Notice of vacancy - could you be a councillor?

Due to the recent resignation of Mrs Sandra Read, Meppershall Parish Council will be able to co-opt a new councillor.  If you read this and feel that you have something to offer, why not think about  making your talent, skills, time and energy available to the community. 

If you would like to know more about the role and expectations of a councillor please contact the Clerk on 07930 813808 for an informal chat. 

If you think the role is for you why not complete an expression of interest form and forward to the Clerk.

An Update on Centenary Field behind the Village Hall

Dear Residents

After sending a snagging list of issues regarding works on Centenary Field to Croudace Homes Ltd in December 2019, the Parish Council finally received a formal response on 26th June.  A delegated working party of 6 people (2 councillors, the Clerk and 3 residents) reviewed Croudaces’ response and found that there was a lack of detail given on some agreed resolutions (e.g.: when will benches be installed?) and additional information is required to aid comprehension of some proposed solutions (e.g.: specification of works proposed on drainage?) .  A request for clarity, additional information and feedback on points where our opinions differ to Croudaces’ was sent on 29th June.  We await confirmation that the email has been received.

The Parish Council remains frustrated at the time the developer is taking to respond and deal with the issues we have raised.  We continue to invest time and effort to work with Croudace to find an amicable resolution and to advise of day to day issues concerning the area to make sure that this open space is handed over to Meppershall residents in a good condition.  Not doing so could result in increased costs to the village to remedy issues such as poor drainage or a football pitch that can't be used to local league standard.  Unfortunately, at present there seems to be a lack of action and care for what is meant to be our village amenity (just look at the state of the grass). 

So, where does this leave us? 

It is illegal and potentially dangerous to move the fences and access the play equipment because the land and equipment is still controlled and maintained by Croudace. Whilst communication has been welcomed and received from Croudace Homes Ltd more effort and collaboration on their part is required to match our own willingness to discuss and resolve issues. 

We would encourage concerned residents to contact North Thames Regional Managing Director Adrian Watts copying the Parish Clerk -

Contact details for Croudace are as follows:

Address | Croudace Homes Ltd, Spirella Building, 204 Bridge Road, Letchworth, SG46 4ET

Tel | 01462 410710

Email |

Facebook page | (https://www.facebook.com/croudacehomesltd/). 

Instagram post of Meppershall | (https://www.instagram.com/p/B7Isb5XgRqY/)

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact the Parish Clerk

Wanderbus Restart Service

Wanderbus are pleased to announced that n line with Government guidelines a limited number of services will resume from Monday 3rd August 2020. To comply with Governmetn COID-19 regulations passenger numbers will be limited to 10 per bus, passengers must wear a facemask (unless medically exempt) and they must follow the directions of the driver when sligting to/from the bus. 
Click here for timetable details.

Central Bedfordshire Council Ward Councillor Grant Scheme

Councillors now have extra funding to help local groups in their area deal with the consequences of COVID-19.

Each year, as part of the Ward Councillor Grant Scheme, Councillors are given £2,000 which they can allocate to groups in their area which aim to improve the lives of local people. 

This week it was agreed to extend the existing Ward Councillor Grant Scheme and allocate an additional £1,000 to each Ward Councillor. This is to enable them to support local groups that are dealing with the direct consequences of the current public health emergency. This will undoubtedly have put pressure on their activities which is why we want to help them.

It means that many local voluntary and community groups that have stepped up to help as part of their response to the pandemic, can now apply for a grant after first talking to their Ward Councillor.

You can find details on the council’s website centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/grants

Help keep our pathways clear

You can help by:

  • removing bins from outside your property as soon as possible after they have been emptied
  • cutting back any bushes or hedges on your property growing over public pathways
  • parking your vehicle considerately

Please check for any active birds’ nests before undertaking any bush or hedge trimming.

Shefford and Stotfold Children's centres Virtual Programme May - June 2020 - 14th May 2020

Find attached the Shefford & Stotfold Children’s Centre virtual programme for May to June 2020

Due to the recent lockdown measures some changes have been made to services. Small virtual groups will be running for families and families can still access support by phone for any issues they may be facing with regards to their babies, children and families.

