Wilstead Newsletter

updated  8th May2021



Borough Councillor Report

Coronavirus in Bedford Borough

At the time of writing this report, the local case rate was falling overall and rate of infection in over 60s was very low. The proportion of individuals testing positive continued to fall. Cases were falling in all age groups. The situation at Bedford Hospital improved and the number of COVID-related deaths fell. However as the lockdown restrictions are eased we expected to see a rise in cases.  This will be reported on again next month.

From early April all adults were be eligible for twice weekly rapid tests, which could be ordered online or collected from the Bunyan Centre, Prebend Street or Polhill Avenue.

As you know, from April there was further easing of the restrictions, including the opening of indoor leisure facilities, libraries, personal care services and non-essential retail. Restaurants and pubs opened for outdoor service.

As you go out and meet with others please observe the rules, and continue to act as if you have the virus and those around you do too. Remember Hands – Face – Space – Fresh Air.

Wilshamstead ward registered 3 cases of COVID during the week 29th March – 4th April.

Vaccine Rollout

As of 8th April:

·     93% of elderly care home residents had received their first dose.

·     76% of elderly care home staff had received their first dose of the vaccine.

·     47% of the over 80s had received their second dose of the vaccine.

·     Modelling had suggested that 6,000 deaths had been prevented this year to March due to the introduction of the vaccination which reduced transmission; severe illness; hospitalisation; and death.

·     Some issues regarding vaccine safety had emerged, whereby real world data had started to provide information on extremely rare side-effects and had been expected.

·     It was acknowledged that any safety concerns would create vaccine anxiety, however the impact of the infection itself must not be forgotten.

·     Those who have had the AstraZeneca vaccine as their 1st dose are advised to continue with the AstraZeneca vaccine for their 2nd dose.

·     The emergence of new variants would become apparent in the next few months, therefore the likelihood to receive a booster was probable in the autumn.  Scientists also did not know for how long the current vaccinations will remain effective.

East West Rail Consultation

The latest round of EWR consultation has now opened. One point of particular controversy over the 'emerging preferred option' is that it affects up to 97 properties just to the north of Bedford town centre, around the Poets area. Residents in the properties affected were only informed the day before the consultation that there property may be subject to a CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order).

The consultation is already controversial and likely to continue to be so, with a number of groups having formed to object to the proposed route corridor.

I would encourage everyone in Wixams and Wilstead to respond to the consultation by the closing date of Wednesday 9th June. You can view all documents and respond on their website:


Ward Boundary Review

The Boundary Commission has changed the timetable for its recommendations.  Tthere are expected to be significant revisions to the draft recommendations, therefore a new draft will be released on Tuesday 11th May with a further round of consultation expected to last for 8 weeks.

The final recommendations will then be released on Tuesday 31st August.

Wixams Station

The April meeting of the Wixams Station Board heard that good progress continued to be made. Stage 2A had been completed and work was started on stage 2B. A meeting has been held to discuss the planning application strategy. Engineering surveys were completed and the delays outlined at the previous meeting have been mitigated, with a completion date of June 2024 now back on track. Ecological surveys have started and will run through to July 2021.

A list of 6 platform layout options was presented and this has been narrowed down to a shortlist of 3 for appraisal and development. This will be furthered narrowed down to a single option in due course.

General Council Matters

COVID test centres in Bedford

There is continued tested in Bedford at Borough Hall and Prebend Street car parks as well as University of Bedfordshire's Polhill Campus

Test results from these sites should come back with 24-72 hours. You can find further details on testing on the government webpages, as well as at:


Launch of free rapid Covid testing for workers without symptoms at the Bunyan Centre

Bedford residents who are in contact with other members of the public as part of their work are now able to access free, rapid Covid-19 (coronavirus) tests and are encouraged to take a test twice a week.

This includes retail workers, childminders, bus and taxi drivers, construction workers and tradespeople like plumbers or electricians. Testing is also available for pregnant women and their partners prior to attending key maternity appointments.

Bedford Borough Council, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, has launched the free community testing initiative for workers without symptoms. The self-administered test takes 10 minutes and the results are usually sent by text message within an hour. A negative rapid test does not completely rule out infection, so it is important that individuals and business continue to follow COVID-secure guidelines.

