Wilstead Newsletter

updated  5th October 2020

Memory Tree

In memory of Sue Huckle and all lost loved ones we will, once again, be making memory hearts and stars for a memorial tree in Wilstead Burial Ground at Wilstead Church ( with thanks to Wilstead Parish Council for their


Last year's display was amazing and so many people joined us in writing on a heart or star to hang from the dedicated tree.  This year, due to Covid-19 and to keep everyone safe we need to do things slightly differently and are therefore posting this a little earlier to give us time to get them ready.

If anyone would like a heart or star in memory of their loved one please send me a pm or email me


with the message that you would like written and we will write the message and then hang the hearts or stars from the tree for everyone to see as they walk past.  If you would like more than one heart or star then this is perfectly fine, just let me know how many and the message to go on each one. We will upload photos onto Facebook too.

We plan to start displaying them from the first week in December.

The hearts and stars will be supplied and decorated free of charge again but if anyone would like to make a donation to St John's Hospice then please feel free to do so. The just giving page is


Bedford Borough Councillor Report

Coronavirus in Bedford Borough

As of the middle of October there had been 1924 cases of Coronavirus in Bedford Borough with 36,734 individual tests. This is a positive test rate of 5.2%. In the preceding 7 days there had been 133 new cases of Coronavirus in the Borough, up from 118 cases the previous week. In contrast to the earlier part of the year, new cases are predominantly in the younger age groups (10-19 and 20-29) with few new cases amongst the elderly.

As at the 18th October, the Borough is currently in the lowest Tier 1 (Level: Medium) but advice continues to be in place with regard to handwashing, face masks and social distancing. The 'rule of 6' applies, along with restrictions on pubs and restaurants, which cannot stay open beyond 10pm.

As always, advice from the Borough Council is available here:


Planning White Paper Consultation

There is currently a consultation open on the Government White Paper 'Planning for the Future'.  The White Paper is a mixed bag, and contains a number of proposals which I do not support. Specifically, the presumption of planning consent and the lack of democratic oversight. There could also be greater clarity on this in the White Paper and it would be perfectly legitimate for the Council to ask for more clarity on that.

However, under the revised methods for housing numbers, the housebuilding targets for Bedford will be going down. We therefore need to be sure we aren't objecting to reduced housing numbers and therefore a wholescale objection to the proposals is the wrong approach and a more selective approach is required to decide what is good within the White Paper and what isn't.

I have proposed an all-party submission on the consultation, and the deadline from responses was 29th October. There will be more detail in the months so come.

G-Park Development Wixams

In October I met the agent for the G-Park developer, at the site and he explained the amended proposals, which he believes address the EHO noise objection. They have moved a building and the parking areas, but the result is that the third unit actually comes closer to Bedford Road and will in all likelihood be even more visible (from the direction of Bluewater and Fieldfare) than the previous option. There is to be a 4m wall around the end of the site, designed to absorb noise, however as the size of the units is vastly taller than 4m, they will clearly be visible above it.

I have expressed the view that they should try and shield the buildings from the Bedford Road direction, with a thick green barrier of tall trees to try and mitigate the worst aspects of the view and noise, and we also discussed trying to build them into a bund, to try and further raise the height of any trees planted. That said, I remain totally opposed to what is being planned and from what I saw, believe it's worse than the previous application.

Speaking to the Borough Planning Department, I have been advised that 'the technical consultee letters are being sent out today (19 October) with the neighbour letters being sent tomorrow.  Interested parties will be given 28 days to comment'. The amended plans are available to view via the public access section of the Borough Council's website:


Wilstead Pharmacy

I have received communication from Mrs Patel, the manager of the Wilstead pharmacy advising me that the application for a licence at Wixams has now been rejected and that she would like to think about how the Wilstead pharmacy can best serve both communities in Wilstead and Wixams and offer a more comprehensive range of services. I have asked her if to start with she will take a look at Saturday openings, as this appears to be one of the main concerns I get from Wixams residents.

Planning Application For 69 Dwellings On Land Adjacent To Briar Bank Park

Having spoken to the Planning Officer regarding this application as a result of discussion at Wilstead PC and contact from Briar Bank residents, I have been advised:

“Having considered the details submitted with the application it appears that the proposals have not overcome the fundamental policy objection as refused in the previous application reference 19/01211/MAO for 80 dwellings.  The current proposal is for up to 69 dwellings however the information accompanying the application appear to overcome most of the reasons for refusal as assessed under 19/01211/MAO in respect of impact on neighbour amenity, highway safety, inadequate open space provision, lack of affordable housing and education contribution. Notwithstanding the above, the fundamental policy objection to the proposed development is that the proposal would result in residential use inappropriately located in open countryside, contrary to the sustainable development objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework and the adopted development plan policies.”

