Wilstead Newsletter

updated  9th April 2021



Wilshamstead Parish Council

Parish Council Meetings

At the March Parish Council meeting it was really great to see a number of new faces joining us online.  Whilst unfortunately there were some technical difficulties with the connection, it is hoped that we can return in the not-too-distant future to face to face meetings.

Monday 19th April is the next Parish Council meeting and this will be online, if you would like the joining details please do let Lizzie know.

This April meeting is usually the Annual Parish Electors Meeting, however, the Parish Council feels it is really important this year more than ever for this meeting to be face-to-face.  The date for this year's Annual Parish Electors Meeting will be on Monday 21st June at 7pm, and this meeting will (hopefully) be an opportunity for the Village to look forward.

The Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council must be held in May, and this is planned for Monday 17th May, at present it is unclear whether this will be online or face to face, however, we will update residents in the next Homewatch Newsletter.

Looking Forwards…...

At the last Parish Council meeting attendees started to think of ways to draw on the brilliant community spirit shown in Wilstead over the most challenging of twelve months.  It was incredible to reflect on what has been achieved even through such adversity.  There was the great suggestion of a memorial wishing tree where residents could remember their loved ones which was able to be set up.

As well as the idea put forward to have a village Christmas tree, which resulted in not only a wonderfully decorated tree, but other festive lights in the village, with plans in place to build on the success of this again for this year.

The Parish Council is also looking for the Village to put on another fine celebration to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in June 2022.

Crossroads Highways Works

Following the recent changes at the junction in the centre of the village, a number of residents have made some suggestions and given feedback on the work that has recently been carried out.

Ever since the Parish Council was notified of the intended works, the Parish Council has maintained regular dialogue throughout with the Bedford Borough Council Officer managing and overseeing the works.

A site meeting was held on 16th March where questions were asked by the Parish Council as there were a number of outstanding safety issues the Council wanted to raise with the Borough Council Engineer leading the scheme.

It was agreed that:

·     Warning signs alerting traffic of pedestrians crossings to be erected.

·     Yellow enforcement lines to be extended further along entrance to Church Road.

·     The gap in the yellow enforcement lines near the corner of Church Road to be completed.

·     The crossing points on Cotton End Road to be lined.

·     Enforcement notice to be issued to reduce the width of the hedge adding better  visibility for traffic approaching the junction from Cotton End Road.

Concern was also expressed over the lack of pedestrian refuge on the Cotton End Road crossing. The Borough Engineer has given assurance that they will provide detailed feedback as to why a refuge island was not practical in this area.

Planning…...What To Do If You Spot Something You Are Not Sure About?

The Parish Council is often asked what can be done if it is felt that something is being built, or has been put up, that is not as expected.  The Borough Council website has lots of details on planning and what applications have been approved in the Parish. These can be found at:


There is also useful information on permitted development rights as sometimes development does not require planning permission. Check out:


Finally, if you are not sure, then do contact Planning Enforcement who will be able to advise you and give you clear guidance.  In order for clarity to be given they do require you complete an online form rather than emailing them direct, due to Data Protection Regulations. Go to:


Please be assured your details are never made known if a Planning Enforcement Case is opened.

Contacting The Parish Council

Just to let you know that from immediate effect when emailing the Council please send your communication to:

h office@wilsteadparishcouncil.org

This is a slightly different email address, however, it will be the main way to contact the Council going forwards.  Please be assured that any communications sent to the previous email address will be re-directed to the Parish Council's new email.

Bedford Borough Councillor Report

Coronavirus in Bedford Borough

As of early March rates of Coronavirus in Bedford Borough continued to decline and were then similar to rates seen in early October 2020. Cases fell in all age groups except 11-18 year olds. (this data is for w/e 5th March, so preceding the return to school on 8th March). The number of positive in-patients at Bedford Hospital also decreased.

Wilshamstead ward registered 7 cases of COVID during the week 1-7 March.

Vaccine rollout

The CCG reported vaccination data on 11th March that showed high rates of vaccination in the priority groups. The Borough figures broadly matched the vaccination figures for England as a whole.

There was a small amount of 'vaccine hesitancy' across the Borough but the CCG were working with community groups to encourage uptake.

