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History of Sandy - Modern Times

Sandy History



History of Sandy - Modern Times (1)


Much of the expansion of Sandy as we know it today, started in the 1950's. Sandye Place was sold to Bedfordshire Education Committee in 1952, the Mansion House was restored and modern extensions built, and the site became Sandye Place Secondary Modern School in 1954.

(Top picture on the right is of the Mansion House at Sandye Place Middle School - The house is used mainly for admin and holds the school library)

The Mansion House at Sandye Place Middle School, now the library and admin block for the school, which opened in 1954

The Great North Road became a dual carriageway, slicing Girtford and Beeston in two. Girtford Manor was demolished in the mid-fifties, in order to accommodate a road-side cafe and petrol station, which from the early eighties until 2007 was a Little Chef and Texaco service station. The Little Chef chain was sold off by its owners in January 2007 and under new restructuring, the site closed down and now forms part of a redeveloped Texaco Service station and Somerfield supermarket/convenience store (now part of the Co-op retail chain). The plans included closing off the entrance from the Sandy roundabout - the scene of many a near miss and accident over the years.

The crossroads at Girtford, once controlled by a complex set of traffic lights, was simplified at the end of the seventies, by a roundabout, and the A1 has been "improved". The former Little Chef on right by entrance to petrol station, Holiday Inn in the background.

(Second from top on right is looking north from the south side of Sandy Roundabout. These photos date back to 2005 and is pre-redevelopment of the Little Chef/Texaco site.)

A1 southbound looking north - Little Chef and Texaco in the background

(Third from Top: another view of Sandy roundabout on the A1, with the local Holiday Inn in the background to the south)

In 1973, Sandy Urban District Council, entered into an agreement with the Greater London Council, to erect 700 dwellings on 34 acres of an area of land between Sunderland Road, and St Neot's Road, together with three new schools. (the London overspill scheme, which has 'improved' so many East Anglian towns).

Three tier schooling was introduced in the seventies, Sandy Upper School and Robert Peel Lower School being built on the new estate, but the proposed middle school was transferred to Sandye Place. In recent times, with the development of 'Fallowfield', a new Lower School - Maple Tree', was opened on the new estate in September 2001, to accommodate children coming to live in the area.





Sandy roundabout on the A1 - Holdiday Inn is seen opposite to the south.


Sandy Urban District Council disappeared in 1974, as part of local government re-organisation, to be replaced by Sandy Town Council, with much reduced powers and responsibilities, housing being taken on by Mid Bedfordshire District Council. In recent years, the responsibility for council rented accomodation in Mid Beds, has passed to Aragon Housing. With the demise of Bedfordshire County Councilin 2009, Mid and South Bedfordshire District Councils combined to form Central Bedfordshire Council, with Bedford and North Bedfordshire District becoming Bedford Borough Council. In reality, the 'savings' supposedly gained by the removasl of one tire of local government, appears to have be minimised by the fact that many of the former County Council staff are occupying positions in the new councils and all three existing premises, County Hall (now renamed Borough Hall), Bedford Town Hall and the newly built Mid Bedfordshire Offices at Monks Way Shefford, remain fully occupied! Some of the former District Council's responsibilities have been returned to Sandy Town Council.


(Picture is of entrance to Sandy Town Council's extended offices in Cambridge Road)

Development has continued through the 80's and 90's, and where once there were parcels of land worked as market gardens, there are modern estates large and small. Even Bickerdike's Nursery succumbed to the developers in 1998/9.

With the GLC overspill development came the expansion of the industrial estates along Sunderland Road. Companies have come and gone, changed ownership etc.( Mid Beds District Council sold their ownership of the Middlefield Industrial Estate in January 2007), but today's make up is essentially light industrial units of small and medium sized enterprises, which provides a great deal of local employment.


Fallow Field has placed a further 900 homes in our midst, and the northern boundary road built to serve it (now also linking into Sunderland Road to offer access to industrial deliveries), will see further residential and industrial developments.

Modern Sandy is a mix of original housing stock, commuter-land estates and local industry in a still largely rural setting, the balance just about remaining right for its citizens. We still have two banks, a Post Office and enough variety of shops and local services to keep the quality of life at a sustainable level in the 21st Century. The recent 'Credit Crunch' issues in the summer and autumn of 2008 have started to affect the town, primarily with a slump in the housing market, with at least one local estate agent having closed their Sandy office because of it. How the town and its citizens fare though the next few years remains to be seen.



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