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Westoning Garden City

A report of the Ampthill Rural District Council meeting in the Bedfordshire Times 4 March 1927 recorded an unusual planning proposal from Mr William Benjamin Ropkins, J.P., who resided at The Gables, Westoning, and was Governing Director of the Gaius Estates and Building Society.

His letter to the Council read: ‘I wish to call attention to the following facts: Sampshill, in the parish of a hill which rises ¾ inch in each 6 inches, and is obviously a very difficult hill to walk up; for wheeled traffic it has a bad name, and it is terrible for horse flesh and a bugbear to all the agriculturalists in the neighbourhood...There is no alternative but to remove the hill bodily and substitute for it an easier gradient. I have recently purchased on behalf of my Company the whole of the area of Sampshill, where I have commenced laying out the whole of it as Westoning Garden City, on modern up to date lines. Plans have been prepared which show the whole lay-out, including provision of an excellent station. It is not right that my Company should bear the whole of the outlay which will be incurred in the formation of this site. I shall therefore be glad if you will, with your Council, please give the whole subject your careful consideration, and let me have your decision at the earliest date possible, as this is of the utmost importance for carrying out of my plans in their entirety.’

The Chairman: ‘I think you had better refer that letter to the Highways Committee.’

Mr R.N.Attwood; ‘He saw the hill was there before he bought the estate didn’t he?’ (laughter).

The Minutes of the Ampthill RDC Highways Committee [Ref.RDAM2/21] drily record: ‘Recommended that the Clerk be directed to reply that while the Council appreciate Mr Ropkins desire to improve the neighbourhood they are unable to contribute anything from Public Funds towards the suggested works.’