COVID Test Centres In Bedford

There are test centres in Bedford at Borough Hall and Prebend Street car parks, and University of Bedfordshire's Polhill Campus. Test results from these sites should come back with 24-72 hours.

There are two walk through testing centres in Bedford.  Drive-through testing is available 6 days a week at Gilbert Hitchcock House, Bedford Hospital and 5 days a week at Borough Hall. They can be booked through the national testing website.

Further details on testing are available on the government webpages.


More information on testing in Bedford Borough is available here:


Average Speed Cameras – Wilstead

A report to the Borough Council's Environment Committee on 4th March confirmed the actual cost of installation is £85k.

The Council has installed these in parts of the Borough where it has paid the entire cost. Officers review the sites and make decisions based on various criteria.

It has still not been made clear what the decision making process is with regard to the Borough paying in full or making request to Parishes for financial contributions.  

Cllr. Graeme Coombes

Signs of Spring and Warmer Days

The enthusiasm of the birds during their dawn chorus is a sure sign that nature thinks we are heading for longer, warmer days and opportunities to enjoy our gardens once again. The Garden Club is in a positive mood too and ready to restart meetings as soon as possible.

April is still uncertain but we will definitely hold our plant swap in May. Garden Club members bring surplus plants and seeds to the swap and take away anything they need. Plants and seeds are a mixture or annual and perennial flowers and also vegetable crops.

I am trying to think if we have ever had fruit, although technically tomatoes are. Although this swap is primarily for members of the Garden Club, all residents of the village, and further,  are very welcome to join in. So if you are new to gardening or have excess plants and seeds, look out for more information next month.

We may be spending more time entertaining in our gardens this year. There are a number of plants that are at their best in the evenings for both scent and flowers. Some even open in the evenings. Usually they are white or very pale and attract moths. There are actually more moth species than butterflies, so there is a chance to see some interesting ones outside, rather than trapped inside in your rooms. Additionally the pale flowers will add interest to your borders and pots.

The birds will be busy nest building. To give them a helping hand leave thin stalks, old hanging basket liners, pet grooming hairs and even your own hairbrush hair, short pieces of natural string, feathers and twigs and these will be happily taken for nesting. If you have bird boxes position them on north or east facing walls to prevent them overheating.

The National Garden Scheme brochure is now available online to book visits. As well as visiting different gardens and getting inspiration, the scheme contributes to a number of nursing and health charities. Obviously 2020 was a difficult time for all charities so have a look and see what is on offer.

We wish you all a very happy Easter and look forward to seeing you all soon.

Maralyn, Viv, Mary and Lynda

Wilstead Garden Club Committee

Update from Wilstead Village Agent

Village Agents provide a free, confidential service and are here to help people over 60 with a variety of issues – large or small. We are funded by Bedford Borough Council. We are all DBS checked and operate in the strictest confidence. Andrea is the Village Agent for Wilstead.

Although we are currently not able to visit people in their homes, we are able to provide advice and information over the phone. We can also drop off items and collect paperwork in a COVID safe and contactless manner, so if you have an urgent form that you need help with, please contact Andrea.

St John's Hospital Trust – a small quarterly payment of £75 can be given to people on a low income who have little or no savings. That's £300 per year. To qualify, you must be over 60, not working and have lived in Bedford Borough for at least 15 years. Contact Andrea for more details.

Are You Struggling with Debt? Help is At Hand - St Andrews Church Bedford run a highly recommended Money Advice Service in Bedford.  To contact them, just call 07599 618602

Would a helpful gadget make your life easier? - We have a range of handy gadgets to distribute to people who may be struggling to manage, including a jar opener, a half-step, disabled toilet key, 'Good Grips' potato peeler or handy reacher. We also have purse bells and credit/debit card defender sleeves. Just call and ask for the item you would like.

Dementia Safety First - Bedford Fire & Rescue Service are helping people affected by dementia live more safely in their homes.  They are offering Home Safety Visits to people with dementia, and people over 65 who have memory problems, as they are in the highest group of risk of injury from a fire-related incident in the home.  To arrange a home visit, either phone 0333 300 0031 or email


Help with form filling – many older people aren't claiming the benefits they are entitled to. Andrea can help identify which benefits you can claim by doing a confidential benefits check. She can also help you fill in those complicated forms such as Blue Badge, Housing Benefit and Attendance Allowance forms.

