updated 5th October 2020
All Saints Church
I am pleased to report that we have been able to have services for the last five weeks and plan to continue them for the foreseeable future.
There is a service at 11.00 each Sunday. It is a communion service which is said. Unfortunately we are not yet allowed to sing.
All are welcome and social distancing has been maintained. The regulations about groups of 6 does not apply to public worship thankfully.
It does limit us to about 30 people. For that reason we are unlikely to have our special services such as All Souls and Remembrance Sunday would be impossible to hold as we usually get around 150 people in.
We do not yet know about the service at the War Memorial as we are waiting for guidance from the British Legion. Early indications are there will be no parade along Church Road and the service at the Memorial will be limited to individual representatives from uniformed organisations and public dignitaries and limited to a maximum of 30 people.
As regards church events there will be no coffee mornings or Advent Fair or Crib and Christingle service unless the situation miraculously changes.
Any donations to church funds are very welcome as we still have large expenses to pay.
I am pleased to say the work on the church clock has been completed and once the scaffolding is down you will be able to see a beautiful clock completely repainted and re-gilded. Many thanks to Smith's of Derby and to the Parish Council who made a contribution to the cost of the work.
With all good wishes from all at All Saints.
We'll Meet Again,
Garden Club on Tuesday
20th October 2.30pm
With some trepidation and much discussion Wilstead Garden Club resumed meetings albeit at an earlier time than usual. We are extremely grateful to the management and staff of the Village Hall for making a Covid secure venue for us to meet. A bonus also being chairs and equipment were organised for us, thank you all.
The committee were wondering how many members would attend, given the demographic of the group, and we made 'guesstimates' of the number. We were delighted that we could welcome 18 members.
They were entertained by Mary's accounts of the trials, tribulations and successes of this year. It does seem that wind and shelter play major parts in above ground crop success. The same seeds planted in adjacent gardens had significantly different crops, these were runner beans that don't like the wind and sweet corn that does. Much discussion was around where people managed to acquire compost, seeds and plants during lockdown. Some interesting seeds were used from fresh tomato slices to dried peas. Always worth experimenting.
Jackie added to the information giving feedback on her success of her no dig garden and her plans for next season. She also talked about early seed failure because of the sizzling spring, using plug plants, the black fly infestation on the broad beans and many other events. One was the generosity of a stranger who noticed she hadn't any leeks and gave her a pot of baby plants.
There were some plants available at the meeting and Mary informed members that autumn was a good time to split hardy perennials as the ground is still warm enough for them to establish. Members are invited to bring any surplus perennials, which can be bare rooted in a watertight bag, to our meeting in October.
As we look forward to the future we will probably be staying local. We are therefore delighted to have a speaker to tell us about the opportunities to explore the village and further afield using the footpaths. Did you know there is a band of volunteers who make sure these are cleared, bridges and stiles kept repaired and otherwise made safe for us to use?? Did you know you can walk to Elstow, Cotton End, Houghton Conquest and Haynes without using roads. You didn't?
Come and find out on Tuesday 20th October at 2.30pm, in the large village hall, cost £1.50 (please bring correct money). Covid safe rules apply.
We hope to see you again
Mary, Viv, Lynda and Maralyn
Could residents please not park vehicles on grass verges and grassed areas that are not part of private properties. The ground becomes degraded, makes the village unsightly, and isn't necessary when (particularly in new parts of the village) there is ample off road hard parking areas and permitted roadside parking.
The village plan refers to preserving and enhancing green areas both for wildlife and general public amenity, so perhaps we could all respect this objective for all the communities benefit.
(Name and address provided)
Wilshamstead Parish Council
Potential Plans To Increase Safety Cameras In The Village
Following the recent installation of CCTV in the Village at the crossroads, the Parish Council have been looking at possibly extending the current CCTV system in the village to encompass further village facilities and locations such as the Jubilee Centre, Bowls Club, and village entrances.
Councillors are mindful of recent issues in the village that have been experienced, such as, vandalism, and a range of anti-social behaviour including littering and drug taking. So, it is hoped the installation of further cameras would act as a deterrent.
