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 February 2015

The Bell - latest NEWS (Feb 21st update)


Former landlords of the Magpie, Harrold, James & Sally Bolton are proud to be returning to the area and opening the doors to the local communities - welcoming many familiar, as well as new faces! Target date is Friday March 20th.


Since leaving The Magpie James & Sally have had 2 children: Alistair (11) and Rose (8), they too are busy making their own business plans for tuck and ice cream sales!
James and Sally would like to reassure the village that they want to return The Bell to it’s former glory, offering a family friendly environment, welcoming atmosphere, great food, quality service and fantastic real ales!


They are keen to reinstate the pub as the heart of the community and are keen to hear your  ideas and feedback! Please feel free to email them on james&   Brief message from them: “The first thing we are going to do is bring back the bar stools and dress the windows”



The Bell - latest NEWS (Feb 14th update)

We have been contacted by Sally and James Bolton who are hoping to re-open the Bell on March 18th in start-up mode, with full opening on Friday March 20th.  Some may remember Sally and James from their time successfully running the Magpie in Harrold (1998-2001)  - they are committed to returning the Bell to the heart of the village as a welcoming and friendly pub which also serves great food.  We may also see the return of the sorely missed bar-stools!  We'll keep you updated as we hear more.


On December 27th, The Bell suddenly closed.  Nick Turpin and Victoria Warriner abandoned the pub leaving frustrated staff unpaid for their hard work over Christmas and Boxing Day.

As of January 28th, the latest news from Greene King is that they have identified a new tenant—someone who knows the area and The Bell. They want to put the pub back at the centre of the community.  Greene King hope that a contract will  be signed very soon and that the pub should be open again before the end of February.  Check this website for further news.



Senior Citizens’ Fish and Chip Lunch

Wednesday 11th March

12.30 for 1 o’clock

Village Hall

Let Jill (720261) know by 2nd March

Due to lack of funds there will be a charge of £4 for the fish and chip meal.

If you know of anyone eligible to come to the lunch please tell Jill. 


Happy birthday to:

Jack Holden Postles who will be 14 on the 10th and to anyone else with a birthday in February.

NO MORE 'Round and About' 

Barbara Corley who usually provides the 'Round and About' article,   has decided she can no longer contribute to this publication. 

W.I. News


Just before Christmas members enjoyed a Bring and Share Christmas Supper at the home of Jim and Doreen Wheeler.  Candles glowed and tables were decorated with festive treats and baubles and everybody enjoyed a lovely evening putting us in the Christmas spirit


Our January Meeting was on a cold, windy and wet evening when none of us really wanted to turn out, and to the back drop of the distressing news from Paris we all needed a lift and that  is exactly what we got from our speaker Chris Ward.  He gave an informal illustrated talk about 101 Things You Never Knew About Garden Birds.  His digital pictures were all so familiar to us, and just looking at the robins, tits, wrens, sparrows and blackbirds made everyone smile, and what he had to say was equally light hearted.  We now know that having a wide black bar on your chest makes you very attractive to a female great tit; that if you eat lots of caterpillars your yellow vibrant breast will attract a female

blue-tit; male robins are the bullies of our gardens; but best of all was the sleeping habits of wrens and nuthatches on cold nights: they all pile into a vacant nest box and huddle together to keep warm, an idea he suggested we might adopt in Odell!  He also told us of a use for wood pigeons: other birds use their feathers in thousands to line their nests to make them warm and cosy.  And finally did you know the song of the wren exceeds EU safe decibels? 


The next meeting will be held in the Village Hall on Tuesday 10th February at 7.30pm, when one of our long standing members, Jill, will take us to the Galapagos where she went on holiday with her sister. Barry Halton will assist.  This should be a most interesting evening and will be open to non- members, so, please do come along and hear about Jill’s adventures and see her photos.


Hostesses are Stasia Wherrett and Audrey Dempsey.


New members are always welcome and if you need any more information please ring Karen Boyes, 327003.  Ladies, just come along to the Village Hall on the second Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm and see what we do and how we enjoy ourselves.  To find out more about the WI go to or the local Bedfordshire Federation website,uk/bedfordshire       Jane Eshelby 





We are proud to share the news of the outstanding achievement of Odell resident, Professor James Caldwell, who was awarded his fourth Honorary Doctorate in Professional Achievement, by Teesside University.  Coverage of the award was given by Gazette Live  on November 25th 2014:


‘Professor James Caldwell of Odell is awarded his fourth Honorary Doctorate in Professional Achievement, by Teesside University.