Please call Andrea, your Village Agent on

Freephone    0800 039 1234

This is an answerphone service, so please leave your name address & telephone number, and we aim to call you back within 48 hours.

Wilstead Village Hall

I am delighted to inform you that Brian Spinks is the new Caretaker of Wilstead Village Hall and Andy Stokes is now the Relief Caretaker. I am sure as hirers gradually return to use the Hall that people will support Brian as he finds his way around the Hall and its systems.

Unfortunately the Village Hall is still closed but there is a Hall 'road map' out of lockdown! This map might change as Government guidelines change.

From Monday 12th April the hall will open for 'Supervised activities for children under 18' (not parties) and a wedding, reception or commemorative event like a wake, of up to 15 guests but with restricted procedures in place for the serving of food.

From Monday 17th May  indoor gatherings/events can be organised as long as they comply with the COVID-19 secure guidance set out by Wilstead Village Hall.

Therefore all the regular groups of not more than 35 people in the main hall and 10 in the small hall may return. Indoor table service will be required when serving food and drinks. A wedding, reception or commemorative event like a wake may now have up to 30 guests. Nearer this date I will be contacting our regular hirers about returning to the hall.

From Monday 21st June there will be a lifting of the restrictions on social contact and type of events. Therefore, all parties, big meetings, everything may be able to take place!

Due to these dates, the Hall's AGM will now take place in June so you have a bit more time to think about supporting the Hall and volunteering to join the Committee. We desperately need people with new ideas, especially as at least 3 people will be retiring from the Committee.

If there are not enough people to put forward suggestions and make decisions about the Hall or even to have a quorum at the meetings, the Hall could close and this would be a great waste of a Village asset, much used by all ages.

Wilstead Village Hall Needs You

If you have any queries about this, or anything to do with the hall, please contact me.

Angela Fosbrook - Wilstead Village Hall Secretary.

angela.fosbrook@ntlworld.com     - 01234 294692

All Saints Church News

Hopefully we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. We are going to open the church for services on Easter Day Sunday 4th April. Obviously a very special day in the Church calendar.

The service will be at 11.00 am. All are welcome to come and join with us.

We hope then to be having regular services each week.

Looking ahead to June, we are going to have to say goodbye to the Revd Stephen Toze who is retiring . He has been with us for 19 years and has been a great support to many in the Parish.

Depending on circumstances with the Covid restrictions we are hoping to arrange a farewell for him. We ask that contributions to a retirement gift may be made payable by cheque to Wilstead Parochial Church Council and  given to Mrs J Brooks, 138 Cotton End Road, Mr R Heley, 150 Cotton End Road or Mrs A Cockings,  17 Maple Close, Briar Bank. A cash contribution is also acceptable.  

Robert Heley

Wilstead Bowls Club

As we are still in lockdown, I have been asked to write a little more about Wilstead Bowls Club.

We were in our old Club house for approximately ten years and realised we were outgrowing the facilities. The time had come to expand. It was going to be a costly project so money had to be raised. We started off by covering the inside of the Club walls with painted bricks to sell to each and everyone that entered. It was a great money spinner. We also rented a couple of allotments and planted seed potatoes to sell when the time was right. These were only a couple of the fund raisers that we did. It was on-going for quite some time.

We were sorry to leave the old Club House as we had had some excellent times.   Dances, parties, bingo, fancy dress, card games and lots of drinking! The bowling had also improved and our Ladies Rink of four were successful at County level. This entitled them to go on to the Nationals at Leamington. We had a coach load of supporters and it was a great experience.

The plans for the new project were now near completion and the Committee at the time, worked extremely hard to put everything in place. Two of the organisers were Eric Forman and Roger Hopkins. We had a super opening day for members and family. The Club proved to be a popular venue and we have had weddings, christenings, parties, dances, wakes and fashion shows to name but a few functions.

In the winter months we have indoor Short Mat and this has proved to be very popular. We open two or three afternoons and evenings and have a league for several village clubs who join us.

If you haven't already enjoyed our facilities you would be very welcome to join us when we open up again for the summer season. We hope, this will be sometime in May, if all goes well!