The cost of the additional cameras would be funded from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) monies the Parish Council has received from the Whitworth Way development.
The Council would be interested in residents' views on this proposal, please contact the Clerk or an individual Councillor to give feedback.
Further Reminder Regarding Inconsiderate Parking On Highway Verges
The Parish Council would again like to kindly remind all residents to park considerately in the Village, being mindful of the highways verge.
Parking vehicles on a grass verge can seem not to cause harm, however, it does do a lot of damage to the open spaces and landscaped areas which are there to enhance the rural setting.
Land At Bedford Road
The Parish Council has the opportunity to adopt the piece of land on Bedford Road next to the balancing pond which has previously had travellers camped on it. The Parish Council feel the site could be developed for recreational facilities for residents from both Wilstead and Wixams.
It is thought that the site would be big enough for some covered seating, skateboard activities and perhaps some outdoor gym equipment. There have been some initial discussions with the Borough Council regarding the site and the Parish Council taking on the area in the near future.
If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions on the above then please do let Lizzie, the Clerk, know.
Future Parish Council Meetings
In light of the ever-changing government guidance, it is not possible to indicate whether the October and 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 12th October 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
Contacting The Parish Council
As previously advised, the Parish Council office is not open at present, so the best way to contact the Clerk is via email on
As some of you probably know, my late husband John used to drive the Flitabus that came into the village once a week to take members of the community into Bedford for shopping.
As John's widow I have been approached by the Flitabus Team as to whether the senior members of Wilstead would be interested if the Flitabus came into the village once a month to take them to Milton Keyes. You will only need your bus pass as the outing would be free.
Can you please email the village website at email@example.com if you or a friend would be interested and I will send the messages back to Flitabus.
Watch This Space
Flit Vale - Wildlife Trust
We are offering two mini-events in the next couple of months. Groups will be limited to six in total and booking ahead is essential. Social distancing will be observed but mask wearing will be optional
Saturday 10th October
Tree ID Walk with Colin Carpenter,
Community Tree Trust - Maulden Woods
One session - 10.00 -12.00
Saturday 7th November
Geology Walk with Derek Turner,
BNHS Geology Group
Starting from Maulden Church Meadows
Two sessions: 10.00-12.00 or 13.30-15.30
(if there are insufficient bookings then the two sessions will become one morning session)
Bookings: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Ann on 07580 178889 between 6 and 8 pm or at weekends.
The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Registered charity number: 1000412
Wilstead Village Hall AGM
On Monday 21st September Wilstead Village Hall held its AGM, postponed from May.
Unfortunately, only Committee members attended and so the new Committee has very few changes to the previous one.
Paul Buckley is Chairman, Gail Maskell is the Treasurer and Angela Fosbrook is the Secretary. The rest of the Committee comprises of Roisin Whittle (booking secretary), Linda Hiscott, Barbara Seamark, Ray Terry, Dave Fosbrook, Zahir Mohammed, Ann Bromley and representatives from groups who hire the Hall regularly.
Next year some people will be standing down and it's not too late to consider supporting the Hall by joining the friendly bunch of volunteers who at present form a Committee.
Despite the “rule of 6” brought out earlier in the month, we were able to hold a meeting in the Hall because there are Covid-19 procedures in place and we adhered to them. Some of our regular hirers have been using the Hall too following the procedures.
However, due to the present situation of an increase in Covid-19 cases, I am sure that there will be new measures and restrictions in place by the time you read this. I will endeavour to put relevant information on the Wilstead Community website and Facebook about the Hall as things develop.
For further information, please contact me.
Wilstead Bowls Club
We have been able to have drawn pairs on Wednesdays starting at 8.30pm, which were enjoyable to those members who are able to attend, following by a refreshing drink in the bar, keeping social distances.
On Friday evenings from 5.30pm for an hour to an hour and a half members can play either pairs or triples, and afterwards are able to have a drink in the clubhouse.
Unfortunately the outdoor season will be closing soon. This will either be the end of September or early October depending when Progreen want to start fertilizing the green during the winter.
We have just started short mats with the new guidelines set out by the Government, but unfortunately since the latest news on the 22nd September we are unsure of the outcome for all indoor sports at the present time.
