The Biddenham Society (founded 1965)
Biddenham Society opposes plans for Baulk House
Application 18/01831/FUL to construct a property on a narrow plot between Baulk House and 64 Bromham Road has been opposed by the society. Baulk House is grade 2 listed and in opposing the application the society has drawn the attention of the planning authority to a recent publication by Historic England
which sets out the factors to be taken into account when a new build property is to be sited close to a listed building.
The society lists several reasons why the setting of the listed Baulk House would be compromised by the proposal, as well as criticising some poorly presented aspects of the application which fail to illustrate the effects of the new build on various views of, and across, the property.
The 2018 Biddenham Show will be held on Sunday, September 9th at:
St James’ Primary School & Village Hall, Main Road, Biddenham – 12 noon – 4pm
Update: May 2018
Update: January 2018
Update: 4 October 2017
8 Main Road demolished!
Update: 1 September 2017
After due consideration, and despite widespread objections, the planning committee approved this application following adjustments to the height and nature of the front boundary. It is also regrettable that, when considering applications in Biddenham for demolition and replacement with larger properties, officers now regularly cite the existence of previously approved large developments in Main Road and Biddenham Turn as justification, even though ‘precedence’ is not recognised in local planning law
Planning application 17/01738/FUL
seeks approval to demolish the existing property at 8 Main Road and replace it with a new dwelling of substantial size and contemporary design.
The architectural style and mass are not replicated in other properties on Main Road, which is more typified by single houses of varying character which do not detract from their surroundings.
The roadside boundary of the site fronts the Biddenham Conservation area, and any development will therefore have a significant impact on the special character of this pretty part of Biddenham, and on the setting of the grade 2 listed building opposite.
The society believes the proposed replacement building is not contextually appropriate in respect of size, scale, massing, architectural character, relationship with nearby buildings, and alignment and treatment of the setting, and has recommended that planning permission is refused.
The Biddenham Society
In 2016 the Biddenham Society successfully had ‘White Cottage’, 34 Day’s Lane, listed to avoid any possible demolition of this historic property, one of the few Arts and Craft houses in the village. An application has now been submitted for a variety of repairs, alterations and extensions to the main house, and for the construction of a substantial annexe in the garden.
Whilst the society is prepared to support many of the repairs and alterations, we have serious concerns on a number of matters including the choice and use of the materials proposed which we believe will compromise the design and setting of the building. We have made our reservations known to the planning authority and suggested ways forward for consideration.
We are however completely opposed to the construction of the annexe which, in our view, is quite inappropriate. The structure would not only compromise the house itself, but also the important relationship between the house and the garden design for which the architect achieved renown, and which was lauded by the famous Gertrude Jekyll and continues to influence garden design to the present day.
Full details of the application can be found on the borough’s website by quoting 18/00877/FUL or 18/00878/LBC.
Bedford Tigers, despite a lack lustre 1st half, came back to win the match!
Final score was a win for the Tigers 52 – Luton 42 !
The game is Rugby but more specifically Rugby League – if you haven’t seen it live come down and have a look. Game starts at 2:30pm.
The teams involved are Bedford Tigers and Luton Vipers (Two adult teams that play in the East of England league).
The Bedford Cup is an annual season opener and the new feature is that the cup has been donated in memory of Lesley Ashton who sadly passed last year and was a popular teacher over many years in the Bedford area.
Following the cup game there will be a set of fixtures starting on 5th May and we will publish the fixture list separately.
This will include games against teams from Milton Keynes, St Albans, Hemel Hempstead, St Ives, Southend, Brentwood, Hitchin/North Herts and Luton. There will also Under 14 and Under 16 activities and games each week.
If you love Rugby please come down. Watch the game, have a sit and a cup of tea or a beer and enjoy the fresh air. There is no entry fee.
[The ground is located at the Biddenham end of the bypass]
Photos, courtesy Gary Ingerson [Rocket Brand Communication]
maybe not, but a good view of (& from) the old Golf Club!
The Biddenham Society
BEDFORD BOROUGH LOCAL PLAN 2035: CONSULTATION
The Biddenham Society has submitted the following objections to Policies 19 and 23 (which relate to tracts of land west of Gold Lane and on the north side of Bromham Road close to the bridge) of the draft 2035 Local Plan, and has requested the policies are withdrawn.
This area of land is currently protected by Policy AD43 (Urban Open Spaces and Gaps) of the Borough’s Allocations and Designations Plan. Policy AD43 identifies urban open spaces as those ‘which have particular importance in maintaining the function, character and identity of the urban area’. It specifically highlights the need to preserve ‘visual breaks to safeguard local distinctiveness including views (particular areas of importance around Elstow and Biddenham have been identified as gaps)’.
It further states that ‘Development will not be permitted on land designated as urban open space and gaps unless it can be demonstrated that the reasons for designation are not compromised or that other material considerations outweigh the need to retain the urban open space and gaps undeveloped’.
