Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden Parish, Community Web Site

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Our Parish Action Plan 2007






Analysis of Questionnaires

Snapshot Views

How do we proceed?

Hopes for the Future


Click here for the latest Parish Plan group reports (Word Document)

The Background to the Parish Plan

In the autumn of 2005 Roxton Parish Council were preparing a village plan, which did not include Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden. Funding was to be provided for the whole Parish to prepare a Plan. A decision was therefore made to split the funding on a 50/50 basis and therefore an individual Plan for Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden was created.

In recent years there has been an increasing gulf appearing in relation to the amenities in the village of Roxton. These include a school, church, and post office. Whilst these are accessible to the residents of Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden who have transport, it is more difficult for those without to avail themselves of these services.

The construction of the Great Barford By Pass has now provided a geographical boundary between Roxton and Chawston.

A number of years ago a survey was carried out seeking a resolution as to whether there should be a split in the Parish Council. This would result in

Roxton Parish Council


Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden Parish Council.

A decision was reached and elections for the new Parish Council took place on 3rd May 2007. The Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden Parish Council now has seven Parish Councillors who are all committed to ensuring the best possible future for the villages.

Picture courtesy of multimap


Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden are three villages, now with their own Parish Council, but are ecclesiastically in the Parish of Roxton and the Diocese of St Albans. The villages are mainly situated on the Western side of the A1 trunk road, although both Wyboston and Chawston do have a number of residential properties on the Eastern side of the A1. The villages are some 8 miles from Bedford in the West and some 3 miles from St Neots due North East.

Map of area – Our villages in relation to the larger towns of St Neots and Bedford

Picture courtesy of multimap

Our total number of electors for the three villages is approximately 300. The numbers of dwellings are approximately 64 in Chawston, 24 in Colesdon and 213 in Wyboston.

During the 1930’s the Land Settlement Association using 454 acres created approx 80 small holdings, these were developed in Chawston and Wyboston. In 1939 the scheme changed from being for the unemployed workers to benefit men with agricultural experience in order to maximise food production as part of the war effort. The scheme continued and was finally wound up in 1982. This Association was disbanded and the properties offered for sale to residents. Some residents purchased their properties and others decided to move on. This has resulted in a much more diverse community. There has been an influx of persons who have transformed the LSA properties and added a new dimension to the area.


When the Domesday Book was written in 1086AD, Wyboston was then called Wiboldstone in the Barford Hundred. Later spelling included Wiberson and Wilboston.

In Medieval times a moated Manor House stood to the south of the Lane, and to the east of Rookery House, which took its name from a rookery built in the trees in the field opposite. Today the moated site is an English Heritage listed site.

By the 20th Century the small community had a general store, a post office, a blacksmith, a chimney sweep, and four public houses.

During the 1950’s there was a thriving Youth Club. A Christmas party and sports day was organised annually until 1988 in the Community Centre (now known as the Village Hall).

There is no school in Wyboston so children travel by coach to Roxton, Gt Barford or Sandy. For those children who do not attend state schools in the catchment area, it means travel by private car or public transport, as it does for those who attend private schools in the area.

Although situated outside the main village of Wyboston we are also home to Wyboston Lakes Ltd, who, set in 350 acres offers residential training and conference centres along with golf and a full range of leisure facilities and serviced offices.

The River Ouse runs along the east side of the A1 and provides many anglers with hours of amusement. While the Wait for the Waggon public house is situated on the northbound carriageway of the A1 and is the only easily accessible "watering hole" although officially as you approach Eaton Socon The Crown public house and hotel are also part of Wyboston.

Probably the most recent addition to Wyboston is Brookdale Healthcare who also purchased property in The Lane, Wyboston. This has resulted in the development of a large independent hospital and a care home for persons diagnosed with various levels of Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. Brookdale have also purchased the old Land Settlement Association offices in Morris Walk, now known as Brookdale House.

History courtesy of Whither Wyboston

Pictures courtesy of Russ Brown. Click on them for larger image

Wyboston Village Hall

Brookdale Healthcare


Chawston Manor is Chawstons most impressive building with an equally impressive history! The manor passed to Roger or Robert Hunt, who held it in 1414, in which year he was M.P. for Bedfordshire. His son Roger, who held by knight service in 1428, succeeded him. The latter was a distinguished lawyer, and was Speaker of the House of Commons in 1433 and five years later was created baron of the Exchequer.

Land girl Dorothy Hurren at Chawston Manor 1942
Photo courtesy of Stuart Antrobus – see http://tinyurl.com/2nq2up

During the 1930’s the Government decided to purchase land in Wyboston and Chawston as part of their Land Settlement Association Scheme (LSA) for unemployed miners from Kent and the north east of England. As well as providing smallholdings of five acres with glass houses and neat brick dwellings. The tenants had to obey the rule that all produce grown on the estate was marketed by the LSA. Top quality produce passed from the propagating houses to packing sheds and on to main vegetable markets. One can hardly imagine the impact this must have had, not only on Wyboston but also on the new residents of the fifty-five dwellings of the Chawston Estate as it was called.

Despite years of hard work it became difficult to match overheads and approximately fifty years later came the demise of the LSA. The properties were sold in Wyboston and Chawston, some to existing tenants. Many were put on the open market, sold and the houses extended and renovated.

History courtesy of Whither Wyboston

Pictures courtesy of Russ Brown. Click on them for larger image

Chawston Manor

Typical LSA Cottage


Colesden is now a hamlet of 24 homes, lying along just over a mile of the road between Chawston and Wilden.