All members have being trying to keep in contact with each other, by phone, email, and meeting when going for walks etc.
We were all hoping for better news by now, so that we can enjoy the sport that we love.
Flu Clinics 2020 – A Reminder
Catch Up Clinic – Saturday 31st October
There is still time for patients in the 'at risk 'group to book an appointment. The Clinic will follow government guideline:
One way system into and out of the surgery will be in place.
Abiding by the 2 metre rule
Markers will be on the floor for patients to stand and queue and more forward when called. You may be required to queue outside for a short period.
Patients not to attend earlier than their appointment time to avoid unnecessary long queues and crowding.
We ask patients not to attend the practice if they or a member of their family has any COVID symptoms such as fever, cough, loss of sense of taste or smell.
Facing coverings to be worn please
Please wear short sleeved easy to remove clothing to facilitate easy vaccination.
Appointments are available to book via the online system if you have a systemone password or call 01525 631390
Oliver Street Surgery
Saturday 10th October at the Oliver Street Surgery
Patients are reminded that flu can affect anyone. But if you have a long-term health condition the effects of flu can make it worse even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well. Appointments are available for all patients within the 'at risk group as well as people on the NHS Shielded Patients List for COVID-19.
The list of conditions isn't definitive and it is always an issue of clinical judgement. Your GP can assess you to take into account the risk of flu making worse any underlying illness you may have, as well as the risk of serious illness from flu itself.
Please book your appointment online.
Wilstead Good Neighbour Scheme
A Further Update on Our Good Neighbours and Coffee Club
Our Good Neighbours group and our neighbours Wixams Community Group have discussed and agreed that it would make better use of both resources to combine our Good Neighbours activities and become one group, led by Wilstead.
We were looking to a September time frame to formalise this process as both groups have to give 21 days notice to hold a Special General Meeting to allow all to voice any concerns/agree to the proposal, plus we had to find a village hall open to hold such a meeting and conduct it is accordance with prevailing health guidelines. Needless to say this could not go ahead as planned.
The pandemic highlighted the limitations of the Wilstead group, mostly due to the majority of the volunteers being in the 'at risk age group' as defined by NHS guidelines. Wixams Community group which has the Good Neighbours and the Shopping Club service as part of their remit are looking to recruit many of those volunteers to cross over and join the Good Neighbours.
Within the limitations of the pandemic restrictions I have polled all registered Good Neighbours members and had no negative comments against the merger, so I have formally indicated to the Wixams Chairman of going ahead with the project and sorting a date to finalise the details needed. Wilstead will be the lead member. As more information comes to hand I will publish here and put information onto the Village website as well.
Regarding current day-to-day operations, our group is still active albeit with a reduced number of volunteers, but there are some restrictions to our activities and what we are able to undertake. We are only taking on those requests for urgent appointments to limit the exposure of all.
Under guidance from BRCC we should observe certain procedures if we accept taking a villager (client) to an appointment. The client has to have and wear their own face mask and be on their own. The volunteer must also wear their own face mask. The client must be 'ambulatory', not needing assistance to get to or from the vehicle, preferably without additional walking aids.
If a walking aid must be used the volunteer must wear protective gloves to handle the aid and use a sanitiser spray to wipe the aid down before placing it in their vehicle. The client should not have any luggage (other than handbag) and must sit in the rear seat opposite the driver and preferably have a window open. A seat cover should be used over fabric seats (which we can supply). A sanitiser spray must also be used to wipe down seats, door handles, seat belts and anything the client could have touched after job completion. The volunteer should not take the client into any premises.
The Phone Holder will already have informed the client of the above before accepting the job and contacting the volunteer. Also the Phone Holder will also have obtained assurances that the client is not showing any signs of Covid 19 symptoms, nor been in any situation where contact with an infected person was possible. We can assist in obtaining the necessary above PPE/Cleaning items if required.
Thursday Coffee Club meetings are still on hold and most likely will be so until the 'Rule of Six' imposed by Government is changed. As soon as possible we will do our best to open it up again as we are all missing it.
Look after yourselves and keep well.
