Anglian Water Update - New Meppershall Pipeline

A new 9km pipeline, known as the Meppershall pipeline, is planned and will connect into Anglian Waters' existing water network. It will help them reduce the amount of water taken from the ground, and reduce the number of homes and businesses relying on a single water supply.

Anglian Water have developed a preferred route and want to share it with us. More information about all the new pipelines can be found at – anglianwater.co.uk/spa

Work on the new pipeline is hoped to start towards the end of 2021 and continue into spring 2022.

Feedback survey - Due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of holding physical meetings or events, pages have been added to the Anglian Water website which contain all the information that you would expect to see at an event that might ordinarily be held in a village hall or community centre. Please visit anglianwater.co.uk/spa and give your feedback to their survey online between 21 June - 5 July 2021.

New 'Revealing the Greensand Country 2021' Booklet

Discover new things to do and see across our fabulous Greensand Country area within Central Bedfordshire.

You can also access the booklet here: https://bit.ly/3ti9KIv

Bedfordshire Lieutenancy - Press Release - Friday 9th April 2021

The Duke of Edinburgh 1921 – 2021

It is with huge sorrow that we learned of the death of Her Majesty The Queen's beloved husband, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, this morning.

He passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle.

His long and dedicated service to our nation will forever be honoured and respected.

We join with Her Majesty and members of The Royal Family in mourning his loss deeply.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited Bedfordshire on numerous occasions and his presence was always much enjoyed by those organisations he supported.

His humour and his ability to bring people together to encourage progress in so many areas of our lives, means that he leaves a lasting and cherished legacy for the future.

Flags are being flown at half-mast across Bedfordshire for the period of mourning and an online book of condolence will be available for Bedfordshire people to write their messages.

A Bedfordshire Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh will be available online so that all may join together safely together during the pandemic.

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis said "On behalf of the people of Bedfordshire, may I express our sincere condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and to the Royal Family for the loss of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. His contribution to the life of this nation and to the Commonwealth was enormous. He was a welcome and popular visitor to our county, always ensuring that every person he met felt special. His good humour and his genuine support for so many organisations will always be respected and remembered. May he Rest in Peace."

Three Things You Need to Know:

1. Census Day is Sunday 21st March. As soon as you receive your unique access code in the post, you can go online to complete your questionnaire. Visit census.gov.uk. There’s no need to wait until Census Day!

2. If you can't complete your questionnaire online, don't worry. You can request a paper questionnaire by calling our helpline 0800 141 2021 any time between 8am and 8pm (weekdays) and 8am and 1pm (Saturdays).  You can also give your answers directly to a census officer on the phone.

3. Completing the Census is a legal requirement for all of us but there is plenty of help and advice available for anyone who faces any difficulty doing it. Call 0800 141 2021 for assistance and advice.

Clifford Wood | Census Engagement Manager, Bedford and Central Beds | Office for National Statistics | 07452 942 286 |  | www.census.gov.uk

Keep in touch:

  • Register for email updates about Census 2021 and/or other areas of ONS
  • Access census information for community partners and local authorities
  • Follow @Census2021 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Households across Central Bedfordshire will be asked to take part in Census 2021 this spring.

The census, run by the Office for National Statistics, is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales. Census outputs inform where billions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries.

Information from the census is also important in helping lots of other people and organisations do their work.

Charities and voluntary organisations often use it as evidence to get funding. It helps businesses to understand their customers and, for example, decide where to open new shops. Plus, those doing research, like university students and people looking into their family history, use census data. It provides important information on population diversity, allowing organisations to know whether they are meeting their responsibilities and triggering action where necessary.

Census 2021 will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.

“The census provides a unique snapshot of our communities,” Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at Office for National Statistics, said. “It benefits everyone. Based on the information you give, it ensures millions of pounds are invested in emergency services, mental health care, school places, hospital beds, houses, roads, GP’s and dentist’s services.

“No-one should miss out. Everyone can complete on online with a new search-as-you-type ability and paper forms for those who need them.”

Census day will be on March 21, but households will soon receive letters with online codes explaining how they can take part. The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit census.gov.uk.

Bedfordshire church launches online Book of Condolence for Sir Tom

The parish church of St Mary's, Marston Morteyne, the parish where Captain Sir Tom Moore lived for so many years, has launched an online book of condolence, primarily for the people of Bedfordshire. Anyone may contribute to it, but Bedfordshire residents may identify themselves as such by ticking a box.

The initiative is supported by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedford Helen Nellis and The Rt Revd Richard Atkinson, Bishop of Bedford who want the communities of Bedford to be able to honour Sir Tom in this way and express their gratitude for his life and sorrow at his loss.

The Bishop said: "The parish church would ordinarily have placed a book of condolence in the church for anyone to use but in a sign of the times, as they cannot visit the church under pandemic rules, this is a way of providing that opportunity to them and a wider group of people at the same time. The entries are being recorded and moderated and we hope to publish as many as is practical, in time. I hope that this will provide people with a chance to express in words what they thought and felt about Sir Tom."

