updated 3rd August 2020
Bedford Borough Councillor Report
Borough Council Meetings
All Council Meetings are now running virtually. It's not ideal, but it does allow for democracy to continue and for public participation.
Along with a number of colleagues, I requested a return to 'normal' decision making by the full Planning Committee and to revoke the temporary powers that were given to Planning Officers, at the start of the COVID19 period, to make decisions on applications. I felt it was now possible with virtual meetings to return to the normal planning process, however this was voted down at the last meeting of the Planning Committee on a party vote.
Borough Council Services
Please check the Borough website for the latest on Council services. Conscious of the fast moving situation, the website is being frequently updated.
Green waste collections are currently made on a monthly basis rather than the usual fortnightly collection. Check your collection date on the Council website:
Bedford Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)
The HWRC is now open again, but is using an appointment system and there are major changes to how the site will operate. Everyone booking an appointment will be given a 15 minute slot which can be booked up to 14 days in advance.
Borough Community Hub
The Community Hub remains open to assist those requiring support during COVID19 Contact: 01234 718 101
Bedford Borough Local Plan
The Borough has only recently adopted the Local Plan 2030, but as part of the requirements of the Planning Inspector, is now undertaking a Local Plan Review, which will take us up to 2040 or beyond. This will need to consider future development growth and take into consideration things such as the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and East West Rail.
The Borough is looking at options, and will be considering whether to look at: new large developments (another Wixams type development); town centre growth; expanding villages; or a mixture of each.
The review starts with a call for sites and there is a public consultation which closes at 5pm on Friday 4th September.
Last time the organisation of the LP was a complete shambles with constant reviews and revisions and sites in and out. This time the timetable is extremely tight, so the Council will be under added pressure to get things done.
At the last consultation on the 2030 LP, a number of sites along the east of the A6 were submitted in the latter stages of the consultation. From memory, one of these was on land to the south of Medbury Farm and the other on land near to Briar Bank. We need to look out in case these are submitted again.
Cllr. Graeme Coombes
All Saints Church News
We are pleased to report that church services will resume on Sunday 16th August. Initially we will have one service at 11.00 am . Obviously there will be limitations due to current regulations . We are unable to sing hymns during the service so the Service of Holy Communion will be a said service.
We will need to maintain social distancing and will use every other pew to spread out.
There will be hand sanitiser available as you come into church and we are requested to maintain an attendance register should there be any problems occurring in the days after the service. All are very welcome to join us for worship. It may be that at sometime we can have our usual pattern of services with an 8.00am service as well as the 11.00 service. We will just have to wait and see .
The church clock repairs which have been delayed by the lockdown will be taking place during August and hopefully we will have a smart clock when the work is done. As was mentioned in an earlier newsletter the cost is considerable some £7,000 and we are still asking for donations.
We have had little extra income during the twenty week lockdown but we still have to pay our dues to the Diocese regardless.
Donations may be given to the Vicar or Mrs Janet Brooks or myself.
Wilshamstead Parish Council
Parish Council Meeting Wilstead Village Hall Monday 7th September – Members Of The Public Welcome To Attend
The September Parish Council meeting will be a physical meeting now the Village Hall has reopened. The meeting will be held in the Main Hall to ensure social distancing, and members of the public are welcome to attend. The Council meeting will start on Monday 7th September at 7pm, comprehensive planning is taking place for this meeting, if you plan to attend it would be helpful for the Council to know in advance if possible.
Please remember if you have a matter that requires the attention of the Parish Council then you do not need to wait for a Parish Council meeting, you can get in touch so we can look at how best to resolve the matter as promptly as possible.
Current Bedford Borough Local Plan Options And Issues Consultation
It is already time for the Borough Council to start the Local Plan process again and to look at the strategy for where development should go in Bedford Borough. You will have received a leaflet through your door recently outlining the proposals and potential ways Bedford can grow. The Parish Council again wish to encourage ALL residents to engage in this consultation, as now is the time to have your say. The Borough Officers will look at all the comments fed back and use this to direct the way development moves forward in the Local Plan going forwards.
To find out more information please visit:
If you have a specific question then email:
putting 'consultation questions' as the title of your email. There is also a dedicated phone line (01234 718300) where you can leave a message containing your query.
