Wilstead Newsletter updated 22/01/2020

All Saints Church

I am pleased to report that the Christmas Tree Festival and Advent Fair raised £654.00 for Church Funds.

Many thanks to the organisations who provided all the trees and associated decorations to make our church look wonderful.

The trees will stay until after Christmas. We plan to clear them out on the weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th January and the church will be open for that.

We look forward to our Christmas services. Some good news is that the solar panels are now generating income for us. It has taken a long  time to set them up.

With all best wishes for 2020

Robert Heley

Bowls Club News

In December Barbara Carter became the Ladies County President of Bowls Bedfordshire for 2020.    This is a great honour for her and Wilstead Bowls Club.

At the start of the outdoor season in April, there will be a church service at All Saints, Wilstead.   Details of this nearer the time.

Members of our club wish her well in her year of office.

After our fabulous Xmas coffee morning with mince pies and sherry, and with over 50 raffle prizes, our next one will be the first Wednesday in February, which is Wednesday 5th February from 10.30am until 12 noon.

We are open for short mats every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon at 2pm and on  Wednesday evening at 7pm.   Also the Thursday Evening League is progressing well, with Wilstead Cavaliers top at the moment, but that can all change!

Every Friday evening the Domino League is enjoyed by most and Roy Whiffin is at the top of the league with the highest score at present. You can always come to socialise  and enjoy a drink at the bar.   We are also open  Sunday lunchtimes 12 noon until 2pm.

Jean Ward  -  Secretary

Dig Less –  and Enjoy Your Garden More

The committee have been working on plans for 2020 and start with a talk about 'No Dig Gardening' by Jackie Lloyd. What a relief that would be in our heavy clay soils.

In February we are having a visit by a gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show to talk about peonies and in March we welcome back Peter Holden for another talk about birds in our gardens.

A full list of topics and visits will be available at the January meeting.

Open gardens will be around the Whitworth Way area. If there is anyone (you don't have to be a garden club member) who would like to open their garden, please let us know.

Our next meeting is Tuesday 21st January, with Jackie's talk.  We meet in the small Village Hall at 8 pm and admission is £1.50 which includes refreshments.

Do come along and join us, we are a very friendly and welcoming group.

Maralyn, Viv, Mary and Lynda

The Garden Club Committee

A message from Lynne Newbury

I would like to thank everyone who came to my retirement party on Saturday 14th December.  Thank you so much for all the wonderful cards, presents and good wishes, but most of all thank you for coming along to help me mark the end of 33 years looking after Wilstead Primary School.

I am sad to leave after such a long time, but it was lovely to be surrounded by family and so many of the friends I have made over the years.  I'm now looking forward to having time to spend with my family and perhaps a few holidays – not to mention being able to have a little lie-in, in the mornings.

Thank you all again.


Mobile Library

In responses to the recent Neighbourhood Plan Survey, 80% of the respondents answered that they never use the Mobile Library.

This may be that people are not aware of it and in the spirit of the phrase: “Use it or Lose it” we publish here the timetable of Mobile Library visits to the village from January to March 2020:

Every Wednesday:  

Jan 8 & 22, February 5 & 19, March 4 &18

Black Hat Close: 13.55 to 14.10

76 Cotton End Road: 14.15 to 14.30

Methodist Church: 15.05 to 15.45

Vicarage Lane layby: 15.50 to 16.10

The library also calls at Wilstead Primary school from 14.35 to 15.05 for school use only.

Players News

We hope you all enjoyed the Christmas festivities and trust it's not too late to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2020.

On the Saturday before Christmas a party of Players, Young and old, were due to go on a backstage tour of MK Theatre. This promised to be really interesting and we were all looking forward to going behind the scenes during their Panto season.

Back in Wilstead we are well into rehearsals for 'The Wizard of Oz', adapted by our very own Charlotte Minards. Enthusiastic Director, Sam Lee, puts the cast (all ages from 8 to 73!) through their paces, acting, singing and dancing. Performances will be on Friday and Saturday, 20th and 21st March, with two performances on the Saturday. Details of tickets and Box Office dates will be in next month's Newsletter.

Jackie Tanswell  (01234 740782)

Walking Football Sessions

From Thursday 9th January 2019 we will be running a session each week from 2-3pm on the all weather pitches at Wixams

For more information – email




Wilshamstead Parish Council

Planning Update

Recently the Planning Committee of Bedford Borough Council refused the application 19/01211/MAO land East of Luton Road for up to 80 houses.  The Parish Council again sent representation to this meeting to express in person their many concerns over this site being unsuitable.

As residents are aware, there continue to be a number of opportunistic applications in the village and across the Borough.  The Parish Council have been informed by the Borough Council that they are awaiting the Inspectors of the Local Plan to issue a letter which will outline whether they feel that the Local Plan is sound or not. This will then in turn impact on how Bedford Borough deal with the 'live' planning applications. The letter could come tomorrow or on an unknown date in the future. The Parish Council will be monitoring this situation closely and will alert residents to updates on this as soon as they occur.