Looking forward to it.

Dot Baker

Cricket Is Coming Back To Elstow Cricket Club

We are planning to return to The Warren with a full season of cricket throughout the summer. Our Adult teams start their league campaigns on Saturday 24th April and Sunday 2nd May.  We are running U9, U11, U13 & U15 age groups and are looking to start training after Easter in accordance with government guidelines.

A full season of Youth fixtures has been arranged and they are all loaded on the Elstow Play Cricket website. We also hope to run an All Stars programme from mid-May for U8's.

We also have our Elstow Belles girls and ladies team who train on a Tuesday and a mid-week team who generally play on a Wednesday with a mixture of youth and experience with plans to give everyone an opportunity.  

We will be in touch with more news shortly, however If anyone is interested then please get in touch through our website


via our Facebook Page or the usual contacts.

We our planning our AGM on Zoom in April and again further details will be published on social media.

Until then please stay safe and we look forward to seeing everyone sometime very soon.

We Need Your Comments, Views and Opinions

Wilshamstead Parish Council has prepared a Neighbourhood Plan covering the whole Parish. Over the past couple of years, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has undertaken initial consultations and gathered background evidence. It has now completed a draft Neighbourhood Plan for the period 2021 - 2035.

In accordance with the 2012 Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations (Regulation 14), the Draft Neighbourhood Plan is out for formal consultation by the community for a period of six-weeks from 1 April 2021 to 15 May 2021.

Once revised to reflect your responses, it is hoped that the Neighbourhood Plan will be submitted to Bedford Borough Council this summer. An examination is likely during the autumn and it is anticipated that a local referendum will be held early 2022.

In the meantime, it is important that as many people and organisations within the Village comment on the draft plan during this consultation period. In addition to engaging local people, community organisations and businesses in the Parish, the Parish Council wishes to obtain the views of statutory bodies and other interested organisations at each stage of the Plan. Your comments are, therefore, invited.

The Draft Plan and the accompanying documents can be viewed and a Comment Sheet downloaded from the Wilstead Village website:


If you need to view a hard copy of the Plan, please contact the Parish Council on 01234 743152 or email:


to arrange this.

It is hoped that as many people as possible will view the draft Plan via the website and submit their comments, views and opinions, A drop-in session may also be organised when Covid restrictions allow - if there is a demand.

Comment Sheets along with other views and opinions can be returned via the post box outside the Village Hall, or by e-mail: to:


or by letter to Wilshamstead Parish Council, PO Box 1548, Bedford, MK44 5AX.

The Steering Group looks forward to hearing from you by the close of the consultation.

Deadline For Your Comments – 15th May.

Wilstead Neighbourhood Plan

Having your say on the future of Wilstead

Local Consultation 1st April 2021 – 15th May

We Need Your Comments, Views And Opinions

Wilshamstead Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has now completed a draft Neighbourhood Plan for the period 2021 to 2035.

The objectives of the Plan are to:

·     Describe the unique character and history of the village

·     Specify a shared vision for our neighbourhood

·     Help prevent inappropriate or poorly placed development in the village

·     Sit within the Bedford Borough Local Plan to provide specific planning policies for Wilstead

·     Comply with the Government's wider policy of sustainable development

·     Ensure any development is sympathetic with the look and feel of the village

·     Identify and help protect important local green spaces or other treasured assets

·     Help local residents have access to new homes locally

·     Establish the important aspects of the village that need to be preserved

·     Identify further actions or aspirations that the Parish Council may wish to pursue in the future to improve aspects of village life

The Draft Plan is now out for consultation and details of how to access and comment on it are shown in the article within the Newsletter. Please take the time to consider it carefully – you will be contributing towards the future of Wilstead.

Wilstead Jubilee Centre AGM

Tuesday 25th May at 8 pm

Subject to COVID restrictions, this face-to-face meeting will take place at The Jubilee Centre, Jubilee Way, when there will reports from the Chairperson, The Treasurer and the Chairperson of Wilstead Football Club.

The election of new Committee Members will also take place, and any nominations should be sent by email or telephone to the Secretary at jackielloyd@me com or 01234 742757.

The meeting will be held in accordance with current Government COVID guidelines.