Biggleswade community defibrillator still not in use after seven months

PUBLISHED: 09:55 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:55 01 March 2018

Century House in Biggleswade town centre, where the defibrillator is intended to be installed. Picture: Danny Loo

Century House in Biggleswade town centre, where the defibrillator is intended to be installed. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

A defibrillator bought to serve the community of Biggleswade still isn’t in action, seven months after Central Beds Council was asked to give the go-ahead.

The Biggleswade Carnival Committee shelled out £1,700 for the life-saving device last summer, with the intent of having it installed at the Century House bus station in Market Square.

But this requires a licence from Central Beds Council, which owns the building – and carnival committee chairman Alan Richards told the Comet they were still waiting.

“It’s now the eighth month and we’re still getting the stiff from Central Beds,” he said.

“We’ve paid for it and everything – and Biggleswade Town Council has been putting pressure on them too.

“With the people of Biggleswade supporting the carnival and the funds being used for this good cause, which could well save lives, it’s very comic to get dragging of feet from Central Beds Council.

“I must emphasise we have had the full support of Biggleswade Town Council – but the situation has become ludicrous.”

Mr Richards added that North East Beds MP Alistair Burt’s office had also been supportive.

Biggleswade Carnival, which has been running for more than half a century, raises funds for local groups and charitable causes. Last year there were 23 beneficiaries of its fundraising.

The defibrillator purchase was announced in a statement posted on its website last year, which said the addition was “just another example of how our local community is able to work together to help yet again another great cause which ultimately could save people’s lives.”

Central Beds Council told the Comet yesterday that the relevant licensing application reached its legal department only on February 5, and that it generally took about three weeks from that stage for a licence to be granted.

A council spokesman said: “The licensing application is being processed now I’m hoping that any time now it will be ready and available.”

Councillor Steven Watkins, who represents Biggleswade North on Central Beds Council, said there was “frustration all around” that the matter had taken so long to resolve, and that he was working to find an answer.

He added: “A cynic would infer that after months of inaction, pressure from the carnival committee and the involvement of the town clerk, a local councillor and our MP was not enough to get things moving and the threat of some negative press seems to have moved this through the system.

“A fine result and an endorsement of the power of the local press – but not really how things should work. I appreciate these things take time but a wall of silence is not appreciated.”

For more about the carnival and the causes it supports, see biggleswade-carnival.org.

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