The Planning Department has therefore refused the application.


The Mayor has agreed to a new waste collection contract which includes the use of the Covanta ERF at Stewartby for burning the Borough's waste. This is despite the longstanding opposition that Council has had with regard to Covanta and the Borough also having resolved in October 2018: 'That the Borough Council shall consider at the appropriate time not using the incinerator should it proceed and will seek to persuade other Councils not to use it' The Mayor's decision appears to ignore this.

I remain concerned at the potential damage to public health for those living in the area around the facility – including Wilstead and Wixams - which may come from the invisible particulate matter that Covanta will emit. The decision also approves the burning of waste from our neighbours in Central Bedfordshire at the Covanta facility.

Borough Ward Boundary Review

The draft proposals split the current Wilshamstead Ward and recommend that Wlstead be included in a single member ward with Cotton End, Cardington and Cople, whilst Wixams will be included with Stewartby in a two Councillor ward. Deadline for public responses to the draft recommendations is Monday 7th December.

This is a poor recommendation in my opinion and I will be responding the consultation recommending that Wilstead and Wixams remain in the same Council ward.

B530 Repairs

As reported last month, a section of the B530 was due to see repair work starting from 14th September. The first day of the closure resulted in traffic chaos all around the Interchange Retail Park, which I am advised was due to the contractor not placing the correct signage in place. My understanding is that the Council is looking to see when this can be rescheduled.

Bedford Council gets money for High Street from HSHAZ programme

Bedford will receive £1.76 million to deliver building works and a cultural programme to revive Bedford High Street. The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, Historic England and LoveBedford are contributing funding.

Bedford Borough Council has currently earmarked 43 buildings as eligible for funding under the HSHAZ programme. Improvements to these buildings could include:

·     Reinstatement Of Traditional Shopfronts.

·     Conversion of vacant floor space for retail and/or residential use.

·     Repair and reinstatement of architectural details to the façade of buildings.

·     Undertaking structural works to help achieve these improvements.

If you are a building owner in Bedford Borough and your premises falls within the High Street Heritage Action Zone, you can speak with the HSHAZ team about possible refurbishments to your property. If you would like to get in touch, please contact Jessica Mittler, HSHAZ Project Manager:

     Email: jessica.mittler@bedford.gov.uk

     Tel: 01234 276452

£1m Bedford 'Town Fund' deal brought forward

Following recent announcements of increased financial support for Bedford, the Borough has now been given an additional £1m thanks to the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. Bedford will benefit from a range of regeneration and growth projects thanks to a Government scheme to respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bedford Council Receives Additional Money To Help End Rough Sleeping

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that 274 Councils including Bedford would receive funding to provide interim accommodation and support as part of the Government's commitment to end rough sleeping. Bedford Council has been given £450,000 to provide vulnerable adults in the area with a safe place to stay during these unprecedented times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financial Impact of COVID-19 for Bedford Borough Council

Bedford Borough Council's Executive discussed the financial impact of COVID-19 following a report highlighting that the council is facing a financial gap of between £22 and £36million over the next five years with the impact of COVID-19 causing a significant pressure.

School Admissions

Bedford Borough Council's online admissions system is now open to all parents and carers whose children are due to transfer to secondary or upper school in September 2021.

For further information go to


Track and Trace App

New legislation has come into force as part of the effort to drive down the rate of coronavirus infection and support the test and trace system. On Friday 18th September it became law for hospitality venues to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000 and to log contact details for customer, visitors and staff as part of NHS Test and Trace.

From Thursday 24th September, this was extended so that it will be a legal requirement to display an official NHS QR code poster to help people check in to venues. The NHS COVID-19 App also launched today across the country. It can downloaded via


Borough Council Increases Access to Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)

Changes at Bedford Borough's household waste recycling centre now mean more vehicles will be able to access the site and more booking slots will be available for anyone looking to drop off their waste and recycling.

From Thursday 17th September vans and most trailers were able to return to the site as they had prior to Covid-19. Like neighbouring authorities a booking system for the site remains in place to manage capacity, reduce waiting times and traffic congestion and keep everyone safe. Additionally the number of available slots has been increased, providing a further 448 slots a week.  

Cllr. Graeme Coombes

Wilstead WI

Things had gone rather quiet in the Wilstead WI of late, without meetings or trips or lunches with friends to look forward to. But recently that has changed. After a postal ballot, a rejuvenated committee met up (properly distanced, of course) and started to plan for the future again.