The new 'no symptom' rapid test site is located at the John Bunyan Centre, Mile Road, MK42 9TS.

COVID-19: Increased Support If You Need to Self-Isolate

Bedford Borough is making the Test and Trace Support Payment available to more people and has increased the Support Payment to £700. This means this payment will cover the earnings of someone working full time on the Living Wage.

In Bedford Borough, an individual is eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment if:

·     they have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, and

·     have responded to the Test and Trace messages about their contacts, and

·     are unable to work from home, and


·     are currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit, or

·     are on a low income (household earns less than £25,000 per year) and can show that self-isolation will result in financial hardship

If anyone has any symptoms of coronavirus, high temperature, new continuous cough, loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, it is really important that they self-isolate and book at test at:


Also, anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate, must do so for the full amount of time they are told. Someone may not test positive or show symptoms straight away, but could still be infectious and spread the virus to others, as it can take 10 days to develop the symptoms.

You can apply for this payment and find out more by visiting


Cllr. Graeme Coombes

Village P3 Footpath Group


The May meeting is planned for Saturday 8th May and should be virtual (zoom).

Group members will again be reporting on the footpaths and bridleways in the Parish which they will have recently surveyed, identifying any problems/issues with their path.

Hopefully by the time of the following meeting on Saturday July 10th we will be able to resume our normal meetings in the Village Hall.

Borough Paths

Some of the Group have volunteered to help the Borough undertake Rights of Way surveys in other parishes across the Borough. So hopefully, following some training by the Borough, a group will go to other parts of the Borough and look at all the paths in one or more parishes.

Each Right of Way in the Borough is surveyed every six years so each year around 160 miles of paths need to be surveyed and any problems highlighted.  Any help the Group can give will be useful and will allow officers to concentrate on sorting out any problems on the Rights of Way network  in the Borough.

State of the Paths

The mud and water on the paths has now all disappeared following the recent good weather leaving the paths nice and dry, if a little rutted in places.

This means we will be able to maintain the paths as and when they need it.

Footpath Work

Minor footpath work has continued with some new waymark discs and yellow caps put on waymark posts.

As the paths have been so well walked over the past few months there is currently little strimming/mowing required. It is expected however that some paths and some hedges/overgrowth will need cutting back in the near future.

If you do spot any problems with the path surface or overgrowth or stiles/waymark posts etc then please contact the number below and the group will try and address it.


Hopefully we will be able to resume the monthly walks in the near future, perhaps towards the end of May. Keep an eye out for posters on the noticeboards.

Just a reminder that the June walk has been re-arranged for Friday 25th June. Details will be in the next Newsletter.

If you would like to be put on the Group's emailing list regarding these walks then please contact the number below.

Below are provisional dates for rest of the walks in 2021:

Friday 25th June Evening, Friday 16th July Evening, Friday 6th August Evening, Sunday 5th September Afternoon, Sunday 10th October Morning, Sunday 21st November

Nigel Jacobs

P3 contact, 01234400733

Wilstead Village Hall


Wilstead Village Hall opened on 12th April  for 'Supervised Activities For Children Under 18' (not parties) etc and hopefully the Hall's 'road map' out of lockdown will continue, that is unless there are any changes made by Government.

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. A wedding, reception or commemorative event like a wake may now have up to 30 guests.

From Monday 21st June the plan is that there will be a lifting of the restrictions on social contact and type of events. However, we must follow any guidance if given nearer the time before all parties, big meetings and everything may be able to take place as they used to!

A reminder that 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

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

Services have now resumed at All Saints Church. The service is at 11.00am each Sunday.  We have now had three services with increased congregations. Some new people have joined, having just moved into Wilstead. This is encouraging.

Looking to the future, Stephen Toze last service will be on Sunday 20th June. A gentle reminder from the April Newsletter that we are hoping to arrange a farewell for him. We ask that contributions to a retirement gift may be made payable to Wilstead Parochial Church Council and given to Mrs J Brooks, 138 Cotton End Road, Mrs A Cockings, 17 Maple Close, Briar Bank or Mr R Heley, 150 Cotton End Road. A cash contribution is also acceptable. May I thank all those people who have donated so far.