The consultation closes on Friday 4th September so please make sure you submit your responses by then. Your comments should be sent using the consultation response form, which can be found through the webpage details above. If you are not able to access this, then please still engage in the consultation and just send your comments to the email address above.
Village Facilities Update
The Parish Council wish to thank Lindsay Bates and the Allotment Society for their continued hard work in ensuring the allotment facility is managed efficiently. It is such an asset to the village and it is great to see it flourishing, so if you do want to get involved, or are considering an allotment then get in touch to be added to the waiting list.
Over recent months the Parish Council have been working hard on moving forwards with two new village facilities for which the Parish Council have agreed to provide financial support. There is going to be CCTV installed at the Crossroads junction to support local community safety. This is planned to be the first phase of a scheme in the village that will see a pro-active approach to keeping the village safe. The Police will have access to the recorded information if they require it, so it will enable them to be assisted with their work in the local area, plus give residents peace of mind. The installation of this is planned to take place shortly.
Also the Parish Council have been busy trying to arrange the installation of a Christmas Tree at the Crossroads junction, so that there is a central focus during the festive season in the village, after what has been a challenging year. It is planned for this to be an annual feature, and thank you to those residents who have stepped forward to assist with arranging the logistics of the tree being installed.
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 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, 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:
The Parish Office Will Remain Closed
Please kindly understand that the Parish Office will remain closed at this time. The Parish Council are looking at ways the Office may be able to re-open in the future, these are being explored and a further update will be provided in the next Homewatch.
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:
Village P3 Footpath Group
The next meeting is planned for Saturday 19th September. Hopefully it will be in the large hall of the Village Hall starting at 10.00am. Details will be confirmed in the September Newsletter.
If the corona virus has meant you now know more about the footpaths and bridleways in and around the village perhaps you would be interested in helping look after them and periodically report on their condition. Come along to the meeting (or contact the number below) to find out more. You will be made very welcome.
Following the installation of way mark posts reported in last month's Newsletter work on the paths in the last few weeks has concentrated on mowing and updating the waymarking.
The group has mown the paths from Cotton End Road to the both sides of Stables, (FPs 8&9) and Littleworth to Cotton End (FP1/Eastcotts FP10). In addition many way mark discs that have become faint/faded have been replaced.
If you spot any problems with the path surface or overgrowth 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 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 July walk was cancelled because of the virus. It is still uncertain as to when we will be able to walk as a group again. The plan was to walk on the evening of Friday 21st August and the afternoon of Sunday 27th September.
Please keep an eye on the village noticeboards and the Newsletter for updates on this.
P3 contact, 01234400733
Bowls Club News
Our green is being cut every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning by the Green Keeper and his loyal helpers so we can enjoy our friendly rollups, still keeping the correct distances.
Our Club House bar was opened on Friday 10th July. We had four rinks of triples that evening at 6pm and then enjoyed our first drink at the bar after so many weeks without. The bar is being opened every Friday at 7pm until 10.30pm and also on Sunday lunchtimes 12 until 2pm. You can come and have a game then enjoy a drink before going home.
There are daily roll ups every afternoon from 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. We are hoping to hold a spoon drive on Saturday 25th July weather permitting,
Looking forward to more of our members being able to come and socialise again. but still keeping our distance.
Everyone keep safe and well.
Jean Ward - Secretary
We the residents of Briar Bank Park are disgusted at how the Millennium Garden at the Luton end of the Village has been left since the road-works finished.
The weeds were chopped off, after messages sent with no answer, now they have grown back and the garden is very hard to find.
Over the years Briar Bank Park residents have taken care of this garden, spending money on plants and compost, also time spent keeping it looking nice.
Now it is in a disgraceful mess, the Chairman of Briar Bank Park Residents Association spent time tidying and planting some alpine plants there, to no good at all.
(name and address supplied)
Wilstead Village Hall Now Open For Hiring
(with Covid-19 restrictions and procedures)
During lockdown, Wilstead Village Hall was given an extra clean and tidy up inside and out. Thank you Andy, Louise and our gardener.
