is on existing playing pitches which must be reprovided before the leisure centre can be built.” As part of the plans Central Beds Council will be looking to knock down the current building on Steppingley Road and build a brand new centre next to it The news was welcomed by Flitwick Town Council, who say they have been working on this project for...

What an absolute whopper! Angler wins fishing contest with monster fish he STOLE from aquarium

As far as lies go, this one is an absolute whopper. For this slippery angler stole a huge bass from an aquarium – before pretending he had caught to win a sea fishing contest. Cheating Matthew Clark, 29, took the first prize, worth £800, and proudly posed for photos clutching the 13lb whopper that he had pinched on the final day of the competition. But a rival angler recognised the monster fish following a trip to the aquarium in Guernsey and police were called in to investigate. Clark was yesterday given 100 hours’ community service after admitting burglary and fraud. He was allowed to walk free after taking a two-year oath of good behaviour. He will face jail if he breaks the terms. Clark owed the manager of the island’s St Peter Port Aquarium £1,500 so hatched a plan to break into the aquarium, steal the bass and then return it while paying off some of his debt. In July last year, on the last day of the Bailiwick Bass Club Open Competition, Clark scaled cliffs, climbed a rope ladder and snuck into the aquarium through a back door. He dropped and injured the fish while racing to get his “catch” to the 8pm weigh-in at a nearby fishing shop. The bass tipped the scales at 13lb 13oz – easily beating the runner-up which weighed 10lb 3oz. Clark, of St Sampson, Guernsey, was congratulated by beaten anglers and was due to pick up his winnings later in the week. But fellow competitor Shane Bentley, 38, was convinced he had seen the bass somewhere before. He said: “My wife and I took...