The second day of Honorary Graduates at Teesside University saw the work of a leading global academic recognised.

Professor James Caldwell already has strong ties to the university - having previously gained his PHD and Doctor of Science there.

Both of these are exceptional achievements but for Professor Caldwell, receiving a Doctor in Professional Achievement is special in its own right.’

“This one is special in that it recognises my career and my achievements throughout my career, which include all my degrees including my PHD and DSc," he said.


Parish Council

Parish Council Meeting: 19 January 2015


Support to the Elderly and Vulnerable

There are a number of agencies that exist to help the elderly or vulnerable in the rural area, particularly during the winter period. These include:   

Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity: The charity provides a range of services including the ‘Village Agent’ service to the elderly and vulnerable. Lizzie Barnicoat is the Village Agent for Harrold, Carlton and Odell and can be contacted on Freephone 0800 039 1234. 

Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust: The Trust was launched in 1997 and their aim is to support any community based initiative which has the potential to improve the "quality of life" of local communities or individuals, such as crime prevention, road safety and the safety of the individual.  They operate the “Bobby Scheme” which is a free home security service.  

Age UK Bedfordshire: Age UK is a charity that offers a range of services to those over 50.  This includes a free confidential information and advice service on a wide range of topics including welfare benefits, housing advice and help with consumer and health issues. The charity also has home help, handyperson and gardening services.  

Broadband Update

The green broadband box on The Green, Harrold is now active and serves the part of Harrold village between The Green and the High Street going towards Lavendon; this also benefits Orchard Lane, Brook Lane and Wood Road. The remaining two boxes in Harrold will be installed and powered in January 2015 and go live in February. They will serve the remainder of Harrold, Carlton and Little Odell. Odell itself needs to wait for significant second tranche funding which, including the Borough Council contribution, totals £2.4 million. There is a significant contracting process to be undertaken but it is expected that the timing for Odell  should be evident in April 2015. 

Sharnbrook Academy Federation Consultation

The Parish Council considered the Sharnbrook Academy Federation consultation on proposed changes to age-ranges, structures and admissions, launched on 15 December 2014. The proposal is that Harrold Priory Middle, Margaret Beaufort Middle and Sharnbrook Upper Schools should become a single school, based on the three existing sites, offering provision from age 9 (Year 5) to age 18/19 (Year 13) and that Lincroft School should extend its age-range to become an all-through secondary school offering provision from age 9 (Year 5) to age 16 (Year 11). The consultation can be accessed via the link

Village Hall

The Parish Council allocated funding to undertake essential repairs at the Village Hall. This includes hacking off water damaged and damp plaster to the walls to the Toilet, Toilet lobby and Hall, specialist damp proofing treatment, re-plastering and redecorating in the toilets and entrance hall and the replacement of the vinyl flooring in the entrance hall. The total project cost was almost £4,000 and the Borough Councillor, Alison Field-Foster, has allocated almost £1,700 to the project from the Borough Council Ward Funding initiative.


Footpaths and Bridleways

The general state of the footpaths is good given the current ground conditions; however, motorcycles have further damaged the routes in places, notably Yelnow Lane and Odell Great Wood. There remained some areas, however, that needed attention and the Parish Council expressed concern that some of these remained outstanding for some considerable time. The Parish Council are, therefore, seeking a meeting with the Rights of Way Team at Bedford Borough Council to obtain an update on what outstanding tasks can be resolved, and when.


Bedfordshire Police - Update

A current scam was reported to the Parish Council and involves a fraudster calling elderly victims, telling them that he/she is a police officer and that their bank cards have been compromised.  Victims are encouraged to call their banks and cancel their cards, but the fraudsters leave the telephone line open and pretend to be the victim’s bank.  They then persuade the victim to divulge their PIN, bank details and other personal information and they then send a courier to pick up the ‘compromised cards’ for ‘forensic testing’. The cards are then used by the fraudsters to withdraw as much money as possible. It is important to note that Police Officers and banks NEVER ask for PIN’s, and Police Officers NEVER send couriers. Parish Councillors are urged to pass this message to anyone that may be vulnerable to this kind of fraud. 