Chairman WGNS – 01234 740854
WGNS Phone 07807 408928
Bedford Borough Councillor Report
Coronavirus in Bedford Borough
As of 2nd September there had been 1447 cases of Coronavirus in Bedford Borough with 26,823 individual tests. This is a positive test rate of 5.4%. In the preceding 7 days there had been 26 new cases of Coronavirus in the Borough, up from 21 cases the previous week. The Borough was been taken off the Government's 'Area of Concern' list, but the advice to follow the guidance on hand-washing, face masks and social distancing remains in place.
A new walk-in testing centre in Bedford was opened for residents showing symptoms of Coronavirus. The testing site is located at Prebend Street Car Park, Bedford. While one can just walk in and queue for a test, it's preferable to book an appointment. The drive through testing centre at Borough Hall remains open seven days a week. Updated advice from the Borough Council is available online.
A new system has been put in place for people to register interest in Planning Applications and receive updates. This will allow people to register for ward-wide details or just for a specific application and receive updates. I have consistently criticised the Borough's Planning portal as a minefield of maps and data that is difficult to negotiate.
Green waste collections have now returned to normal, with fortnightly collections resumed from 17th August.
Borough Leisure Services Facilities - Fusion
As of early September, other than Mowsbury Golf Course, Fusion Lifestyle had still not opened any of the swimming pools or leisure centres that it operates on behalf of the Borough Council, despite permission being given nationally for leisure centres to re-open. The situation remained unclear at the time of writing.
Bedford Borough Local Plan
The consultation on the Borough Council's 'Issues & Options' for the next Local Plan closed on 4th September. I sent in a response, covering both Wilstead and Wixams. In general, I made the following points:
Wixams Station needs to be prioritised over any other new station and nothing should be done which might otherwise compromise it.
Wixams should not be further expanded, and efforts should be focussed on delivering what was originally promised rather than looking to further expand.
The Borough must consult with Wistead PC and the Neighbourhood Plan Group with regard to any proposed development in Wilstead.
During the last Local Plan, two large sites were submitted along the Wilstead side of the A6 (one opposite the Extracare site and the other towards Briar bank Park). If these sites are resubmitted then the Borough should reject them.
There should be no housing 'sprawl' between Wilstead and Wixams and a clear gap should be preserved between the two villages.
G-Park Development Wixams
This matter is still ongoing and I have been that after the close of the consultation, the concerns of the Environment officers remain. The Borough could have refused the application, but at the time of writing was engaging with the applicant to discuss options for revising the scheme. I suggested to Planning that they should refuse the scheme now and then look to change the use of the site back to housing, however a compromise solution has been suggested.
Wilstead Footpath 7
There is a proposals to re-route a section of Wilstead Footpath 7. Having spoken to Parish Councils, the response was universally supportive and the P3 Footpath Group is also in favour.
I have written to the NHS department for pharmacy licences, stating that there was no need for a second pharmacy at Wixams, as this would only damage the existing pharmacy at Wilstead. The original decision to refuse a licence had been appealed by the applicant and the final decision by the licensing authority was not known at time of writing.
Mobile Barber – Wixams
The mobile barber has made an application to renew their licence, operating from the grassed area along Southern Cross. Most people seem supportive that the licence should be renewed and I have no objections either.
A section of the B530 is due to see repair work starting from 14th September. This will result in temporary lights and from October a full closure. The works around Kempston Hardwick will go on until December and may well have an effect on traffic along the A6 past Wixams and Wilstead as drivers may opt for alternative routes, despite the official signed diversion being through Kempston.
Borough Ward Boundary Review
The deadline for public responses to the review was 20th July and at the time of writing the Boundary Commission was considering proposals. They expected to produce a first draft of their recommendations on 29th September. These will then be subject to a further period of consultation.
Government Consultation On Verge Parking
The Government has undertaken a public consultation on verge parking, with one option being a nationwide ban. Some people park dangerously and inconsiderately and others churning up grass verges without a thought. I do think on this issue means tougher measures are needed.
Details of the consultation can be found online.
Cllr. Graeme Coombes
Wilshamstead ward September 2020