Woodhall Spa out of competition as Judges feel it is more of a small town than village

Woodhall Spa’s chances of being crowned Britain’s best village was ko’d by judges who thought it was more like a small town!

Woodhall was short-listed from thousands of entries to feature in the Channel Four programme ‘Village of the Year’.

The programme is broadcast five times a week and in each episode four villages compete to progress to the next stage of the competition.

A panel of judges decides which village goes through based on a criteria including overall appearance and heritage and community links.

Presenter Penelope Keith visited Woodhall last July to interview residents and business owners - and film events like the popular 40s Festival.

Award winning butchers Russell and Sadie Hirst were among the businesses featured.

They had hoped Woodhall would go through but judges - Alex Langland, Patrick Grant and Juliette Sargeant thought otherwise.

Mrs Hirst said: “Sadly we didn’t win our heat with judges Alex and Patrick giving the reason they felt Woodhall Spa was a small town rather than a village.

“Juliette quite rightly pointed out that we are a village but that seemed to be the end of the matter!”

Ironically, the judges’ comments about Woodhall being a ‘small town’ come as residents and the parish council have been fighting plans for major housing developments.

It is thought up to 1,000 new homes could be built although one application for more than 300 homes off Tattershall Road was withdrawn by developers last week.

Despite the knock back on Channel Four, Mrs Hirst still thought the programme was worthwhile.

She added: “Despite progressing no further, it was a really positive experience and publicity.”

“It was such an honour to meet TV icon Penelope Keith who was utterly charming.

“It was great national exposure for the village on a prime time daytime slot on Channel Four.”

The programme featured many of Woodhall’s popular attractions including Janet’s Tea Room, Jubilee Park’s outdoor swimming pool, the Kinema in the Woods where Ms Keith met organist Alan Underwood - and the grounds of Petwood Hotel.

Janet Hunt, who has owned the village tea room for 19 years, was also interviewed. She confirmed Ms Keith was amazed with the tea room’s remarkable collection of war-time memorabilia - much of it connected to the Dambusters.

The overall winning village will receive £15,000 to be spent on a community project.