Parish Council Contact Reminder

Please remember the Council have moved their email addresses over to a new system so the Clerk and all Councillors have a general email for point of contact.  So please remember when you contact the Clerk to use the email:




for future correspondence and communication.

Also please remember that the Parish Office is now open on a Monday morning, at the side of the Village Hall, on a Monday from 9am to 12 midday.  As always it is advisable to ring 743152 in advance to check orange recycling sack availability.

A6 Resurfacing Works Update

This issue continues to be frustrating for all residents, and again the Parish Council wish to reiterate their thanks to everyone who has continued to report issues as they have arisen.  It has proven challenging to keep up with  reporting highways issues, vehicles breaking the weight restriction limits, pot holes and many other problems to all the various, relevant parties.

The Parish Council continue to engage in regular dialogue with the Borough Council and Bedfordshire Police.  Some Councillors met with Bedfordshire Police recently to push for clear instructions on how to report the heavy vehicles that are continuing to ignore the restrictions and come through the village.  They were told that only the Police have the powers to stop vehicles.

Following this meeting with the Police and the Borough Council in Riseley the Police held a Day of Action in the pouring rain just before Christmas.

In four hours they stopped 29 lorries in the village. 4 were given vehicle defects tickets and 3 traffic tickets. All the drivers were asked to ensure their companies and their drivers knew about the HGV limit in Wilstead and the diversion route.

New signs advising drivers of the weight limit in Wilstead have been manufactured and placed by the Borough on the A6 north of Wilstead and hopefully Central Beds have placed similar signs south and west of Clophill roundabout. These signs will give drivers the chance to turn around safely and follow the signed diversions.

The Police will endeavour to do another Day of Action. With clear signage there will be no excuse just to drive through the village.

They will also do periodic checks as and when resources and time allow. It should be noted that this is not a top priority for the Police who have limited resources available to them.

Again here are the details for reporting concerns or comments on the associated works or diversion continue to be directed to Bedford Borough Council who will be monitoring the works closely, you should send communications to the Highways Helpdesk via phone 01234 718003 or via email



Please copy the Parish Council in where possible to such communications using the specific email of



The number of vehicles recorded to be speeding by the average speed cameras in November fell from 156 in September and 134 in October to 32.

Contacting The Parish Council

The best way to contact the Council is on 01234 743152 or by visiting Lizzie, the Clerk in the Parish Office, which is open every Monday, 9am until midday. The Clerk can also be contacted via email on



The meeting minutes are available on the village website, along with the full Council contact list. Council meeting agendas will also be available on the website the week prior to each meeting.

Also if you wish to discuss an issue then please contact the Clerk to make an appointment with a councillor who will be more than happy to meet you at a convenient time to talk through the matter.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Monday 6th January at 7pm in the Jubilee Centre.

Wildlife walks and talks

Saturday 25th January, 10.00 am-12.30 pm,

Maulden Woods (TL072394)

Tree Walk with Colin Carpenter

Woods are fascinating even in the midst of winter. Colin's knowledge of our native trees and shrubs, and of Maulden Wood will be familiar to many. Come along, you will almost certainly learn something new. This event is open to all ages but terrain can be muddy and uneven and is unsuitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. Please wear appropriate footwear. Children should be accompanied by an adult.

£2 per adult

Monday 27th January,

7.45 pm, Maulden Church Hall

Conservation Grazing by Matthew Johnson

Matt, BCN's Livestock Officer, will give an insight into the vital conservation work done by grazing animals. It is not just releasing sheep and cattle into an area - much work is done before, during and after animals are put on a reserve. Come along and hear about the process.

£3 per adult.

Friday, 7th February,

Maulden Village Hall

7.00pm for a 7.30pm startQuiz night

Join the Wildlife Trust local group and the Greensand Trust for a fun evening and maybe a bit of a challenge. Pit your wits and see who will emerge victorious.

Teams of four to six. We can match people to teams if needed. Entry with fish supper, £10.00 per person. (Vegetarian option available, please request at time of booking.)

Bar serving wine, juices and local beer, raffle, prizes for top scoring three teams.  Come along for a fun evening and help support local wildlife activities.

Open to all, but please reserve as space is limited.

For additional information, or to reserve your place,  please emailflitvale.info@gmail.com or if you don't have email ring Ann on 075801 78889 between 6 and 8 pm or at weekends.

The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs & Northantswww.flitvale.org.uk.

Village P3 Footpath Group


The next meeting will be on Saturday 18th January at 10.00am in the Village Hall (small hall).

All welcome to come along and see what we do and perhaps join us.

Please note the date of the March meeting is now Saturday 7th March and not the 14th as previously listed in last month's Newsletter.

If anyone would like a leaflet that shows where all the Public Rights of Way are in the parish please contact the number below.