Lord-Lieutenant's Virtual Service of Thanksgiving for VE Day - 8th May 2020

Each year HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis holds a Service of Thanksgiving to honour the thousands of people who volunteer and who play such a significant role in building kind and cohesive communities.

The service this year had to be cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic therefore the Lord-Lieutenant has created on online service to pay tribute to our volunteers and to the 75th Anniversary of VE Day as the county of Bedfordshire remembers with gratitude the formidable generation who sacrificed so much for peace.

The service can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Urdq3JM2E0U and the Lord-Lieutenant very much hopes that you will take 30 minutes at some point today to watch the service so we can all be together in spirit, while viewing from your own homes.

CBC Tidy Tips set to re-open for essential visits by appointment only -

CBC Household Waste Recycling Centres will open on Monday, 11 May 2020 following new government guidelines.

Sites will be open between 9am – 5pm, 7 days a week for CBC residents only. This is for essential visits only for waste that would cause a risk to health and safety to store at home.

Residents will be required to book a half-hour slot in advance to access the tidy tip. Residents can do this on the council website or by calling the customer services team on 0300 300 8302.

Social distancing will need to be observed on site and that means the number of visitors using the centres will be limited at any one time and customers may need to queue to access the site. These measures are in place to protect residents and staff and must be followed by service users.

The sites will operate on a ‘one in, one out’ basis. Once in the facility you will be asked to follow identified pathways and queue, at a safe distance, to access each waste container.

Only cars, 4x4s small vans (e.g. Combo van) and cars with trailers will be permitted on site. This is to ensure that unloading times are reduced as far as possible to allow the maximum number of visits per hour.

The sites will accept the usual materials, but this may be subject to change. Residents are advised to have a maximum of two adults per car and to only bring loads that they can comfortably manage to handle by themselves.

Anyone who feels ill at home (whether diagnosed with COVID-19 or not) must not visit under the sites under any circumstances.

CBC Town and Parish Council Briefing -

Click here to view the briefing

Update from CBC’s Chief Executive Richard Carr re Planning -

CBC’s Chief Executive Richard Carr, has provided us with an update on the planning decision process during the COVID 19 emergency.

In these extraordinary times, we are focussed on responding to the public health emergency. As part of this, we need to take account of the restrictions on all but essential travel and the requirement for social distancing. This practice inevitably has had some negative impacts on our operations, with many regular services and processes being disrupted.

Amongst these have been our democratic decision-making meetings, which sit at the heart of our core purpose as a publicly accountable organisation.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, new regulations have been introduced which enable councils to resume these meetings by substituting previous legal requirements (for Councillors to meet in person) with new powers to operate in a virtual context.

If all decision making was suspended, this could build a backlog of key decisions and ultimately delay economic recovery in Central Bedfordshire. We have trialled the use of technology to bring Members together at an informal Executive gathering in April. The conclusions reached by Members during that informal discussion and using the executive powers, vested in me during crisis situation, have allow us to make some decisions.

This is the approach I am consistently taking  in the use of these special powers. In other words, where I am taking decisions which would ordinarily be taken by a committee of Members of the Council, I am only doing so after I have taken account of the views of the Members concerned.

There is a plan to move to formal Member decision-making committees operating virtually, in line with the Coronavirus Act 2020,  facilitated by a suitable technology platform during May 2020.

It is in this context that we have instituted a temporary model for the consideration of some planning applications on the 29th April. This model will enable some applications which would normally have been considered by the Development Management Committee to be shared with relevant local Members for comment and for a small Member panel to make recommendations to me on the use of my emergency powers. We will be especially sensitive to any applications which are likely to be contentious and I am not expecting to make any decisions on any applications which fall into this category. We have a statutory duty to determine applications within a reasonable time.  Failure to do so would be grounds to appeal to the Planning Inspector.

I should stress that no decisions on planning applications have been taken under these arrangements as of the date of this message of the 22nd April 2020.

For transparency, we are explaining this arrangement on our website at relevant pages and I would be grateful if you could assist us in reassuring the public on this arrangement by directing them to this content.

Green Waste Collections Restarting from 27th April 2020

CBC plan to re-start the collection of garden waste from Monday 27th April.  This should coincide with our Green bin collection.
Please do not overload the bags.

Please do not report any missed bins to us or CBC.
CBC will continue to monitor the situation and will update residents with changes as soon as possible.