Category Archives: Biddenham 2035

Land west of Gold Lane, Biddenham

The Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond have submitted to Bedford Borough Council today:

If you haven’t already objected to policy 19, please do so now using this quick and easy to use link:

And if you haven’t already objected to the planning application to build 250 houses west of Gold Lane (18/00140/MAO), please do so now using this link:

Please continue to share these links widely.

Local Plan 2035

The Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond have submitted to the Borough Council today their response to the Local Plan 2035, seeking the removal of policy 19 from the Plan.


Policy 19 the Borough Council wants to include in the Local Plan 2035 would allow 160 houses to be built on land west of Gold Lane, Biddenham. Anticipating that new policy one developer has already applied to build 250 houses on that very same land west of Gold Lane (application number 18/00140/MAO), and many of you have already objected to that planning application. It is just as important, if not more so, to object as well to policy 19 which would make it easier for developers to build on that land, and so far not so many of you have objected to policy 19. Here is the link for objecting to policy 19 if you haven’t already done so, and you will see there too reasons for objecting:

Policy 23 the Borough Council also wants to include in the Local Plan would allow the development of land to the rear of Bromham Road, Biddenham. Here is the link, with reasons, for objecting to that, if you haven’t already done so:

If you haven’t already objected, please do so now. If you have objected, please encourage all the other adults in your household to object using the quick and easy links above: to ensure every objection counts as a separate objection, please each adult member in a family use your own separate social media or email account to make your objections.

And please continue to forward the links to family, friends and anyone you know in Biddenham, the local area and further afield, and encourage them to object too: share the links as widely as you can.



The Biddenham Society

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on the north side of Bromham Road close to the bridge) of the draft 2035 Local Plan, and has requested the policies are withdrawn.

Policy 19
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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Policy 23
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

  1. Preserving the physical presence, visual appearance, character, and integrity of the gap between the site and the Bromham boundary; and
  2. 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

    1. Its part presence in flood zones 2 and 3a which will place an unnecessary burden and worry on future occupants of dwellings constructed here;
    2. The presence of a narrow and dangerous access onto Bromham Road;
    3. 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
    4. 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

SOS: Save Open Spaces

We’re conscious you’ve already received a lot of information in the last few weeks about the threats facing Biddenham. Please though do bear with us and carry on reading here about the actions you can take to combat these threats before it’s too late: the clock is ticking! And please do share this as widely as you can, with its quick and easy to use links below, to enable as many people as possible to take action too.

Bedford Borough Council wants to destroy precious remaining open spaces around Biddenham. It’s doing this by introducing policies into its new Local Plan 2035 that will allow development on those open spaces, which will have developers rubbing their hands with glee. We cannot overemphasise the importance and significance of these policies being removed from the Local Plan so that the few open spaces still left will remain protected.

We urge you to object to the introduction of these new policies before it’s too late and Biddenham and surrounding communities become progressively merged in an urban sprawl. There are links below to do that quickly and easily. We cannot overemphasis as well the need for a massive number of objections to be made to these policies – many, many hundreds, and we’re not there yet. We must redouble our efforts and all do all we possibly can to work towards that end in the days that remain.

To ensure every objection counts as a separate objection, please each adult member in a family use your own separate social media or email account to make your objections.

We know that new houses need to be built for the growing population and for our children as they seek their own first homes. Our objection to these policies is not Nimbyism. There are plenty of more sustainable and brown field sites in the Borough which should be prioritised: there is no need to build on these few remaining open spaces.

And it’s a fact that the parish of Biddenham has already made in recent times and is still making an enormous contribution to the provision of new houses, probably more than its fair share: think of the Biddenham Turn estate, Deep Spinney, Great Denham now hived off but still building, and the western end of King’s Field, still building. Great swathes of open space lost, and gone forever: little precious open space left. If any open space is to remain not concreted over, building cannot continue unchecked. We must protect and conserve what remains of our natural environment and the wide ranging benefits derived from it for the health and wellbeing of this and future generations.

Anticipating these new Borough Council policies one developer, as we know, has already applied to build 250 houses on land west of Gold Lane (application number 18/00140/MAO). Many of you have lodged your objections to that application, and thank you for that. If you haven’t objected to it yet, there is a link, with reasons, at the end which you can use quickly and easily to object.