October is usually our birthday party, and Wilstead WI is an impressive 89 years old in 2020. Unfortunately, the 'rule of 6' put paid to any notion of a celebration. So this year, instead of a party, every member was given a present – an apron celebrating the friendship we share.

Luckily a few things haven't really changed. Regular newsletters are keeping members informed and connected, birthday flowers are still being delivered to those with notable birthdays, members' charitable activities are continuing and the small garden in front of the village entrance sign is being beautifully maintained.

In keeping with the times, some activities have moved on-line. The Bedfordshire Federation of WIs is using Zoom to organise talks, courses and quizzes and is enabling WIs across the county to hold virtual meetings.

We all look forward to getting back to a semblance of normality, but in the mean time we will try to find new ways to connect and support each other.

Wilshamstead Parish Council

Current Consultation And Proposed Changes To Borough Ward Boundaries

The Parish Council would like to alert residents to the Local Government Boundary Commission review where local people are being asked to comment on the draft recommendations for new ward boundaries across Bedford Borough.  

The proposal is for Wilstead village to be combined with Cotton End, Cople and Cardington and have one Borough Councillor to represent the 3,400 residents.  This is very different from the current Borough Ward and the Parish Council's preference for a combined Ward with Wixams as the Village shares many facilities with Wixams.  To find out more and to have your say please submit your comments by 7th December at:


Current Bedford Borough Local Plan

Bedford Borough Council are now preparing a new Local Plan and asked input from the public and landowners on where future development might be located.

The Borough's Call for Sites process for housing and commercial development is now complete.  The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is an area identified by Government for economic growth and additional housing and a preferred route for East West Rail has been identified to the north of Bedford.

The housing requirement for the new Local Plan will need to be based on the national standard method for calculating local housing needs, which could mean a significant increase in the amount of housing that is required. For example, the Council has indicated a potential need for an additional 26,100 dwellings in the plan period to 2040.

Land for nearly 2,500 houses has been offered in Wilstead. If all built this would treble the size of the village. The Parish Council would encourage residents to look at these sites and also fully engage in the process of creating this latest Bedford Borough Local Plan.

If you would like to see a full list of the sites put forward within the Parish then visit the link to the associated information on the Borough Council website for Wilstead:


Update On Safety Cameras In The Village

Firstly thank you to those residents who did give their feedback on whether the current CCTV system in the village should encompassed further Village facilities and locations.  Taking on board the feedback the Parish Council have agreed to progress with quotations for the village entrances and the costings will be formally considered at the November Parish Council meeting.

Land At Bedford Road Update

Again thank you to residents who sent comments and ideas on the possible future use of this area.  The Parish Council reviewed and considered all the feedback and it was agreed for the Parish Council to enter into negotiation with Bedford Borough Council on adopting the piece of land on Bedford Road next to the balancing pond. There are various alternatives under consideration for use of the land once acquired and input from residents is still welcome.

Parish Council Vacancies

The Parish Council has a number of vacancies and we shall soon be talking to residents who have already expressed a wish to be involved. However there is likely to be at least one other position available so if you are interested in making a difference then do get in contact with the Clerk, Lizzie, or one of the Parish Councillors to express an interest or just to find out more.

Future Parish Council Meetings

In light of the continued changing government guidance, it is still not possible to indicate whether the November or any subsequent Parish Council meetings will be held face to face in the Village Hall, or have to be held remotely.  

The Parish Council are committed to safeguarding all attendees so please do contact the Clerk in advance of the Parish Council to seek clarity on how the meeting will run.  The next Parish Council meeting is scheduled for Monday 23rd November at 7pm.  

How Do I Contact The Parish Council?

The best way to do is this via email by sending a communication to:


This is a new email address so please save it to your contact list, as it is part of moving the Parish Council communications all over to one cloud-based system.  

Part of the work done to move the Parish Council forwards also includes document storage and information handling to make the Parish Council more efficient with one of the items linked to this being the new stand-alone website.  This continues to be updated and it is worth taking a look at the site as we would welcome input and feedback.  The site can be found at:

h www.wilsteadparishcouncil.org  

As previously advised, the Parish Council office is not open at present, so the best way to contact the Clerk is via email as indicated above.

All Saints Church

As we approach the busiest time of the year for the Church with all the usual events and special services, it is sad to report that due to the Covid restrictions these will not take place in their usual form.

Hence: All Souls Service on 2nd November will not be able to take place.

Remembrance Sunday on 8th November  will be very different. The British Legion have planned a service at the War Memorial but numbers attending will be restricted to 15 to allow for Social Distancing. We will be streaming  the service on Facebook from 10.55am.

We ask that people do not come to the War Memorial. The normal service after the ceremony at the War  Memorial will not be taking place.