As regards services after June we don't know at the present time who will be taking the services.

We will have no vicar for some time, and will rely on other clergy in the Deanery to help us out.

Times of services may vary as will the type of service. We hope we shall be able to have a service each week.

Obviously with the COVID restrictions in place until at least 21st June we are not able to organise fund raising activities, but of course we still have to pay our dues to the Diocese -  £20,000  this year - and cover the running expenses of keeping the Church open.

We do have a scheme whereby people can contribute to the Parish Giving Scheme as it is known. Basically you make a monthly contribution which is paid to the Church on the first of each month, and it can also be gift aided. You don't have to come to Church and we do have people who contribute in this way.  I can give details and explain the scheme to anybody who wishes to support the Church .

With every thanks and blessing

Robert Heley

Bowls Club News

We are having an Open Day on Sunday 30th May, starting at 10am until 4 pm, and would like to see everyone who may be interested in the game of bowls to come and have a look around and have a go, if they so wish.

Look forward to seeing you there.

We have already been having rolls up on our green, keeping our social distances, so  hope the weather stays fine for us.

Some games and leagues are being played early May, but there will be no refreshments until the government guidelines allow us.

The County competitions have changed the order of play for the ladies, now starting with the single's competition.   The pairs, triples, rinks and fours are all reducing the ends they have to play and how many bowls to use.

Hopefully by next month we may gradually get back to normal.

Take care and stay safe.

Jean Ward -  Secretary

Wilstead Evangelical Church News

What have you missed most over the past year? Seeing family is probably high on most people's lists, and for our Church, being together as a Church family is something we've really missed.

We've also missed being able to see many of you from the Village at our usual harvest meals in the Village Hall, holiday Bible club, Carols in the village hall at Christmas, and Stay and Play each week.

As a Church, we've carried on our weekly services, although these had to be via Zoom for several months. Now we're meeting in our Church building again – although there are lots of new regulations we have to follow. We're looking forward to the day we can sing together again!

We've even had to jump into the 21st century by installing Wi-Fi in our building, so we can put our services on Zoom as well, for those who are shielding or unable to join us in person. This also means that people who want to see what our services are like can have a taster from home too.

We're hoping to restart some of our usual events again soon. And as ever, you're always welcome to join us – whether that's in our building or on Zoom. For details, just see our website at t "_blank" www.wilstead.org or contact Mark and Angela on 741647.

The Garden Club Will Meet Again

Fingers crossed the regulations will allow us to meet again on Tuesday 18th May at 2.30pm  in the Village Hall.  Covid regulations will apply so please wear a mask unless you are exempt and be prepared for a longer registration. The usual entrance of £1.50 will apply but there will be no raffle. Don't forget your bags to take away your new plants.

May is our Plant Swap! We will be displaying plants to swap outside the hall as we have to use the large hall for the meeting. Mary will be giving a talk on how to keep our flowers flowering including how to Chelsea chop. She will also be on hand to tell you what your new plant is and how to care for it.

Resist planting indoor grown plants and tender annuals until frosts have stopped, usually the end of May. One cold night can kill months of tender care.

Although we call ourselves the Garden Club the meetings and plant swap are open to everyone. If you have sown more seeds than you can use or just want one particular plant, come and join us. Plants to swap should be either in compost in a container or plastic bag and any split larger perennials should be in wrapping to prevent soil leak.

A fun thing to do with your left over flower seeds is to do some surprise planting. Mix compost with a small amount of flour, add your seeds and mix well. Add a small amount of water to bring the mix together and form the mixture into balls or press into ice cube trays and allow to dry. Now you are ready to scatter them and see what comes up!

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Maralyn, Mary, Viv and Lynda


Reader's Letter

A Letter Of Thanks

May I please use the Newsletter to thank someone who came to my aid during a nasty incident on Cotton End Road recently.

I had had the audacity to stare at a passing motorist who was disturbing the peaceful village atmosphere in an excessively noisy sports car. This aggressive motorist then screeched to a halt and got out of the car to confront me in a very threatening manner. Fortunately, the incident was witnessed by a passing cyclist who stopped and intervened, taking much of the bully's vitriol himself.