Footpath Work

It is anticipated that there will be some vegetation clearance work soon before things start to grow again so if you discover any problems when walking these village paths please contact the number below and the group will try and sort them out.

In the meantime if you use the footpaths around the village please take secateurs with you and snip the odd overhanging vegetation as you go along.


The New Year's Day walk was as usual planned to go along the footpaths and bridleways which surround the village. Hopefully it was dry and not too muddy though this may be optimistic given all the rain there was before Christmas.

Provisional dates for walks in 2020 are as follows Sundays: 2nd February, 15th March, 26th April.

Fridays: 29th May, 26th June, 24th July, 21st August.

Sundays: 27th September, 25th October, 22nd November.

These will be confirmed in the Newsletter nearer the time of each walk.

So if you fancy joining a group of villagers for a sociable wander through the Bedfordshire countryside, come along. Don't worry if you don't have transport as lifts are always available.

Keep an eye out for details of all the walks on the village noticeboards nearer the time.

Nigel Jacobs

P3 contact, 01234400733

A6 Meeting at Borough Hall, 11.00 am 20th December, 2019

Attendees: Matt Soper, Bedford Borough Council, Manager for Engineering Services

Dave Bennett, Bedford Borough Council, Team Leader Highways and Major Projects

Eric Benton and Richard Draycott, Wilshamstead Parish Council

Works completion

Completion date is still end of March 2020. Whilst tarmac has been laid on the Southern half of the new road, the Northern half has yet to be fully prepared and finish applied. The work will also include a small section of Luton Road from the A6 to Longmeadow Drive.  Once the A6 new road is open the section between the new road and the boundary with Central Bedfordshire (South of the works) is to be redone as well. This work is included within the end March timescale.

Renovation of Luton Road post A6 completion

This is proposed as part of Bedford Borough 2020 Structural Maintenance Program.

The officers will push for Luton Road to be a priority but until the capital programme for 2020/21 is agreed no promises can be made.

When agreed, the programme will require an amount of design work for e.g. incorporation of a mini-roundabout at the crossroads. It will also entail closure of the road for a period and diversion of buses etc. There will be a consultation over road design and when the works are to be done. It has been requested that part of Bedford Road (towards Bedford from the Crossroads) will be included in the works, although the remainder of Bedford Road will not be done until at least 2021/22.

Renovation of Luton and Bedford Road whilst A6 works continue

Residents continue to complain about the ever increasing number of pot holes and the damage caused to tyres.

Highways respond as quickly as possible to calls to the Helpdesk  and they also inspect the road regularly and carry out unprompted repairs.  

Cattle Underpass

Entrance from one side has recently been cleared and the state of the underpass assessed. It is very unlikely that the pass can be utilised in future. There has not been a need for cattle to use it for decades and use for pedestrians is ruled out for a number of reasons:  it floods, regulations would require it to be lit, it could provide a threat to public safety (from loiterers) and the metal supports are starting to corrode. It is therefore too high a maintenance liability.

Standard signs can be erected to warn drivers of the presence of pedestrians crossing the A6 at the point the footpath crosses towards/from Houghton Conquest.

Site visit

Awaiting notification of suitable visit date from the contractors. Date proposed is 15th January.

HGVs and contractors vehicles ignoring 7.5 tonne limit and diversion

Signs are to be erected by the end of December at various points near the diversion routes stating that there is no access for HGVs to Wilstead.

There was a “Day of Action” by the police on Friday 20th December where HGV drivers were diverted into the layby on Bedford Road and questioned. Prosecutions may follow.

Highways Helpdesk cannot help with reports of individual drivers ignoring the 7.5 tonne limit, this is a matter for the police. If there are repeated instances of a certain haulier ignoring the diversion this can be reported to the Helpdesk and the haulier will be contacted.

Trucks from the works contractors have been seen driving off the site and turning into Wilstead at the Luton Road junction. This will not now occur as the vehicles are not allowed on the newly tarmacked surface.

Traffic Lights

Improved Maintenance has been implemented but occasional failures still occur and should be reported to the Highways Helpdesk.

Queue jumping at the Bedford Road roundabout at peak times

The Borough officers were looking at possibilities for preventing queue jumping.  (Vehicles overtaking a queue in the left lane and going right round the roundabout expecting to be able to merge into the traffic entering Wilstead.) Closing the right hand lane would be possible but this would hold up all those wishing to turn right into Wixams.

Next Meeting: Friday 31st January  at 11.00 am at Borough Hall.

Seasonal Greetings from our Borough Councillor

The fast pace of modern life means it's very easy to get caught up in a whirl of parties, presents and plum-puddings.  So I'd like to ask Wilstead residents to spare a thought for others, those less fortunate than ourselves, who may be lonely, homeless or unable to share in the joy and fun that many of us take for granted at Christmas.  I'd also like to thank the many unsung heroes who give their time to help others throughout the year.

However you spent the festive season, whether you are a person of faith, or just someone who wanted to relax and take a break, I wish you a very Happy New Year.

Graeme Coombes