This policy (AD43) supports the most recent inspector’s report on this area which relates to an application from Wimpey Homes Holdings to ‘Allocate 18.61ha of land at Gold Lane, Biddenham for some 350 new dwellings on 10ha of net developable land with generous landscaping’ (May 2001 Inspector’s Report on the Bedford Borough Local Plan, page 116 section 4.2.27). He concludes that ‘Development of the scale proposed would seriously diminish the visual attraction of the village edge’, and that ‘By extending north-westwards over what is now a relatively wide rural landscape, it would much diminish the separation between this fringe area of Bedford and the nearby village of Bromham’.
The Biddenham Society suggests that the rationale for creating Policy 19 to supersede Policy AD43 of the Allocations and Designation Plan for this area is unsound for the following reasons:
- The Inspector’s conclusions are as valid now as they were in 2001. In the intervening period the only change on this site has been the replacement of a single derelict barn at the end of Duck End Lane with a new dwelling, otherwise the entire area is in exactly the same condition as before, and remains undisturbed agricultural land.
- Whilst the current proposal in Policy 19 is to develop only 160 dwellings compared to the 350 on which the inspector ruled, his conclusions are equally valid when applied to this lesser number. Firstly, a smaller development will still impact significantly on ‘the visual attraction of the village edge’ as he states, and secondly, confining 160 dwellings to the north-east of the site does not negate the inspector’s concern of closing the gap with Bromham by extending the village north-westwards.
- The development of 160 dwellings in Proposal 19 is certainly in conflict with the existing Policy AD43, and it is difficult to conceive how one could dispute that this development would have a serious negative effect on ‘maintaining the function, character and identity’ of Biddenham. Further, the local authority cannot argue that ‘other material considerations outweigh the need to retain the urban open space and gaps undeveloped’ as Bedford Borough has many more sustainable and brown-field sites that could be developed for the 160 properties proposed here.
- Proposal 9 is also flawed on practical grounds. There is no safe vehicular access to and from the section of the site identified, with any chosen exit onto Gold Lane raising the prospect of a significant increase in traffic through the centre of the village. Local schools are not equipped to handle the increased numbers of school-age children which will result from new housing of this magnitude, the education service already being under pressure to cater for the extra demand resulting from the large building programme north of Bromham Road.
The Biddenham Society therefore urges Bedford Borough to delete Policy 9 from the 2035 draft Local Plan.
This area of land is currently protected by Policy AD42 (Local Gaps) of the Allocations and Designations Plan, and by Policies CP12 and CP13 of the Core strategy and Rural Issues Plan. The proposed Policy 23 to the new Local Plan seeks to set aside important geographical and environmental factors which the borough previously considered to be sufficiently significant as to be worthy of inclusion as ‘red lines’ in the planning framework. These include
- Preserving the physical presence, visual appearance, character, and integrity of the gap between the site and the Bromham boundary; and
- Defining the site as open countryside within the context of Settlement Policy Areas, with future development only being permitted if consistent with national policy, in particular PPS7: Planning and the Countryside.
There have been no changes to this area of land since the above two plans were approved, the most recent application for development (16/00737/MAO) being withdrawn following widespread opposition, including from the planning authority. It is therefore difficult to understand why there should be a reversal of policy as the earlier objections still apply, especially when the relatively small number of dwellings that can be accommodated could be built on more suitable sites available elsewhere in the borough.
In addition to the above it is clear there are several other sound reasons why this particular site is unsuitable for housing development. These include
- Its part presence in flood zones 2 and 3a which will place an unnecessary burden and worry on future occupants of dwellings constructed here;
- The presence of a narrow and dangerous access onto Bromham Road;
- Causing increased traffic flow across the ancient Bromham Bridge in one direction, and onto the Bromham bypass via a hazardous junction in the other direction; and
- The destruction of the beautiful vistas to and from the bridge and the mill.
The Biddenham Society therefore urges Bedford Borough to
delete Policy 23 from the 2035 draft Local Plan.
Dr Tony Wood Chairman
The Biddenham Society (founded 1965)
Chairman: Dr Tony Wood
Land off Deep Spinney, Biddenham, Bedfordshire
The Biddenham Society opposes this application.
There are many reasons why this application should be refused by the local authority. Most of these have been identified, and are strongly supported, by residents of the village, and no doubt form the basis of numerous objections already submitted. These include:
- Destruction of the fine landscape views across the site towards the river valley
- Loss of the present wildlife-friendly paths through arable farmland with the consequent destruction of habitats
- Reduction of the visual separation of Biddenham from Bromham
- Dangerous entrance and exit proposals for vehicles associated with the site
- Significant increases in traffic through the village and on Bromham Road
- Inadequate schools provision to support the number of properties proposed
- Potentially detrimental effects on the village pond and its associated wildlife
- Overdevelopment of the area with consequent loss of character
In the most recent (2001) report by an independent inspector appointed by the Secretary of State to consider objections to the development of this parcel of land, the inspector states:
- “…development of the scale proposed would seriously diminish the visual attractions of the village edge…and the separation between this fringe area of Bedford and the nearby village of Bromham” (May 2001 Report, section 4.2.30).
This proposal is in conflict with current policy AD43 of the Bedford Borough’s Allocations and Designations Plan, and is contrary to saved Policies BE30 i), BE35 iii), and BE36, of the Local Plan, and Policy CP21 iii) of the Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan, and we urge its refusal.
Dr Tony Wood
5 February 2018