18/04/2013 Look East - West


Latest news for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northants.

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Good evening. In the programme tonight, four men from Luton are


jailed for a total of more than 30 years after talking about blowing


up this Territorial Army base. The price of bread -- bed blocking.


This is not about throwing people out of hospital before they are


ready. Nobody will leave hospital until they are absolutely ready to


go. Say no to new travellers sites. Campaigners gather to make their


voices heard. And the Essex man whose record is not broken by


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 604 seconds


Four men have been jailed for a Hello. First tonight, protesters


have turned out for a meeting in central Bedfordshire to voice their


anger over plans for seven new travellers' sites in the area.


Proposals for the sites will go before full council tonight for


approval but campaigners argue the locations have not been properly


assessed. Anna Todd is outside the meeting now.


Yes, as you can see, there are still a large handful of


enthusiastic young protesters. But most people have now gone into the


council chamber behind me for yet another meeting in this lengthy and


controversial process of finding new travellers' sites for


Bedfordshire. They are now seven sites on the shortlist, that has


been whittled down from 150 a couple of months ago. Earlier, I


spoke to one campaigner who lives near a proposed site. Obviously, we


have used on travellers and how they react with the local community


but if it is in the right place with the right family, why not have


a traveller in your community? But this is the wrong side, wrong


village, wrong place. What is the - - what has the council had to say


about this? It does have an obligation to provide sites.


council received more than 3,000 representations ahead of a meeting


in February. Tonight 22 people, members of the public, will speak


at the meeting for three minutes each. It will be quite a long


evening. The council does have a statutory obligation. They have to


provide 66 pitches for travellers in the next 10 years. And up to 180


by 2031. The fact is, in central Bedfordshire, we have a large gypsy


and traveller population. Than been the vast majority, there are no


problems. But there is a public perception that there might be.


the shortlist is given a Yes vote tonight, that will call to public


consultation in May. The Dalai Lama will pay his third visit to


Cambridge in 40 years. The Tibetan spiritual leader hasn't been to the


city since 1993. He'll give a talk at St John's College. Students


wrote to him asking him to come to the university.


It's just two weeks to go until the local elections. In


Northamptonshire the big election issue is of course, the cuts. The


Conservative run county council has started a four year programme to


slash �170 million from its budgets. Currently the Conservatives hold 54


seats, the Lib Dems are in second place with 10 and Labour have just


six. But with the number of seats being slashed by 16, how will the


council chamber look after May the second? Stuart Ratcliffe reports.


Northamptonshire is a county of contrast, rolling countryside of


food -- dotted with large centres of population. Traditional


industries co-existing alongside motorsport and high-tech


Engineering. Like all councils, it has had to make cuts. Street lights


have been switched off and lollipop patrols axed and it is these issues


which Labour feel will deliver results. People are fed up with


this happening in Northamptonshire. If we cannot make gains and take


control now, then I don't think we can ever. The Liberal-Democrats


also feel that the axe has cut too deeply but they also feel under the


stewardship of the Conservatives, standards in the county's children


services have dropped to an acceptable levels. We have had


disastrous reports. The report into how they look after young children.


We have been warning for years that these were cut too far. And here we


are, we have the county council inadequate in all four categories.


That is disgraceful. But the Conservatives say overall they have


a record to be proud of. The county was recently voted the most


enterprising in England. And despite having to make cuts, they


say they have done all they can to limit the impact. As a result of


that, we have had for eight years the lowest council tax in England.


We have not increased the county council tax for the last four years


at all. Although certain -- sort of things weigh on people thinking


about their own livelihood and their own housekeeping. But this


year's elections will be very different because of boundary


changes, the number and it -- the number of councils Elek --


councillors elected will be reduced. Predicting the outcome will be


harder than ever. To some extent, these changes are dictating the way


the parties are fighting these elections. Labour will be targeting


Northampton, Kettering and Corby. In the rural areas, both the


Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will be working hard to


maintain support as well as in some urban strongholds. But the real


challenge to all three parties is managing the potential impact of


the UK Independence Party. Voter apathy could also throw up some


surprising results. For more information on the local elections


and a full list of the candidates in your area: And a reminder that


this week's Sunday Politics featuring the leader of the Green


Party will be on at the later time of 2pm on BBC1.


Retail expert Mary Portas chose it as one of 12 towns to take part in


her high street revolution. Now almost a year on more money is


being ploughed into regenerating Bedford's High Street. The �3


million investment by the council, lottery and local firms aims to


boost local business. Hidden behind scaffolding, this building dates


back to around 1,800. It used to be almshouses known as Duke's role.


Today the shopfront is damaged and in need of repair but it is being


restored with the help of an old photograph. When it is finished, it


will be very good. It will enhance the High Street as well. It will


bring in more customers. It will be better for the tenants. Upstairs,


the vacant first floor is also being transformed into a flat. It


is part of a �3 million heritage initiative funded jointly by the


council, the lottery and local businesses. That is good because


the town is dying. We do have retail parks. I think that has


taken away business. I suppose anything that can help with the


town is good. There are a lot more things they could be doing far


better than that, like something to draw tourists in. Not just make the


place look pretty. Recently, Bedford was picked as one of 12


pilot errors in the Mary Portas project, a scheme to boost high


street trade. Shopkeepers are now lose -- using the internet to boost


sales. But so far, only �13,000 has been spent. It is important it has


been allocated correctly. We need the shopkeepers to undergo


retraining. That -- -- that has to be at a suitable time for them.


These things take longer than we want but I am pleased it has


started. A further nine properties will be refurbished. A spelling


mistake on a war memorial in Cambridgeshire is finally going to


be corrected, more than 90 years after it was made. When the


memorial was put up in the village of Shepreth, the name of George


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