Colesden was originally attached to the Bushmead Priory. In the early 13th Century Simon of Colesden lived there. He would have been astonished to view life as it is now with the enormous combines, tractors and lorries and a fast straight road through the centre. There was no road through to Wilden, as it ended at the Grange gate, until the enclosure act of 1837. Nine thatched cottages surrounded the green near the Colesden Brook, but just one thatched remains today. Not so long ago Colesden was an active community with its own Pubs, a Cricket field and Church room, but times change. All that now remains is a village notice board and post box. However a new house was built in Colesden in 2000.

Whilst the land around Colesden is still used primarily for farming there has been a growth of business and industrial units. People now choose to live in Colesden as a pleasant, quiet country hamlet. The occupants are still a friendly group who like to keep their village tidy and gather for a communal barbeque each summer.

The significant response to the village plan questionnaires showed how much Colesden residents care about their community. It is therefore not surprising that the items that were uppermost in the responses were a greater police presence (as is the plea from many country villages) and specific to Colesden, some form of traffic calming and speed limiting through the village.

Pictures courtesy of Russ Brown. Click on them for larger image

Colesden Lodge Farm

Field Cottage

Analysis of Questionnaires

A residential questionnaire and a commercial questionnaire were prepared and delivered to every house in the hamlets. The commercial questionnaire was personally delivered to businesses. Stamped Addressed Envelopes were provided for the returns. In excess of 300 residential questionnaires were delivered together with the commercial questionnaires. 100 households responded to the survey and these returns included 256 individual’s responses.

Several things were immediately apparent: -

Over 40% of the total responses wanted a greater Police presence.

Over 30% wanted extra activities for the youth in the area.

44% of the responses indicated a requirement for better road surfaces.

Over 50% of the total responses indicated that activities for under 16 year olds and 26-60 year olds were poor.

67% of the responses from Colesden indicated a wish for a speed limit to extend the length of the hamlet.

The majority of residents in all areas were happy with the street lighting

Among the many questions asked were: -

The total number of people living in each house.

We also asked about ages. The responses showed that 60% of our community are 40 years of age and over.

Interestingly 29 questionnaires were returned stating that they ran their own business.

Locals requested the following improvements to Transport and Infrastructure

Housing and Future Development raised some interesting answers

Snapshot views from other questions asked

Social Sport & Leisure

Although facilities for the under 16 were thought to be poor – None offered to start activities.

31% participated in some local sport.

30% regularly used footpaths and bridleways with 30% never using either and the other 40% occasionally making use of these.

32% had no opinion on the village hall facilities in Wyboston.

Housing and Future Development

92% of housing is Owner Occupied

24% of answers did state they were unable to move due to the property prices and

21% pointed out a lack of starter homes.

Services to the Community

40% would request a greater Police presence

33% would like to see more activities for the youths


17% of answers were very interested in being involved in a home watch scheme, whilst 44 % were interested

The above data and graphs are a brief sample of the full information collected.

Full analysis is available, please contact a committee member.

How do we proceed?

Borough and County Councillors can provide help and advice with particular planning issues but it is up to the rest of the community to work together with them to achieve your hopes.

If the villages are to improve there is a need for a willingness to work together. All residents have something to offer. Some in leadership, some in ideas, some in supporting and helping to carry forward new ideas. A community relies on the people who live there to seek to improve the quality of life for all ages and all persons.

If it is your wish to see the new Parish grow and go from strength to strength action is required.

We have highlighted a need for action groups in all of the following areas:

Environmental – including recycling.


Youth Council


Social and Leisure


Footpaths / Bridal ways

Already we have established: -

We need a motivated approach to the organisation of sporting and leisure activities for the young.

Volunteers are urgently required to form a Youth Council.

There is a need to compile a questionnaire for the young people to complete to highlight their areas of interest and ideas.

Only by the provision of activities, which are of interest to the young, can any Youth Council succeed.

Facilities could be improved for all ages. There is the possibility of holding one off evening workshops for classes such as flower arranging, computer training and cake decorating.

A willingness to come forward and offer time, skills and encouragement is clearly needed.

We identified a high level of need for future housing developments within our group of villages.


Each area needs



Priority Levels,


A Leader,

Partners to Help

and Resources.

With the split of the Parish Councils it is ever more important that the Borough understand the budget required in each area. Further investigation is needed to provide an accurate assessment of the financial requirements of the new Parish.

This is the best way forward to ensure that the right proportion of funds is allotted to the area.

Hopes for the Future

The first questions have been asked, the responses received.

The longest journeys only begin with the first step.

Needs have been identified, they will not happen without continued input from residents. It is the residents of the villages and the future residents who will ultimately benefit from any changes that take place.

To improve the future for the young and old, to ensure greater security for all and safety on the roads, volunteers are needed to address the specific needs identified.

If change is to take place it will require a range of residents coming forward and looking at each section identified as requiring improvement.

It will not happen overnight, but it can happen in the future. The responses received can be used to influence any future development plans of Statutory Authorities, and the Bedford Local Development Framework.


Initial working groups have now been formed as below:

  1. Requirement for better road surfaces.
  2. Speed Limits, traffic calming and infrared speed alerts.
  3. Home watch.
  4. Improved Police presence in the villages.
  5. Housing.

Leaders are in place and the work now begins. Additional volunteers are always welcome and further groups will be formed as necessary.

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