National Planning Policy Guidance

The Parish Council considered recent changes that had been made to National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) following consultation by the Government in 2014 on a range of proposals aimed at reducing the burden of developer contributions on small-scale developers, custom and self-builders with the aim of increasing housing supply. This includes changes to affordable housing contributions in rural areas. The Government amended NPPG, effective from 1 December 2014, which means the Borough Council may no longer be able to seek affordable housing on sites of up to 10 units unless the total floor space of the units combined is more than 1000 square metres.


Speeding Issues - Average Speed Cameras

The Parish Council has been seriously considering the benefits to be derived from the provision of average speed cameras, particularly given the continuing problem of speeding throughout the village and the high incidence of accidents in the High Street. Bedford Borough Council are currently undertaking what they call a "coarse assessment" in Odell on a number of factors (e.g. accident history, percentage of vehicles exceeding the speed limit, evidence of community support etc) to determine an initial priority list for further investigation of the provision of average speed cameras in appropriate locations. One of the critical factors used for the assessment is demonstrable levels of community support and, in this regard, the Parish Council welcomes the views of the community on whether the provision of average speed cameras should be a priority for implementation in the village.  


Works to the serious potholes in Mill Lane have now been completed and the repainting of the white lines throughout the Village is planned to be completed as soon as possible (the date for the work is weather dependent as lining material cannot be laid on wet, cold or salted roads). In respect of the corroding of some street lighting columns in the High Street, the Borough Council Street Lighting Team has inspected the light columns and do not consider that the peeling of the paint is leading to a loss of integrity. The Borough Council are currently putting together a programme of repainting of these columns that will hopefully be carried out in the summer months. 

Council Tax Precept 2015/2016

The Parish Council has resolved to levy a Precept of £7,070 in 2015/2016. The Parish Precept charge that will apply to a Council Tax bill for a property in Valuation Band D is determined by dividing the total amount of the Parish Precept by the Parish Tax base; the Precept for properties in other valuations bands is then determined by a statutory ratio to the Band D precept.  Based upon the approved level of Precept for 2015/2016, and a Tax base of 136.61 (Band D equivalent properties), the Odell precept at Band D would be £51.75 (a 1.23% increase on 2014/2015 level of £51.12). 

Defibrillator Unit

The Parish Council considered the essential need to raise awareness of the publically accessible defibrillator unit in the village (in the telephone kiosk) and potential media to be used, including profile in the village magazine (planned for March edition). The meeting also considered the need to maintain the contact list of trained users.   

Bedfordshire on Sunday

Alison Field-Foster, Borough Councillor, reported that following the recent decision not to distribute the Bedfordshire on Sunday newspaper to North Bedfordshire villages and, in light of representations made, the newspaper had now indicated a preparedness to distribute bulk copies to a preferred location in the village if arrangements could be made to commit surplus copies to the recycling bin on a weekly basis. The meeting considered the telephone kiosk to be the preferred location and Cllr. Goodman agreed to dispose of surplus copies. 

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting would incorporate the Annual Parish Meeting and is scheduled to take place on Monday 16 March 2015 at 7.30pm.


Friends For Life: Care Home Resident Befriending Service

Friends for Life is a Bedford-based charitable project, providing friendship and company to residents of Bedford care homes. A significant number of residents in Bedford care homes are socially isolated, receiving few or no external visitors. This can often result in loneliness.

Friends for Life recognises how effective friendship is in reducing loneliness and recruit volunteers to become personal befrienders, offering time, friendship and company to those who most need it. Most, but not all, of those benefiting from Friends for Life befrienders are older people and Friends for Life offer their befrienders to any resident who is in need.

Friends of the Elderly recently published a report affirming that ‘there is a strong connection between low contact with family members and loneliness’ (The Future of Loneliness, 2014:22). The Campaign to End Loneliness states that ‘loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity’ (

Friends for Life currently have 50 active volunteers, visiting 62 residents across 21 different homes in Bedford. Friends for Life befrienders make a real difference to the lives of those they visit and the project is enthusiastically endorsed by the care homes and social services.

The need for more volunteers is high and Friends for Life are looking to recruit both male and female volunteer befrienders, of all ages and backgrounds, particularly within Odell, Sharnbrook, Harrold and the surrounding areas.

Friends for Life offer training, ongoing support, paid travel expenses and paid parking expenses. If you are someone who has an hour or two of free time on a regular basis, enjoys brightening up someone’s day and wants to make a real difference in your local community, please get in contact. Friends for Life would love to hear from you!

