Emergency response partners on the Bedfordshire and Luton Local Resilience Forum met this afternoon to ensure they are ready to activate their plans ahead of anticipated severe weather on Sunday evening/Monday morning.
Currently the Met Office has an amber alert in place for the county predicting winds of 60-80mph, resulting in possible dangerous driving conditions, widespread tree and minor structural damage, risk of injury from flying debris and the potential for localised interruption to power supplies.
There is also a yellow flood warning in place advising that persistent heavy rain could cause surface water flooding.
Bedfordshire Police Chief Supt Mike Colbourne, Chair of BLLRF, said: "While there is no need for any undue alarm, the forecast is currently for winds of a strength that we have not seen in this part of the country for more than 20 years. With the trees still in leaf and the ground soft after recent rain, there is certainly the potential for some tree and structural damage, and disruption to travel particularly on Monday morning.
"There are number of straightforward steps that residents and businesses can take now to make sure they are as prepared as possible and I would urge them to do so.
"Partners will continue to monitor the latest forecasts over the weekend and, if the situation develops, can activate a multi-agency response including organisations such as the Environment Agency, Highways Agency and the utility companies.
Before a storm, secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them.
Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages.
Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences.
Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts, particularly if roof pitch is less than 30 degrees.
If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them.
During a storm, stay indoors as much as possible. If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees.
Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences — if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side. Do not go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress.
If possible, enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you. Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you.
Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary. Delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible.
If your journey is essential, take particular care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges or high open roads. Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high-sided vehicle.
After a storm, be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging, and do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened.
Make sure that any vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs.
Further advice for strong gales, heavy rain and flooding plus useful links including how to prepare an emergency home kit are available via the resilience forum's website www.whatwouldyoudoif.co.uk.
The website also features advice for businesses on preparing a business continuity plan, including a ten-minute health check.
Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire
Front Row Theatre Group will be performing Alan Aykbourn's hilarious play Absurd Person Singular at Eaton Bray Village Hall from 14-16 November 2013.
Tickets £7 available from the Box Office on 01525 222283.
I have a request for an Emergency Temporary Road Closure at the above location to enable urgent patching works to be carried out in safety. Details are listed in the schedule below and having assessed the application I am satisfied the request is justified.
There is no alternative route available. The restrictions are to be in operation only when the necessary signs are erected on site. The Notice will be made to cover a five day period. Access may be allowed from time to time according to local signing.
If you have any observations you wish to make I would be grateful if you could let me know as soon as possible.
Gareth Hughes. Streetworks Co-ordinator
|Road:||Church Lane, Eaton Bray|
|Application from:||Jill Cross – Bedfordshire Highways – 03003008049|
|Reason:||Urgent patching works|
|Length affected:||Full length|
|Date:||Friday 25th October between the hours of 0730 and 1800hrs.|
There is no alternative route available
NB. The applicant will be responsible for taking down all Central Bedfordshire Council public notices immediately after the works requiring the Order have been completed.
An award-winning developer which has bucked the national trend by having a waiting list for its homes has started work on its latest housing scheme.
Taylor French Developments, based in Tring, has created 60 jobs by beginning building work on a new site in Eaton Bray.
Although work has only just started, two of the homes have already been sold and there has been massive interest in the other two. They will be completed ready for families to move in by the end of March next year.
Taylor French is keen to play its part in local community life while building work takes place, sponsoring a magic act which entertained the crowds at St Mary's Village Carnival in nearby Edlesborough in July.
The Castle Gate development, in Eaton Bray, comprises two three-bedroom semi-detached houses, one three-bedroom detached house and one four-bedroom detached house, with prices ranging from £285,000 to £375,000.
Key to Taylor French's success is its bespoke building and design service where buyers can make significant changes to the specification, depending on how far building work has progressed.
Buyers have had en suites removed or added, internal walls changed, one had an extension added (subject to planning approval), while another asked for the whole of the back of the house to be glass panelled.
Steve French, Managing Director of Taylor French, said: "Buyers can get a bespoke home. It's not just giving them a few choices for kitchen units and bathroom tiles – it really does mean they can have the home they want, to the budget they choose.
"So, in a development of five houses, it is highly unlikely that they will all be the same."
Taylor French has buyers queuing up to buy its homes and has seen its turnover double each year since 2008.
Steve said: "The last two developments we've done all sold prior to formal marketing. I don't know of any other developer who has done this in the current climate.
"We have gone from strength to strength and we believe this is because we are a very streamlined company - we don't have huge offices or hordes of people. We have a very talented team and are very competitive when it comes to building costs."
Steve French, Managing Director of Taylor French looking at the Eaton Bray site plans
On one site in Paulespury, Northamptonshire, 15 families vied to exchange contracts on just five luxury stone properties. All the homes, which cost between £300,000 and £450,000, were bought within weeks of construction work starting.
Meanwhile, a three-bedroom detached cottage, located on the village green at Little Horwood, near Buckingham, was snapped up before the construction team stepped foot on site.
Steve said: "It is unusual to have such a rush of sales on exclusive developments in this economic climate – we've even had people say they will wait for us to buy land in the area they are looking to move to, so they can move into a Taylor French home."
As confidence starts to return to the housing market in the south east, Taylor French plans to increase the number of properties it develops in the region from 100 to 250 every year.
It is currently building homes in 13 locations in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.
The firm recently won the Best Large Development award in the Central Region Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Excellence Awards.
Taylor French focuses on smaller plots of land for development - for between one and 60 homes. About 80% of its work is developing good quality affordable homes for housing associations.
Source: Taylor French Developments