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The Creation of The Parish of Stewartby

The civil parish of Stewartby was created in 1937, the first Bedfordshire civil parish to be created in the 20th century. It was creating by taking Wootton Pillinge and Wootton Broadmead from the ancient parish to Wootton and Kempston Hardwick from the civil parish of Kempston Rural as well as parts of Houghton Conquest and Marston Moretaine.

On 12th January 1937 chairman of the London Brick Company, Percy Malcolm Stewart, wrote to Bedfordshire County Council [CDP47/4].

"Referring to my interview with you, I now write as Chairman of London Brick Co. Ltd., to inquire whether your County Council would be so good as to create Stewartby and the surrounding land, as indicated on a map which I enclose, into a separate Civil Parish, to be known as the Parish of Stewartby". 

"If my suggestions could be carried out, the suggested Parish would have an area of approximately 1946 acres, composed as follows: -

  • Part Parish of Wootton 1339 acres;
  • Part Parish of Houghton Conquest 329 acres;
  • Part Parish of Kempston Rural 253 acres;
  • Part Parish of Marston 25 acres;
    with a population estimated at 850 persons at present".

"The grounds of my application are: -

1. With the exception of a very small area, the whole of the land is owned by my Company, and as you know, the community of Stewartby has been established by them.

Sir Percy Malcolm Setwarts letter2. Apart from the Brickworks my Company have developed, and will continue further to develop the area, and in this connection I may tell you that we have already established schemes for water supply, sewerage, lighting, and scavenging for 210 new houses, and 11 other houses in the area enjoy these facilities. Stewartby is therefore enjoying urban amenities at the present time.

3. The plant now available is of a capacity sufficient for twice the number of houses already connected, and it is hoped that the facilities can be extended to any new properties within a reasonable distance of the land which has already been developed.

4. Stewartby is, as you are aware, no less than 2½ miles from the main part of the Wootton Village, of which it now forms part, and with the exception of the supply of water none of the other urban facilities can be shared jointly in an economical way with Wootton proper,

5. The inhabitants of Stewartby have been drawn largely from other districts, and approximately 500 will, it is believed, eventually be registered as Electors. the nearest polling station, police office, and the residence of other public officials are all at least 2½ miles away, and it is felt that in the interest of this community, they ought to be self-contained, and to be allowed to govern themselves".

"I recognise that financial adjustments may be necessary with the Parishes affected, and you may be aware that subject to such an adjustment, the Wootton Parish Council are agreeable to my proposal".

"In view of all the circumstances, and in view of the equitable division between the Ampthill and the Bedford Rural Districts, it is hoped that if this proposal be acceptable to the County Council, the new Parish may remain within the area of the Bedford Rural District".

"It will be observed that the area to be taken from the Ampthill Rural District is negligible, and the reason why it is suggested that it should be included, is that the land (particularly the small area in the Parish of Houghton Conquest) can readily be developed with the rest of Stewartby, and so could enjoy those urban amenities".

"If effect could be given to this proposal it would be much appreciated by my Company and myself".

The following norice appeared in The Bedfordshire Times [CDP5]:

"Newspaper cuttingThe Bedfordshire County Council, at their meeting on Friday, approved the recommendation of the Special Committee appointed to hold a Local Inquiry into the application for the formation of a new Parish of Stewartby, be formed".

"Stewartby, under this Order will have one representative on the Bedford Rural District Council, and the number of members of its Parish Council has been fixed at nine. It will thus be completely severed from Wootton, but as the Committee pointed out, out of the very good number of Wootton electors present at the Inquiry, not one spoke in opposition to the proposal. It was stated that if one point were made perfectly clear, there would be no objection - the point being that Wootton should not suffer in the matter of rates".

"Mr. John Longmore, of Messrs. Longmore, solicitors, Hertford, appearing on behalf of Sir Percy Malcolm Stewart, Bart., and the residents of Stewartby, repeated his assurances that his clients were very anxious to do everything they could from the financial point of view to settle any difference, and the loss to Wootton. It was pointed out that Stewartby was rapidly growing and that street lighting was becoming a necessity, and that if a separate Parish be not constituted, the cost of this service would fall not only upon Stewartby proper, but also upon the remainder of the parish of Wootton, most of which was two and a half miles away. Further expenses are likely to arise from time to time in respect of essential services, which also would fall on the whole parish of Wootton if the application were not granted. it was also pointed out that the population of Stewartby differed in character from that of Wootton, which was an old established village community where families had lived for generations, and there was little community and interest between the two centres in the parish".

The following notice was published pursuant to the Bedfordshire Country Council: Local Government Act 1933. Section 141. Proposed Parish of Stewartby on 4th June 1937:

"Bedfordshire County Council OrderNotice is hereby given pursuant to regulation 5 of the Local Government (Alteration of Areas) (Notices) Regulations, 1934, that the Bedfordshire County Council propose, subject to any Representations as hereinafter provided, to make an Order for the formation of a new Parish of Stewartby, consisting of part of the existing Parish of Wootton and part of the existing Parish of Kempston Rural. A copy of the map showing the area to be transferred to the new Parish may be inspected by any Local Government Elector at the office of the Clerk of the County Council, Shire Hall, Bedford, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on any weekday, except Saturday, when the map may be inspected between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Any Representations by a Local Authority concerned as to the proposal to include a part of the Parish of Kempston Rural in the said new Parish of Stewartby should be made to the undersigned not later than the 25th June, 1937".