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on the north side of Bromham Road close to the bridge) of the draft 2035 Local Plan, and has requested the policies are withdrawn.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
STOP THESE OUTRAGEOUS DEVELOPMENTS AT GOLD LANE
The last remaining large green space in Biddenham, the farmland west of Gold Lane, is under threat:
- From application 18/00140/MAO to build 250 dwellings on the site
- From Policy 19 of the draft new Bedford Borough Local Plan 2035 which will remove the protection given by the previous Local Plan.
The picture above shows what this area could look like if we fail to stop these threats.
The development of this large site will remove the fine landscape views towards the river valley and Bromham, ruin the quality of the rural walks along the many footpaths, threaten wildlife living in the vicinity of our ancient village pond, overload our local schools, greatly increase traffic along Bromham Road and Gold Lane generating dangerous exits from the site, and reduce the green gap separating Biddenham and Bromham. With the huge surrounding developments, Biddenham has already contributed significantly to the borough’s housing targets. There should be no more building here.
THE BIDDENHAM SOCIETY IS WORKING WITH THE PARISH COUNCIL AND LOCAL GROUPS TO BLOCK THIS POTENTIAL DESECRATION OF OUR VILLAGE, BUT WE NEED THE HELP OF RESIDENTS AND OTHER SUPPORTERS IF WE ARE TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
We are asking you to object to BOTH of these threats SEPARATELY to show the strength of feeling in the village. Below we tell you how to make your objections. Individual submissions from all the adult occupants of a single household and their friends (whether or not they live in the village) all count, and will multiply the number of objections recorded by the borough and the impact of our objections. In every case the name and address of the individual objector must be included.
APPLICATION 18/00140/MAO TO BUILD 250 DWELLINGS
To access plans and comments on application 18/00140/MAO
- Go to www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans
- Click on the link ‘To view and comment on Planning Applications’
- Type in the application reference number.
- Click Search; Documents; View associated documents
How do I object?
By e-mail to: email@example.com; or
by post to: Planning, 4th Floor, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford MK42 9AP. In all cases quoting the application reference at the beginning and including your name and address.
What do I say?
You should say “I object to application 18/00140/MAO”, adding any personal reasons for your objection.
When do I submit my objection?
As soon as possible. The current closing date notified is 16th February. This may be extended, but to be safe please send in your objection now.
PROPOSED POLICY 19 OF THE DRAFT BEDFORD BOROUGH LOCAL PLAN 2035
You can download the whole plan from www.bedford.gov.uk/localplan2035 . In simple terms Policy 19 will remove the protection given to the site in the current Local Plan, which preserves a strong visual separation between Biddenham and Bromham. Once this is rescinded, it will be much easier for an applicant to develop the entire area and mass house building will be inevitable.
How do I object?
By completing the online response form; or by
e-mailing a WORD version of the response form to firstname.lastname@example.org; or by completing a paper version of the response form and posting it to: Local Plan 2035, Planning Policy Team, Bedford Borough Council, Borough Hall, Bedford, MK42 9AP. Responses made by conventional letter will also be accepted.
What do I say?
The on-line form is self-explanatory. For question 5 tick ‘Don’t Know’, for question 6 answer ’No’ and tick the first three boxes, and for question 6a enter ‘Policy 19’ from the dropdown in the second box. In the text box for question 6 enter your reasons for objecting. A suggested response to question 7 could be ‘Remove Policy 19 from the Plan’.
When do I submit my objection?
As soon as possible. The deadline is 5th March 2018
BOTH THE ABOVE REPRESENT MAJOR THREATS TO THE BEAUTY, AND CHARACTER OF BIDDENHAM. PLEASE HELP US TO PROTECT THE VILLAGE BY SUBMITTING YOUR OBJECTIONS WITHOUT DELAY.
The Biddenham Society (founded 1965)
the following objection has been issued:
Ms Rachel Duncan
Bedford Borough Council
5 January 2018
Dear Ms Duncan
Application 17/03101/FUL Biddenham House, 2 Gold Lane, Biddenham MK40 4AJ
The society wishes to object to the above application for the following reasons:
- Gold Lane is narrow at the point of access to the site and a further 16 vehicles (@ 2/dwelling) would exacerbate the hazards associated with this section of road.
- The house and property lie within the Biddenham Conservation Area and at the heart of this historic village. The construction of new dwellings on the site would be totally out of keeping with this part of Biddenham and the character of the surrounding buildings.
- The southern boundary of the property is directly adjacent to the village green and 50m from it. The 2016 Conservation Area Appraisal notes the value of the focal point of the village green, the key views to and from it, the prolific greenery and open spaces, deep grass verges and the extensive private open gardens, all contributing to the special interest of Biddenham. This attractive setting is complemented by the views of Biddenham House across the site.