The Bishop will also preside at St Mary's Sunday usual Sunday morning service at 10 am which will also be on YouTube. During the service Sir Tom and all who have died in the pandemic will be remembered in prayer. The Revd Kate McFarlane, Curate-in-Charge of the church will preach.

St Mary's has written a prayer for all who mourn his loss. The condolence book and the prayer can be accessed directly via www.sirtom.org and from the parish's own website: stmarysmarston.org   where a link to the YouTube service can also be found.

The Lord Lieutenant and the Bishop also expressed their own thoughts about Sir Tom:

The Lord Lieutenant said:

"We were all so sad to hear that Captain Sir Tom Moore passed away in Bedford Hospital this week and we send our thoughts and prayers to his wonderful family who are grieving the loss of a much- loved father and grandfather. 

“Captain Tom was a national treasure who inspired us, and NHS staff, with his gentle, clear and hopeful messages, encouraging us to know that "tomorrow will be a good day." The image of him walking 100 hundred laps of his garden will always make us believe that we are all capable of doing something to help. 

“The twinkle in his eye and his humble dignity touched the hearts of the world and we are proud to honour him as a son of Bedfordshire whose remarkable contribution will be forever remembered by history."

The Bishop added:

"To so many, Sir Tom represented the best of our courage and character. Though we are sad, we are also profoundly grateful for him and his magnificent contribution over the last year.

“We will be learning lessons from his optimism and can-do approach to life for some time, but for now the impression left on me is of someone for whom it was never too late to make a difference and a powerful statement about the value of each person's contribution.

“Though we miss him, how much more will his loving and extensive family, who are in our prayers."

From the Diocese of St Albans

Message and Christmas Video from HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire

Dear Colleagues and Friends

Please enjoy the Lord-Lieutenant’s Christmas 2020 message on You Tube at: HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire's Virtual Christmas Message 2020 "We Stand Together as One" - YouTube

After the toughest of years where we have all changed our lives radically in order to protect each other from the Corona Virus, we heard on Saturday from the Prime Minister that it will not now be possible to come together with our much-missed families for Christmas as promised.

Like you, I feel sadness and disappointment.

Nevertheless, we should remember, that the choices that we have made over the past year to socially distance, to wear masks and to wash our hands frequently, may well be the reason that someone else is alive and that knowledge must make our sacrifices worthwhile. No matter how hard it may feel, I would urge you to continue to dig deep and follow the rules that will help us to protect our family, friends and neighbours.

In common with so many other faith traditions this year, our Christmas celebrations will rely now in some way, on the power of technology to help us show our love.

In this context, is with great love that I send you our Christmas video which I hope you will enjoy while you sit down with a cup of tea, or a cup of good cheer, to reflect on a momentous year in all our lives.

The production is 25 minutes long and shows the immense goodness of the people of Bedfordshire as they have supported each other through the pandemic.

Please feel free to forward the video to all who might want to share in this great story of how people from all backgrounds and faith traditions in our wonderful county have "Stood together as One" to meet the challenges of this year.

Please enjoy the Lord-Lieutenant’s Christmas 2020 message on You Tube at: HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire's Virtual Christmas Message 2020 "We Stand Together as One" - YouTube

May I thank Phillip Fothergill DL for his immense professionalism and good humour in kindly producing this video for you.

Thank you for all that you have done to help others this year.

Wishing you the blessings of Christmas and a New Year filled with hope and renewal.

Kind regards

Helen


Helen Nellis
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire
Twitter @LLieutenantBeds

Bedfordshire Service of Remembrance 2020

A message from Helen Nellis, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire

In advance of Armistice Day tomorrow, please find the online Service of Remembrance which can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/sarBOdLVIPI

 If you haven’t already had a chance to watch the Service of Remembrance, I hope you are able to find some time to remember those in the past and those today who have given so much to keep us safe. To those of you who have already taken the opportunity to watch the Service of Remembrance, my thanks for your kind comments. It is wonderful to share this special time with you all, albeit remotely.

Central Bedfordshire Council joins national fight against “zombie batteries” in bid to tackle waste collection fires - 5th November 2020

Central Bedfordshire Council are urging residents to “join the fight against Zombie batteries” in a bid to tackle the growing number of fires caused by carelessly discarded dead batteries.

The Council and their waste and recycling partner, FCC Environment, are supporting the new national Take Charge campaign. They are urging residents to never throw batteries away in their general rubbish, but to recycle batteries using the council’s battery collection services.

Residents looking to dispose of dead batteries can place them in bag next to their general waste bin on collection day or they can take them to collection points or their local household waste recycling centre.