The Christmas Tree Festival and Advent Fair will happen. We are planning to put a Christmas tree in the porch and invite local organisations to put a decoration on it.

The Christingle service so popular on Christmas Eve will not be able to take place. This is very sad because  we usually raise in excess of £200 for Keech Cottage Hospice.  If people feel able they could make a donation  and send it to Keech or donations can be made and left in church or given to me and we will make sure Keech  receives  them.

We are having a meeting in November to discuss Christmas services and details will be put on posters and in the  December Newsletter.

Robert Heley

Wixams and Wilstead Community Shopping Club

Back in March when the UK was about to move into lockdown Wilstead resident Sandra Evans started setting up an emergency response to the outbreak to help people having to self-isolate get their shopping. Meanwhile, Leon Staszak and the Wixams Community Group committee were working on a similar response for Wixams. After a short-notice meeting in The Woolpack, a joint venture was established for both villages so that more volunteers could get help to residents in need.

Over 80 volunteers from both villages registered with the Community Shopping Club and between April and June our fantastic volunteers carried out well over 1000 tasks on behalf of others, this included shopping from a list, click & collect collections and prescription collections. This is a fantastic achievement and we'd like to say a massive thank you to every single volunteer for putting themselves out, and even at risk at times, to help others in their time of need. Well done all!

The safety of the volunteers was paramount so a few of the volunteers dedicated a lot of their time helping people to register with priority home deliveries and click & collect services. This meant that we no longer needed to send volunteers into supermarkets and in many cases meant residents could be completely self-sufficient.

As well as all this great work we'd like to also thank some other key people who helped out in different ways:

·     Three ladies took out a lot of their own time to make over 100 masks between them for our volunteers.

·     One very kind person donated two bales of toilet rolls and over 1000 disposable gloves for us to distribute where needed.

·     Five fantastic volunteers helped run the administration of the project including answering emails/calls, running the rota and collecting cheques safely from residents who were without online banking.

We'd like say a big thank you to the following organisations for their very kind donations/grants:

·     Bedfordshire & Luton Community Foundation

·     Briar Bank Park Residents Association

·     Wixams Parish Council

·     Wilstead Parish Council

The Community Shopping Club is still running at this time in case people need our help. If you do need help with shopping or prescription collections, please visit the page below for instructions, contact details and guidance on registering for home deliveries or click & collect services.


Garden Club Quiz - cancelled

Annual Quiz for next meeting

Tuesday 17th November at 2.30

Hopefully the virus will allow us to meet for this annual event although there will be a number of changes. The Committee is working on the details and possibilities with the Village Hall Management. We are very grateful that the Hall is available for use, so we keep strictly within the regulations.

Mary has prepared the quiz with a variety of questions to suit all horticultural abilities. We will be serving refreshments of food and drink and having our grand raffle. Entry will be £2 and the raffle £1 per ticket.

In October we had a very interesting and informative talk by Nigel Jacobs. He took us through the different categories of footpath and bridleway and whether they can be used with vehicles, horses, bicycles and on foot. As a result of the footpath group's hard work only one village footpath still has a stile, making them accessible to most walkers. There are over 10 miles of paths within the village and further ones to link with surrounding villages. Leaflets about Footpaths in Wilstead and Wilstead Circular Walk 1 are available for free if anyone would like to know where they all are, from the P3 group.

We have plans for 2021 in the hope that we will be able to meet either in the afternoon or evening usually on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.

January - Willow Weaving with Guy Lambourne

February- Garden and other Birds with our bird man Peter Holden

March - Woodland Edge Plants with Bev Bond

April - Vertical Gardening with Teresa Clarke

May - Plant swap and Preparing for Summer with Mary

June, July and August - garden visits

September - Overwintering with Martin Roberts

October - Indoor Gardening with group contribution

November- Quiz

December- Meal

If you would like other topics let us know and we will do our best to find a speaker.

We hope you are all keeping safe and well and look forward to seeing you for the quiz.

Maralyn, Lynda, Mary and Viv

Email: wilsteadgardenclub@hotmail.com

Village P3 Footpath Group


The next meeting is planned for Saturday 14th November in the large hall of the Village Hall starting at 10.00am. Being in the large hall will allow the Group to comply with social distancing rules. Please bring a mask. All welcome.

Footpath Work

Most of the paths around the village are easily walkable but there are some way marking and vegetation clearance work to be done in the next few weeks.

If you spot any problems with the path surface or overgrowth or furniture then please contact the number below and the group will try and address it.