- There are eight historic properties or features visible within 100m of the site boundaries:
i). 63 Main Road, The Forge (C17th former blacksmith’s cottage)
ii). 48-50 Main Road, Horseshoe Cottage (C17th Listed Grade 2)
iii). 42 Main Road, Lavender Lodge (C18th former farmhouse and the oldest house in the village)
iv). 67 Main Road, The Old Vicarage (C18th Listed Grade 2 with the prominent Cedar of Lebanon tree planted in 1875 by a former vicar)
v). 67a Main Road, Groom’s Cottage (C17th former carriage house, stables and tack room)
vi). 1-3 Gold Lane, Dawn Cottage (C17th Listed Grade 2, former dairy, cobbler and costumier)
vii). 8-10 Duck End (C16th limestone rubble cottage built over the remains of a Roman Road)
viii). The entrance to The Coffin Path from Gold Lane (C16th field track for coffins to be carried to St James Church)
The proposed new buildings on this plot would destroy the historic 360 degree perspective enjoyed from the village green.
- The main part of Biddenham House was built circa 1766 and is the only surviving example of an C18th double pile, polite, small country house in the village. It is alleged the property was used as a hunting lodge by a Duke of Marlborough. The 2016 Conservation Area Appraisal describes the house as having positive merit, with the setting of the house on the north side of the village green aiding the distinctiveness of this area. Its demolition would represent an unacceptable loss of a part of Biddenham’s heritage.
The application is in conflict with the 2002 Local Plan saved policies BE11, BE13, BE15, NE18, and H24 i), ii), iv), and Policy CP21 iv) of the 2008 Core Strategies and Rural Issues Plan, and we urge its rejection.
Dr Tony Wood Chairman
The Biddenham Society Chairman Dr Tony Wood
34 Church End, Biddenham, Bedford MK40 4AR
telephone 01234 349395 e-mail: email@example.com
APPLICATION TO DEMOLISH BIDDENHAM HOUSE AND BUILD 8 NEW DWELLINGS ON THE SITE
Application 17/03101/FUL seeks approval to demolish Biddenham House, 2 Gold Lane. and build 8 new dwellings on the site. The plot is in a very sensitive part of the village conservation area and in proximity to several historic properties and features. The application will be vigorously opposed by the society which believes that any development on this site is totally unacceptable.
To view the application:
- Go to www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans
- Click on the link ‘To view and comment on Planning Applications’
- Type in the application reference number.
- Click Search
View associated documents
This yields the contents list and all the plans submitted including any amended plans which are tagged with a subscript letter.
The society’s response will be published on this blog in early January. Residents are strongly recommended to submit their own objections by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by the closing date of 11 January 2018.
DEVELOPER PLANS 300 HOUSES TO GRAB MOST OF THE FARMLAND WEST OF GOLD LANE
On 31st October 2017 a meeting was held between interested parties and the proposed developers of a modest area of farmland west of Gold Lane bounded by Gold Lane to the east, Bromham Road to the north and Duck End Lane to the south, on which the local authority had suggested 160 dwellings would be appropriate. Those attending included local councillors, the Parish Council and Friends of Biddenham Pond as well as the Biddenham Society. The developers Curtin and Co. were accompanied by a representative from Lioncourt Strategic Land.
The Biddenham representatives were astonished instead to be confronted with a plan for 300 houses covering an area nearly four times that provisionally suggested by the local authority as appropriate. Houses would completely surround Duck End Lane as far south as the village pond, and extend west to the footpath between the church and the Bromham bypass. Whilst the developers insisted the plans presented were only ‘Work in progress’ it was very clear that any adverse views expressed would make no difference to the overall size of the scheme proposed.
The developer’s tactics were seen by all present as a flagrant attempt to grab most of our remaining open space for the pecuniary gain of themselves and the landowners, and without any regard for the effects on the village and its residents. Our unanimous opposition was made clear, and in a subsequent private discussion the next course of action to be taken to prevent the proposed development was decided.
More than 70 residents, including our two borough councillors, attended the 53rd Annual Lunch and AGM of the Biddenham Society in the Village Hall on Sunday 5th November. Following the chairman’s welcome, the society’s secretary Mark Phillips presented and summarised the minutes of the 2016 AGM. In ‘Matters Arising’, the chairman reported on the current sale of 11 Church End, and the request of the planning authority to help monitor that the conditions attached to the use of the annexe are followed in the future by the new owners.
The Treasurer Garry Fitzhugh reported a satisfactory set of accounts with the customary modest surplus. A questioner was referred to a note on the balance sheet indicating that the majority of the residual funds held were contributed by local organisations specifically for the future maintenance of the Biddenham Heritage Trail. The accounts were approved by the meeting.
In his report the chairman Tony Wood reported there had been 32 village planning applications during the previous 12 months, most of which were uncontentious. He briefly reviewed the four to which the society had objected.
The chairman then moved to the development of the borough’s Local Plan 2021-2035. He reminded the meeting that 10 village sites had been submitted last year for reclassification for building purposes, all of which had been opposed by the society. Most of these had recently been eliminated by the local authority, the main exception being an area bounded by Gold Lane to the east, Bromham Road to the north, and Duck End Lane to the south on which it was suggested 160 dwellings might be constructed. Whilst the society’s position remained opposed to any further development in Biddenham, the pressure on the local authority to meet its housing targets within the urban area was recognised, and the proposal appeared to be the least worst option.