Dead batteries thrown away with other waste and recycling, which the campaign refers to as “zombie batteries”, are likely to be crushed or punctured once the waste is collected and processed. Some battery types in particular, lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH), can ignite or even explode when they’re damaged. Once this happens, the batteries can quickly set fire to other materials present in the waste, like paper, leading to serious incidents that put lives at risk.

The Environmental Services Association, the recycling and waste management trade body who launched the campaign, conduct an annual survey of its members to record the number of fires occurring at recycling and waste facilities that are known or thought to have been started by lithium-ion batteries. Recent data collected shows between April 2019 and March 2020, lithium-ion batteries alone were thought to be responsible for more than 250 fires at their members’ facilities during the year – well over a third (38%) of all fires.

Central Bedfordshire residents have a number of options to safely dispose of their batteries, including by placing them in a bag next to their bin on their normal collection day, that way they can be collected separately. The batteries are then recycled which is even better for the environment.

Consumers can find out more about the dangers of zombie batteries, by visiting the campaign website at www.takecharge.org.uk


Central Bedfordshire Council food voucher scheme will continue to be available to families in need over this half term holiday period. - 26th October 2020

The scheme works by providing vouchers directly to families via the network of Children’s Centres that are based in communities across our area. The vouchers enable food to be supplied by a number of the major supermarket chains that operate in our communities and any families who are eligible to free school meals are able to access this support.

CBC have operated the voucher scheme for some time and recognise that it may be particularly important to families when schools are closed.

Looking ahead, they are exploring how they can best continue the arrangements for the Christmas period taking account of the particular circumstances created by the pandemic.

Children's Centres will be open throughout the coming week in all major towns.  For anyone not able to get to a centre, alternative means of providing support are available.  Call our contact centre on 0300 300 8000 to find our more.

Details of our Children's Centres are availble online at here

Winter break for all kerbside collections of household garden waste across Central Bedfordshire

The collections will be suspended from Monday, 7 December 2020 until Friday, 26 February 2021 inclusive. Residents are encouraged to check their last collection date for their area, which will be either the week commencing Monday, 23 November or Monday, 30 November. The collections will resume again on Monday, 1 March 2021.

All other waste collections will operate as normal during this period. 

Throughout these months, only very low volumes of garden waste are collected, and it is therefore not cost effective to provide the service during these months.

During the break in service, garden waste can still be recycled at the council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres which are open seven days a week from 9am -5pm, including bank holidays.  Certain restrictions due to Covid-19 may be in operation at all four sites.

For details of the opening times including the opening times over the Christmas and New Year period please visit our website: www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/recycling. Residents with enough space in their gardens are encouraged to home compost. The council encourages home composting by offering all residents a discount on compost bins and accessories. 

For more information about changes to your garden waste collection please visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/garden-waste.


CBC consultation on draft leisure strategy - 19th October 2020
Central Bedfordshire Coucnil are consulting residents, businesses and organisations over their draft leisure facilities and physical activity strategies.

We all know that being active every day is important for everyone, at every age. It’s essential for overall health, cuts down the risks associated with excess weight, diabetes, and heart disease and has a positive effect on other conditions including mental health.

CBC want to know what activities you do regularly. This includes walking and gardening as well as more traditional physical exercise and we want to know what barriers to taking part exist.

CBC also want to find out if you agree that thier leisure centres should be flexible spaces which can react to changing needs and support people with both exercise and less formal physical activities. CBC believe they have a vital role to play in helping people maintain their physical and mental health, and build resistance to, and recover from, COVID-19.

CBC are also planning for future housing growth and so need to ensure indoor leisure centre facilities keep pace with growing demand. The draft leisure facilities strategy details how and where we need centres to meet residents’ needs, in line with the Local Plan.


Places to enjoy, exercise, relax and play - 19th October 2020
Central Bedfordshire Council are undertaking an online survey about their countryside sites and are asking residents and users for their views.

They want to provide countryside sites that are great places for the local community to enjoy, exercise, relax, and play, so they are asking the public to feedback what they think about the sites.

The survey covers topics around cleanliness and maintenance of this site, wildlife and conservation projects and the range of visitor facilities and/or events that are available.

CBC are asking anyone that has visited one of thier sites to complete the survey and to tell them their thoughts about how it could be improved.

The survey will take no longer than five minutes to complete and your feedback will help CBC manage the sites to meet the needs of the community

Survey for residents living in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes

From 1 April 2021, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCGs are planning to become one single NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in line with NHS England’s Long Term Plan.

This will have an impact on how we operate as commissioners, (commissioning is the process by which health and care services are planned, purchased and monitored) and how we work together in the future.

Over the next few months, we will be engaging with GP Members, our staff, local service providers, councils, other partners and our patients to listen to your views before we submit our final application in September 2020.

Please read the Public Engagement Document that accompanies this questionnaire. This explains what we are proposing, and why.

The questionnaire is now live and is open until Sunday 13 September. Click here to take the survey.

We really value your comments, so please let us know your views by completing the survey.

If you would like more information on the proposed changes, please email: 

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.