Following Government guidelines for re-opening, the Management Committee have been busy putting together a Risk Assessment relevant to the Hall and acting on it by putting Covid-19 procedures in place and installing extra equipment to help make the Hall as Covid-19 safe as possible. These extra procedures (to follow alongside the normal conditions of hire) called 'Additional Conditions of Hire', have been sent to all the regular hirers of the Hall and given to any potential hirers before booking. These procedures must be shared with all people entering the Hall by the named hirer. The 'Additional Conditions of Hire' is available to read on the Wilstead Community Website, under Village Hall.
As you are aware, the Government keep updating the guidelines but as from Friday 1st August, because there are Covid-19 procedures in place and due to the hall sizes, the Hall is open for bookings of up to 35 people in the main hall and 10 in the small hall, all observing the 2 metre social distancing.
Most activities are now accepted, especially those where people are not moving around each other BUT there are exceptions.
Not allowed yet in Wilstead Hall: -
Live singing e.g. choirs, congregations, performances
Use of woodwind and brass instruments by amateurs
Adult and teenage parties
Catering involving buffet style service. Food must be served via table service or individually wrapped portions. Serving only tea/coffee and biscuits will give more protection against Covid-19 contamination.
Overall this means that any function where an obvious risk of the guidance will be hard to comply with, should not take place.
Further guidance can be sort on the Government Guidance websites.
If any queries, please contact: -
Chair - Paul Buckley
Secretary – Angela Fosbrook
Booking Secretary – Roisin Whittle
Garden Club News
We are delighted that restrictions will allow us to resume our very social meetings but, unfortunately restrictions do mean changes.
Until everything returns to normal, we cannot meet in the small hall. We will therefore be holding meetings on the third Tuesday of each month commencing Tuesday 15th September at 2.30pm in the Village Hall. Further information about the meeting will be given in the September newsletter to reflect the prevailing restrictions.
The first meeting will be an open meeting where we can share our reflections on gardening in 2020. It has been quite a difficult year with a very wet winter, very hot and dry spring and cool start to summer. Crops have either abounded or failed and flowers have bloomed earlier than they should. We wonder what the rest of the year will bring!
Unfortunately we have had disappointing response regarding the suggestion for an Open Garden weekend in August. This will not now go ahead. Remember the NGS is a charitable organisation and gardens are open for pre-booking. Also English Heritage, National Trust and other gardens are open, hopefully without pre-booking after the first of August.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon.
Maralyn, Lynda, Mary and Viv
We reopened our doors seven weeks ago and we have to say children have been absolutely fantastic!! Thank you to our parents who have been amazingly supportive and understanding.
These have certainly been a very difficult and strange few months for us all and for anyone who has been affected by Covid, Pre-school, sends you all of our very best wishes and thoughts.
We reopen in September business as usual! However, we still await Government guidelines with regards to reopening with many more children but we are ready and look forward to seeing you all.
If you require a space for your child please do contact us as we are still around over the Summer getting Pre-school ready and demand is high.
We have really missed all of our Pre-school leavers celebrations but we wish them every success going to school, they will be fantastic!
Thank you as always to our amazing Pre-school staff team for all of their wonderful Facebook videos and activities over the past few weeks, there isn't a day that we haven't thought about our lovely children and to those we haven't seen we have missed you so much.
Please continue to look after each other and be kind.
We will never forget those who have lost their lives and their families.
Wilstead Good Neighbour Scheme
An Update on Our Group
As some may have heard on the village grapevine 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 are looking to a September time frame to formalise this process as both groups have to give twentyone days notice to hold a Special General Meeting to allow all to voice any concerns/agree to the proposal, plus we have to find a village hall open to hold such a meeting and conduct it is accordance with prevailing health guidelines.
The pandemic has 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 has a sister group providing the Shopping Club service which was a tremendous success and benefited many in Wilstead, and as that is beginning to wind down Wixams are looking to try to recruit many of those volunteers to cross over and join the Good Neighbours. Time will tell as to the success of this venture. I will keep you posted of developments as they occur, putting info onto the Village website as well.
Regarding current day-to-day operations, our Group is still active 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. 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.
Look after yourselves and keep well.
Chairman WGNS – 01234 740854
WGNS Phone 07807 408928