If you are interested in finding out more about Friends for Life, or details about how you can get involved, please visit or email  


We give a warm welcome to Lesley and Andrew Thomas, and children Owen, Elin and Jasmine, who have recently moved to Odell from Hertfordshire.


Borough Councillor’s Update – January 2015

Contact your Borough Councillor Alison Foster by telephone on 07773371190 or email at 

NHS Update 

You may have seen in the local and indeed national media that Accident & Emergency departments have seen unprecedented demand over the Christmas period and into January.  Bedford Hospital has reported that admissions were up during this period by 20% in comparison with 2013.  

The Hospital has subsequently asked residents to consider whether they could receive treatment elsewhere to avoid unnecessary trips to A & E.  Potential alternatives for treatment include GP surgeries, pharmacies or the Putnoe Walk-In Centre. 

The Hospital has responded to the strain on its services by working with social care providers (including the Borough Council), GPs, community health groups and the ambulance service to prevent hospital admissions where possible and to ensure patients are discharged safely. 

In other news, the body responsible for organising local healthcare services has reported significant financial issues for the current year.  At a meeting at the beginning of January, the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) reported that in a worst case scenario its spending deficit for 2014/15 could be as high as £36m.  I will continue to monitor this situation and any subsequent effect on services. 

Black Cat Roundabout 

The works to enlarge the Black Cat roundabout and install new lanes and traffic signals are continuing and are set to finish in early 2015. 

The Government recently announced plans to invest £1.5bn in the East of England’s road network. One of the schemes listed is to dual the A428 from the Black Cat roundabout to Caxton Gibbet, west of Cambridge. This means there will be a dualled road linking the M1 to Cambridge.   

Pothole Funding 

The Government has announced that it is to provide Bedford Borough Council with £15.5m to repair potholes.  The funding will be available from 2015/16 and will cover the period to 2020/21.  Just under £3m will be provided next year. 

Winter Updates 

As a reminder, the Council provides updates on its website showing changes to transport arrangements and waste collections as a result of the winter weather.  It also has a tracking map showing the location of gritting vehicles.  The page is particularly useful for those anticipating changes to public, school and adult services transport arising from poor weather conditions.  You can access the updates by visiting  

For updates on Broadband and Bedfordshire Police please see Parish Council Report. 

News from Harrold Odell Country Park 

Here we are – another New Year begins with the circle of life unfolding before our eyes as you make your way around the park. 

The snowdrops are already peeping up through the autumn leaf litter and winter migrant birds are visible everywhere.  Look out for Scandinavian thrushes like Redwing & Fieldfare feeding on winter berries or scavenging for insects in the dead leaves.  If we’re very lucky we could see Waxwings. 

At the end of December we were lucky enough to be visited by a Great White Egret which attracted “twitchers” from miles around.  We also have a number of different ducks and geese to look at on the lake.  There are some lovely info boards in the main bird hide to help identify what’s out and about and a sightings board outside the café entrance.  These were paid for by our Friends Group. 

We are enjoying the company of a particularly bold robin.  He comes into the workshop while we’re in there doing tool maintenance and hops around looking for spiders.  We’ve taken to treating him to mealworms and any grubs we come across when we’re felling trees.  He is going to be obese by spring. 

After being thwarted by flooding during the last two winters we have at last managed to get into the heart of the Nature Reserve to thin out some more of the spindly willows in there.  They are too close together to be able to grow into the splendid specimens found elsewhere in the park.  The thinning will let more light in allowing the wild flowers to flourish through the spring and summer. 

This wet woodland habitat is rare in Bedfordshire and we have had some truly special orchids appear in areas we have already worked on.  It is also an essential area for the park’s amphibians that rely on the seasonal ponds to breed.  The stumps left behind after felling will re-grow thus enabling us to have trees of differing ages that will appeal to a bigger diversity of wildlife. 

Any good quality timber arising will be seasoned and processed into firewood. Any that is of poor quality will be stacked into habitat piles and left to rot down.  This provides opportunities for insects and fungi to thrive which in turn will feed birds.  Voles and other small rodents can breed and hide out in them and our resident grass snakes use them for hibernation dens and in the spring places to lay their eggs.  Rotting timber generates the necessary heat to incubate the eggs. 

Elsewhere we are coppicing the willow for materials for hedge laying.  We need stakes and binders for this which are harvested from our coppice plots.  Ideally hazel is the best but we have very little in the park.  We therefore resort to using willow, which sometimes sprouts from the stakes that are put in to hold the hedge in place. 

