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Hertfordshire Police officer cleared of rape charge

A former police officer has been cleared of raping a woman he had arrested the day before.

Adesoji Afolabi, from Luton, arrested the 22-year-old woman on suspicion of criminal damage last July.

The 30-year-old, who worked for Hertfordshire Police at the time, was accused of later raping her at her father’s home in Harlow.

A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court took 40 minutes to find Mr Afolabi, who joined the police in 2011, not guilty.

It is understood Mr Afolabi no longer works for Hertfordshire Police.

Original Source

Residents’ anger over Central Bedfordshire Council’s visitor parking

Chicksands

RESIDENTS are fuming with their council neighbours after an overflow of cars parking at its offices led to their streets becoming constantly blocked.

They claim that for years they have been plagued by people visiting Central Bedfordshire Council’s offices in Chicksands who are parking inconsiderately along the only access road to their homes.

Despite 116 people complaining however, no action has been taken on the issue.

Paula Green, 34, of Eisenhower Place, said: “Each time we complain we are told ‘sorry there was an important meeting being held today’ but this happens every day now and there is only one entrance and exit to where we live. If this road were in a town centre these vehicles would be clamped or fined. We need something to be done now before there is an accident as mothers are having to push their prams in the middle of the road as cars are parked on both sides and they have no where to go.”

Some say they also have concerns about access for emergency vehicles and the school bus which travels down Chicksands Avenue each day.

Cllr Richard Wenham, deputy executive member for corporate resources, said: “We always ask staff to work from home or from different locations if there is a meeting planned which we expect lots of people to drive to and we put up cones to prevent parking in dangerous ways.

“However in response to the concerns from residents, we are planning to start work to provide around 50 extra parking spaces as of next week. This is phase one of our plan to expand the provision within the existing car park. Phase two will require planning permission to convert part of the grassed area for up to 60 further spaces.”

“With these additional spaces we will have increased the number of spaces by around 40 per cent and we hope it will help ease congestion on busy days.”

There are currently 270 parking spaces on site at Priory House. Phase One and Two will increase this to 380. Visitors can use any of the 270 spaces (although a small number are designated for disabled persons).

 

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MP Nadine Dorries faces expenses investigation

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has said it will investigate expenses claims submitted by MP NadN Dorrriesine Dorries.

Ms Dorries, who represents Mid Bedfordshire, faces an inquiry into her spending on accommodation and travel.

In a statement, IPSA said it had reason to believe she had received expenses “that should not have been allowed”.

But the MP, who was suspended from the Conservatives in November, said there was “no foundation” to the claims.

The withdrawal of the party whip from Ms Dorries followed her decision to take part in the ITV show I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

Ms Dorries, a former nurse who has been an MP since 2005, is currently sitting as an independent.

‘Mad’

She told the BBC she believed the inquiry had been triggered by her accommodation costs for the apartment she rents in Westminster.

In May, June and July last year, her claims were slightly higher than usual, she said, because her daughter was staying with her.

She also said it may have been prompted by a mistake by her parliamentary assistant, who accidentally claimed twice for petrol costs.

The MP said: “I have never claimed a penny in my expenses that I shouldn’t have claimed. There is absolutely no foundation to this investigation by IPSA. They suspect that I sublet my flat for three months. I certainly didn’t.

“Any MP that went through the MP’s expenses scandal would have to be mad to have sublet any property since.”

A spokesman for IPSA confirmed the focus was on claims made in 2011 and 2012, but declined to comment further.

“The Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has reason to believe that Ms Nadine Dorries MP may have been paid an amount under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses that should not have been allowed,” a statement on IPSA’s website said.

“In accordance with the legislation and the procedures for investigation made thereunder, no further information shall be published until the investigation has been concluded.”

Ms Dorries met Conservative chief whip Sir George Young having returned from Australia in November last year, to explain why she had taken time off to be on the reality TV show I’m a Celebrity.

Afterwards, a spokesman for Sir George said: “The whip has not been restored and nor will it be until she proves that she can rebuild bridges with her
constituents, her association and her parliamentary colleagues.”

In April 2012, Ms Dorries described David Cameron and George Osborne as “two arrogant posh boys” with “no passion to want to understand the lives of others”.

Analysis

image of Tim Reid Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News


Nadine Dorries is an outspoken MP keen on being in the public eye, even more than most.

Last year, she defended her appearance on I’m a Celebrity in Australia as a “publicity gift.” She was voted off first.

An investigation into her expenses is a development she won’t relish. Nothing which reminds voters of Westminster’s expenses scandal can be good publicity for an MP, particularly an independent one.

The Mid Bedfordshire MP is not showing it though. She’s already threatening legal action and is vigorously defending any suggestion the received a penny more than she’s entitled to.

Ms Dorries insists that she never sublet her apartment – and in her own words: “I might be called mad Nad; I’m not that mad.”

Her chances of winning back the Conservative whip any time soon may have receded.

 

Source:

 

Pub loses its late licence

White Hart

A pub that has regularly broken its licensing conditions and been accused of “not caring less” has had its late licence removed.

The White Hart Hotel, based in Ampthill town centre, will now be forced to stop selling alcohol and playing music at 11.30pm, and to close at midnight. It was previously allowed to stay open until 2.30am on Fridays, 1.30pm on Saturdays and midnight on Sundays.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the licensing sub-committee of Central Beds Council on Tuesday where a review of the licence was discussed.

Members also took the decision to remove the designated premises supervisor (DPS) Salik Miah from post as licensee. The pub is run by company Punch Taverns Ltd.

Technical officer in the public protection department at Central Beds Council Alan Stone called for the review following numerous complaints from residents over the last few years, and the meeting was packed out with frustrated neighbours.

One resident Alexander Pelling told the committee: “There is a great deal of evidence of serious breaches of conditions by the licensee. You have the report that states not just this, but one particular incident that despite repeated complaints, he simply did nothing.

“He could not care less about the council’s own public protection officer, so it is very hard to imagine he care about local people.

“It is my experience that locally people are mindful of this kind of thing, but this is an example of a landlord that could not care less.”

His wife Jenny added that she had suffered from sleep deprivation due to the loud music coming from the venue over numerous weekends. The couple live just four buildings away, and they told the committee they could here the music in their own house.

Other residents reported having to repeatedly wipe blood and vomit off their cars and driveways and seeing and hearing fights between “drunken” customers leaving the premises.

The meeting was also attended by partnership development manager Edwin Mater at Punch Taverns Ltd, who admitted the pub was guilty of the accusations from the members of the public.

But pleaded for the committee and residents to give them one more chance to prove the venue could be run properly.

They added that there were not problems every weekend and there had been long periods where there had been no complaints at all.

After the meeting a spokesman for Punch Taverns Lts said: ““It is always our priority that our pubs provide a safe and welcoming environments for responsible adults to enjoy good drink, food and entertainment.

“We are co-operating fully as part of the review process and continue to work very closely with the local authorities to address any issues.”

 

Source

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.

 

source

New jet terminal for business users at Luton Airport

Signature's existing facility will be removed and replaced

Signature’s existing facility will be removed and replaced

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”.

Source