I don't know if he was just passing through and not a Wilstead resident, but hope he will read this. I was so grateful to have some backup. Being almost 75 years old it left me very shaken and I'm not sure how things would have progressed without his kind intervention.

We should not be intimidated by such antisocial behaviour from motorists. Please stand up to bullies.

Name and address supplied

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.

RBL 100 - a century of service

The Royal British Legion Centenary falls on Saturday 15th May. The Centenary programme will bring together nations, individuals and communities to celebrate the tremendous achievements of the Legion over the last 100 years.

The RBL was formed in May 1921 by the merger of four veterans' associations of the First World War. Its purpose was to provide help to veterans and their families in need, to campaign authorities for improved conditions, and to champion Remembrance.

In 1921, British Legion Founder and President Earl Haig announced that he wished Armistice Day on 11th November to be known henceforth as Remembrance Day and that it would be a 'Poppy Day' to raise funds for veterans' relief. The nation rallied to his call, wearing all 8 million of the poppies available and establishing a tradition to last a century.

The RBL Centenary isn't only about celebrating our past. It's as much about looking to our future. We will be looking at how the Legion can stay abreast of ever-changing welfare needs while delivering a better and more seamless journey to those who come to us with needs or to offer us their help.

Wilstead Pre-School

Hello everyone I hope you are keeping safe and well. We continue to be as busy as ever!

If you wish to add your child to our waiting list for September or next year I would urge you to submit an admissions form. You can email us at t "_blank" admin@wilstead-preschool.co.uk and request an admissions form.

We currently have a large waiting list for the next academic year so we may not be able to offer you a place but please contact us.

May I take this opportunity to thank our wonderful families for their amazing support during this past very difficult year. Their understanding and compassion has made our job so much easier and they should feel immensely proud of their fantastic children who have shown so much resilience and make us smile everyday!

Thank you


Setting Manager

Wilshamstead Parish Council

Accessing Parish Council Meetings Latest

We are hoping that our next meeting - Monday 24th May at 7.00pm - will be at the Village Hall and will consist of the AGM as well as normal business. The public should be able to attend in person unless numbers and continuing social distancing requirements preclude this, in which case alternative arrangements will be made.

The date for this year's Annual Parish Electors Meeting will be on Monday 21st June at 7pm, and this meeting will be an opportunity for the village to look forward.

At our April meeting we welcomed a new member of the Council, Carol Balkham, and look forward very much to working with her in the future. Thanks for all his past expert contributions are due to Bernard Crease who has resigned recently.

Other items of interest from the April meeting:

Parish Council Noticeboards

The noticeboard outside the Village Hall has fallen to pieces and been taken away. The Parish Council are investigating a maintenance-free modern replacement plus the possibility of replacing and increasing the number of other boards in the village.

Average Speed Cameras latest

A meeting has been arranged with Borough Council Highways Engineers to discuss the options for additional speed cameras in the village. In order for our request to have any priority, we are advised that we will have to make a significant contribution towards the high cost involved, the Parish Council have agreed this must be proactively pursued, given it is a persistent issue that impacts all residents.

Village Car Park (Whitworth Way) markings

The Parish Council have recently installed tyre stoppers at the Eastern side of the village car park to prevent cars reversing into the brick wall. These require parking bays to be marked out so that it is obvious where they are located.  This is being progressed, so although it is not confirmed when the lineage will be installed, the Borough Council are currently adding this to their programme of works.  


There have been recent complaints about smoke from bonfires on the site so the Parish Council are developing a new policy to minimise any nuisance in the future.  If tenants are uncertain about how to dispose of their waste then please do contact the Parish Council in the first instance, or the Allotment Society, for advice.

CCTV Community Safety Cameras Update

The Parish Council decided not to extend the CCTV coverage in the village to take in the village entrances and underpass to Wixams. Further cameras are therefore not proposed at present.

Playground at Whitworth Way reminder

Please be mindful that the metal multi-use climber and slide at the Whitworth Way playground area was taped off from the public as the ground underneath had become overgrown and unsafe, with some concrete fixings exposed. The tape has since been torn off and children are back using the climber. This is against Parish Council advice. We are urgently seeking quotations to have the surface comprehensively renovated, on a sound base and part of the structure repaired.  

Parish Council Vacancies

We have vacancies for two councillors at present. If you wish to find out more, please contact Lizzie, the Parish Clerk, as shown below.