Members of our Friends group have built new firewood storage bins in the compound in the overflow car park.  They have been a fantastic asset as we are now able to keep our wood much drier.  Previously we have stored our split logs under tarpaulins but this is not ideal as damp can seep in when it rains.  Now the air can freely circulate and it has made a big difference.  Our thanks go to everyone involved particularly to Trevor Sudds and Roy Mayne, the principle builders. 

However, thanks must also go to all our visitors who put donations into the car park boxes.  It is this money that is funding these extra projects around the park and paying for equipment and volunteer training.  Every penny is ploughed back into the park. 

It might not be widely known but we also have management responsibilities for other sites in the area.  We look after places like Daisy Bank Picnic Site near Felmersham, Pavenham Bury, Lower Farm Road Nature Reserve, Stevington Country Walk, Bromham Water Mill and Yelnow New Wood the other side of Odell.  Together with colleagues working at our sister park, Priory Country Park, Bedford we could be asked to go anywhere within the Borough Council Estate should problems arise. 

We are looking forward to the spring and the possibility of putting on a few events during the coming year.  Keep your eye out for posters in the notice board, office window and on the website over the next few months.  Log on to to have a look. 

Dates for your diary 

Health Walks

We meet every other Thursday at the café entrance at 10.30am for registration.  Walks last about an hour with the aim of improving your health and wellbeing and an opportunity of making friends.  There’s always an option to have coffee, cake and a natter in the café afterwards.  Leader: Janet Munro tel. 01234 720016 or e-mail for more information.

Thursday February 12th, Thursday February 26th

Thursday March 12th, Thursday March 26th


Friends Conservation Tasks

Volunteers meet on the last Monday of every month (a week earlier if a bank holiday) at the Rangers’ office at 10am for registration and tea.  Please wear sturdy footwear and appropriate old clothing.  Refreshments, gloves and tools provided.  Please contact Richard Dowsett or Nicola Monsey on 01234 720016 or e-mail for more information

Monday February 23rd

Monday March 30th

  Janet Munro , Greenspace Officer

The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook

16th – 21st March - ABIGAIL’S PARTY

The social get-together from hell!  An hilarious, acerbic comedy  by Mike Leigh 

TICKETS on sale from 2nd February: on-line at: #

Sharnbrook Post Office (in person) or Bedford Central Box Office*# – 718112

10 % discount for 10 or more (excluding Fri., Sat. & Charity performance)

2 wheelchair spaces*, easier access seating Rows A – C: hearing loop Rows A –E. (# Booking fee)



4th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jane Smith’s, Horsefair Lane

9th 3.30pm Messy Church, Harrold URC

10th 7.30pm W.I., Village Hall

12th 10.30am Health Walk, HOCP

18th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jane Eshelby’s, Newton House, Avenue Road, Rushden

23rd 10am HOCP Conservation Tasks Day

23rd 7.30pm Lent Course, 3 The Moor, Carlton

24th 7.30pm “ “ Pointers Lodge, Church Walk, Harrold

25th 1.30pm “ “ 32 Rectory Close, Carlton

26th 10.30am “ “ The Stables, Church Walk, Harrold

26th 10.30am Health Walk, HOCP


2nd 7.30pm Lent Course, 3 The Moor, Carlton

3rd 7.30pm “ “ Pointers Lodge, Church Walk, Harrold

4th 1.30pm “ “ 32 Rectory Close, Carlton

5th 10.30am “ “ The Stables, Church Walk, Harrold

6th 10.30am Women’s World Day of Prayer, Harrold URC

11th 12.30 Senior Citizens’ Fish and Chip Lunch 

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the March 2015 magazine to Tricia Hudson (ed at  or Catherine Corkery by February 12th at the latest.  May we remind you that the editorial team exercises the right to edit, shorten or alter any items that are submitted.  Also, the opinions expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and are not the responsibility of the editorial team.

Wodehill Cheese

Wodehill Cheese — hand-made in Carlton 

Wodehill Blue is a semi-soft creamy blue cheese

made with milk from Jersey cows in Carlton 

Nearest stockists:  Hurleys in Sharnbrook and Carlton Village Shop




Alex Stubbs Flooring 

Carpets, Vinyls, Laminates, Safety Flooring, Adaptions, Refits, Repairs 

Supplied and Fitted 

07976 260572

01234 240954



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Last revised: February 22, 2015.