Footpaths across the A6

Warning signs (i.e. adult holding child's hand) have been put up either side of the two footpaths (FPs 3&4) which cross the A6 on their way to Houghton Conquest.

It is still hoped that words saying 'Pedestrians Crossing' can be added to these signs to clarify the warning as these signs are also used to indicate where there is no footway/pavement.


The October walk was cancelled because of the virus. It is still uncertain as to when we will be able to walk as a group again. It is planned to walk on Sunday 22nd November but there is some uncertainty whether this will be practical. Please keep an eye on the village noticeboards for updates on this.

Nigel Jacobs

P3 contact, 01234400733

Wilstead Players

At long last we have been able to hold a committee meeting in the Village Hall and have discussed the future plans of The Players. We are all still keen to perform The Wizard of Oz in the future with as much of the same cast as possible. Of course we are unable to pick future performance dates however.

Please be assured that all ticket money we currently hold will be saved for this future production. All the paperwork and audience plans are safe and "ready to go". If, however, you feel that you do not want to leave your ticket reservation with us you can contact the Box Office for a refund in the form of a cheque which you can collect from us by arrangement.

In the absence of our AGM, which would have been held in June this year, we have decided that all membership fees and Patrons' donations will be carried over into 2021.

This prolonged breathing space for The Players will, we hope, mean we shall return as strong as ever.

Jackie Tanswell (01234 740782)

Wilstead Bowls Club

Our green is now closed until next year and Chris Hunt has  started the winter treatment.

David Tatum kindly donated two sacks of daffodil bulbs which Valerie Pontefract and I planted along the playing field fence, hoping there will be a lovely show for the beginning of our outdoor season.

The Short Mat Pairs Final had to be delayed earlier in the year due to Covid 19, so after a practise day, Raf Addio and Mike Penfold played against Barry Gray and Alan Henry.   It was a tight contest with Raf and Mike winning.

Short mats are progressing well on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons at 2pm with only two mats down to accommodate 12 players each day.    Hopefully we will be starting the Herts/Beds League on the first Thursday in November, but with a different format due to the Covid 19.

Our Club is also open on Friday evenings, when some of us are having a game of short mats before we have a drink at the bar, as we' unbale' to play dominoes at the present time.  The bar is open on Sunday lunchtimes 12 noon until 2pm.

Jean Ward -  Secretary

Great Response From The People Of Wilstead

In the light of the current pandemic, we could not hold our usual coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Instead we left collection boxes at various points throughout the village and raised an amazing total of £928.30.          Well done Wilstead!

Many thanks to all who supported Macmillan!

Macmillan Cancer Support do a wonderful job supporting people with cancer, they send their thanks as well!

Best Wishes:

Mary Harris. Alison Dukes, Heather Draycott, Di Pope, Viv Riddle

Readers Letter

Almost every day, there seems to be a fresh bit of dog mess on the pavements near the school. This morning it was on the corner of Whitworth Way. I expect the owners of the dog aren't aware that the current one-way system at the school means that almost every family walks along this pavement on their school run.

It isn't a pleasant thought to imagine children stepping in the mess, walking it onto carpets, others sitting on those carpets and then putting fingers into mouths. When you have more than one child, it's very hard to police every step they take. Not to mention the difficulty seeing the pavement if you're pushing a buggy.

I know the majority of Wilstead dog walkers are responsible. I see them with their little plastic bags and using the red bins. Please be like them, and pick up after your dog - if nothing else, to protect our children's health. Thank you.

(name and address supplied)

Wilstead Endowed Charities

Tea Party

Reluctantly the Trustees have decided to postpone next January's New Year Tea Party. It is very unlikely that Covid rules will have relaxed enough to allow a gathering of around 100 people in the Village Hall in January. Preparation work would have to start now in order to arrange the entertainment, food and raffle with little likelihood that the Tea Party would take place.

The Trustees will review the situation early next year to see if a summer alternative is viable or if we have to wait until the following January to hold the next Tea Party.

The Royal British Legion

Wilstead, Wixams and Houghton Conquest Branch

Remembrance Day will be very different this year, why not support your local Royal British Legion in different ways.

Display a Poppy in your window which can be downloaded here


Also we are encouraging people to ensure Remembrance Sunday is still marked appropriately by taking part in remote and socially distanced Remembrance activity, whether that be watching the service on television or pausing for the two-minute silence in their home or on their doorsteps.

The Royal British Legion are pleased to announce we will be live streaming our remembrance service from Wilstead from 10,55am on Facebook. Please log on and watch the Remembrance Service,  remembering all the brave men and women who has served.

Due to coronavirus this service is a close event and we would request the event is viewed online in accordance with the Government and National Royal B L guidance.

Thank you for your support.