Parish Council Website

We continue to keep the Parish Council Website:

www.wilsteadparishcouncil.org up to date and encourage parishioners to visit it, if they wish to learn more about what we do.

Neighbourhood Plan Response Reminder

As stated on the front page of this Newsletter the consultation period for the Plan has been extended until Monday 31st May. Thanks to all of those who have already responded to the consultation, it has been great to see so many people engaging in this.

If you haven't done yet, please do so. Access together with a downloadable Comment Sheet is via the Village website:

http://www.wilsteadvillage.org.uk or you can request a printed version by getting in touch with the Parish Clerk.

Every response is vital to demonstrate that our plan is approved by a large proportion of our residents.

East West Rail Consultation

There has been lots of recent publicity regarding this on-going consultation which runs until Wednesday 9th June.  It is really important that Borough residents have their say on the many significant changes that are being proposed for the local area, including Bedford train station.  East West Rail are running online public consultation events, with lots of information available at:


As the Borough Council also wish to hear residents views on the consultation proposals, they are holding some public meetings.  How to engage in this, or to find out what the Local Authority are doing regarding the proposed route, can be found by visiting: https://www.bedford.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/have-your-say/consultations/east-west-rail-consultation/

Bedford Borough Council Local Plan Next Steps

Work is already under way by the Local Authority to look at where development in the Borough should go next.  The Planning Policy Officers have detailed that the next Local Plan Consultation is scheduled to start at the end of June 2021 to make sure the final draft of the is submitted for examination by January 2023. This consultation will be focused on how to shape the emerging development strategy options.  Again, it is really important that residents give their feedback to this, the provisional dates for the consultation are from  Monday 28th June to Friday 3rd September.

Contacting The Parish Council

The best way to contact the Parish Council is to email Lizzie, the Parish Clerk at:

office@wilsteadparishcouncil.org, alternatively you can call 01234 743152 or write to PO Box 1548, Bedford, MK44 5AX

Wilstead Neighbourhood Plan

Having your say on the future of Wilstead

First of all a big thank you to all of those who have already responded to the Neighbourhood Plan consultation.

If you haven't done so yet please do. Every response is vital to demonstrate that our plan is approved by a large proportion of the residents.  Even if you just say you agree with the plan, please do so but do add anything else if you wish.

You can make your comments on line -  just go to:


or fill in the comment sheet delivered to every house and return it to us either by email to office@wilsteadparishcouncil.org or drop it into the special post-box on the village hall gate.

Remember everyone in the household can respond separately and every response counts.  Do please encourage them and your neighbours.

We need to be overwhelmed by the number of responses!

In order to receive as many responses as possible,

the deadline has been extended until 31st May

Relaunch of Neighbourhood Watch - Would you like to Volunteer?

In 2000 a small group of volunteers met to take over the running of Wilstead Neighbourhood Watch.  With Area Coordinator Gerald Gale the group held regular meetings which were often attended by the local Beat Police Officer or PCSO.  These meetings were useful for an exchange of views, discussion on local crime matters and concerns.  There was also the opportunity to attend quarterly meeting at the Police HQ to listen to excellent speakers on a whole range of interesting subjects.  The group were involved in the publication of the monthly Wilstead Newsletter which has expanded in size to the current format.  This involvement continues and we are grateful to the volunteers who deliver the Newsletter each month.

With time, the number of volunteers involved in Wilstead Neighbourhood Watch has reduced and the role within the community has changed with the Parish Council setting a new Quarterly Community Priority for the Police, partners and local residents to work towards.

Wilstead Neighbourhood Watch group members continue to receive Alerts and survey requests from the Police and other partners.  Recorded Crimes, Alerts and suspicious incidents are published in the Newsletter but often this information is available earlier on social media.

As lockdown is eased it is felt that this is a good time to ask for volunteers to consider becoming involved in Wilstead Neighbourhood Watch which still has a role to play in the community.  Are you interested in the role of Area Coordinator?  Would you like to lead your own small team? Would you like to know more?

Please contact Wilstead Neighbourhood Watch at

Wilstead.newsletter@gmail.com or

Gerald Gale 740972 and Brian Jones 741931