A meeting was held earlier in the week between local interested parties and the proposed developer to discuss this parcel of land, but to the astonishment of the residents and local councillors the developer instead presented a plan for 300 houses covering an area nearly four times that suggested by the local authority as being appropriate. This was seen by those present as a blatant attempt to drive through a mass housing scheme for the pecuniary gain of the developer and the landowners which was contrary to the interests of the village, and was vigorously opposed.
The chairman drew attention to copies of the plan posted in the hall (reproduced on the Biddenham Blog), and invited Peter Chase to speak on behalf of the Parish Council. He confirmed the council’s complete opposition to the proposals, and outlined very clearly why these were at variance to decisions previously taken by the planners to preserve the physical separation of Biddenham and Bromham. There were also many other reasons why such a large development was undesirable including access, traffic considerations, school provision, and the ecological effects on the village pond. With the support of the group that had met the developer he had since written a lengthy letter to the Mayor and borough Chief Executive which listed in detail the numerous local objections to the proposal.
As part of the subsequent debate and questions, Cllr Roger Rigby clarified the likely rationale of the borough in putting forward its original proposal for 160 properties on this site, and confirmed the wisdom of submitting a strong letter from the Parish Council objecting to the developer’s enhanced plans. It was stated that the developer had announced the intention to hold a public consultation in the Church Barn on 21st November.
The final main agenda item was a short presentation from Chris Hayden-Jones on our local footpaths and Cowslip Meadow to which many improvements had already been made with more planned. The chairman thanked Chris for his hard work and leadership on this excellent community project.
In considering membership of the committee for 2017-2018, Bob Hutchinson had indicated he would be stepping down after ten years (nine as treasurer) on the committee, and the meeting warmly showed its appreciation. The remainder of the existing committee (Will Jenkin, Mark Phillips, Garry Fitzhugh, Monica Knight, Susie Mason-Patel, Jeremy Reynolds, Chris Hayden-Jones and Tony Wood), were re-elected unanimously.
The chairman closed the meeting with thanks to all the helpers preparing and serving the lunch, especially to the chief organisers Will Jenkin and Jeremy Reynolds. The next AGM will be on Sunday 4th November 2018.
Founded in 1965 by a group of concerned residents, The Biddenham Society remains committed to the continued preservation of the beauty, history, character and heritage of the village.
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.
Unfortunately The Borough have not had the grass cut yet and tell me they have a three year contract for cutting so we have to wait to try to change the regime. I hope it will get baled but i have my doubts
In the meantime we can continue to cut paths now it is dry at least for a bit
The rubble has been removed so the entrance looks a lot better
I hope to meet on that this week but may have to go with the usual arrangement again this year
There is a meeting in the meadow for all interested at 10am on Friday May 12th.
The borough are happy to meet up to discuss the start of a Cowslip meadow project and to consider our plans
click for details: Cowslip Meadow Management Plan 2017 v1
the Cowslip Meadow is cut …
The grass in the cowslip meadow should be cut next week by Ray the farmer
Hello all – Sorry to have been quiet again
The Parish Council are right behind our ideas for managing the cowslip meadow, I am pleased to say after the meeting tonight
A meeting was held with Bedford Borough staff in the field when a group of us met to plan the way ahead
The Borough who own the field are quite prepared for a community group to manage the field with wildlife objectives in mind but need clear plans from us
To that end a group of us have successfully removed much of the ragwort growth. If there is ragwort in a field there is no chance ever of moving the grass as a hay crop and thus helping to maintain biodiversity
The next stage is to meet with the borough volunteer officer to discuss how we could apply to set up a friends group.
To do that you will need to register your support so there should shortly be a page on the Biddenham village web site for you to do that with an email address
Look out for the date and time of a meeting in September when you can come along to ask questions or register your interest. Details will be posted on the Biddenham Blog the web site and in the notice boards
There are various models for Friends conservation groups which we can discuss at the meeting
The field is quite safe from housing development but without management input would probably revert to scrub then dense woodland in a few years thus reducing rather than enhancing biodiversity
10th August 2016
Thanks to those who came to the field meeting.
We decided to try to remove ragwort from the Cowslip meadow and will assemble to make a start on this Saturday the 13th at 2pm see how far we get. We have the backing of the Borough in this if we clear some parts at least in the future we can have a look at a cutting regime for parts of the site.
We will set up another meeting with the Borough volunteers coordinator to discuss further where we go next. Meeting probably in early Sept
We hope the grass will get cut again and baled but it is unlikely to be removed. The Borough will clear the entrance and put a barrier back
28th July 2016
Next Friday (5th August) I have a meeting with the Borough in the meadow at 10am please come if you can.
Thanks to those who came to help remove ragwort from the churchyard extension. I am trying to arrange a conservation cut. To cut the cowslip meadow will entail removal of the barriers at the entrance as well as another ragwort session.
Please pass this on, Chris
19th July 2016
I have been trying to establish whose responsibility the field is at the Borough. Until then we cannot go ragwort pulling or make any other plans. I have been on the phone again to Simon Fisher who seems to be in charge. The lack of communication is blamed on the river festival. I also want to get arrangements on the go to cut the grass in the meadow at some point. if we can remove the ragwort we might be more likely to get the grass/hay moved off