Policy 19 that the Council wants to include in the Local Plan 2035 would allow 160 houses to be built on that very same land west of Gold Lane. Here is the link for objecting to that policy, if you haven’t already done so, and you will see there too reasons for objecting:

Policy 23 if included in the Local Plan would allow the development of land to the rear of Bromham Road. Here is the link, with reasons, for objecting to that, if you haven’t already done so:

There is still time both to object to the two policies the Borough Council wants to include in the Local Plan which would make it easier for developers to build on currently protected open spaces, and also to object to the planning application for 250 houses west of Gold Lane:

  • if you haven’t already objected, please do so now;
  • if you have objected, please encourage all the other adults in your household to object using the quick and easy links above: to ensure every objection counts as a separate objection, please each adult member in a family use your own separate social media or email account to make your objections; and
  • please forward the links to family, friends and anyone you know in Biddenham, the local area and further afield: share them as widely as you can.

Please pass this on to them via text, Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and any other social media you use. And, of course, please pass on by email if you or they aren’t connected to social media.

If you haven’t already objected to the planning application to build 250 houses west of Gold Lane (18/00140/MAO), please do so now using this link:

Thank you very much for caring about the environment, about Biddenham, and about its character and heritage.





Lioncourt has now submitted an outline planning application (18/00140/MAO) for 250 dwellings on land to the west of Gold Lane.

The urban spaces between Biddenham, Bromham and Great Denham are all currently protected by what is known as policy AD42. This is part of the Borough Council’s Allocations and Designations Local Plan of July 2013. Since 2002, national Planning Inspectors have recognised the importance of this visual separation between communities around Biddenham. This includes the land west of Gold Lane.

The Lioncourt application conflicts with and is contrary to AD42; it is neither appropriate nor necessary as the Borough Council’s current Local Plan to 2021 has sufficient provision to meet the housing requirements of the Plan; it would impose an excessive burden on local infrastructure; and would create a hazardous access point onto the narrow Gold Lane, and add enormously to existing traffic problems on Gold Lane, through Biddenham, and at the Bromham Road/Deep Spinney roundabout. And the Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond remains concerned about the adverse impact on the village pond and its wildlife were there to be development of the land west of Gold Lane, not least its impact on the water table and the availability and ability of water to reach the pond from this adjacent land.

It has been made crystal clear to Lioncourt that the Parish Council, the Biddenham Society, and the Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond are united in being firmly opposed to any development on this site.

If the Lioncourt application is to be refused (the closing date for objections is 16 February 2018) objections are needed in great numbers, not tens, not hundreds, but even more, to demonstrate clearly to the Borough Council and the developer the strength, depth and extent of the objection to this proposed development.

Please object individually. We emphasise individually because joint applications, say from a Mr and Mrs, only count as one objection. You can double that number by both submitting objections.

This is a public process so any member of the public can respond. You may have family and friends who grew up in Biddenham, once lived in the village, visit the village: please ask them to object as well, and your neighbours and other members of the public too with whom you are acquainted. Very large numbers of objections are vital. If you have friends in Bromham, ask them to object too – it is equally important for them to retain the open space between our two communities to avoid the danger of coalescence and perhaps then Bromham’s eventual inclusion, like Biddenham, in the Bedford urban area.

You can email your objection to (you will need to include your name and address, and of course the application number 18/00140/MAO), you can object via the Council website, or deliver your objection by hand or post to the Planning Department at Borough Hall. Remember the closing date is 16 February – don’t delay, act now.

It’s up to all of us again and in even greater and greater numbers to help protect the character, setting and heritage of our village not just for today but for tomorrow and future generations. Thank you.

Looking to that future, we will be contacting you again shortly about the separate but related issue of the Borough Council’s Local Plan 2035 and the need to object to policies in that which would dilute the protection of the open spaces around the village, including the land to the west of Gold Lane. A second leaflet from the Parish Council will be delivered shortly to every house in Biddenham. These are crucial times now for the future of Biddenham.


Important information about housing development at Gold Lane

All homes in Biddenham will be receiving this week a leaflet from the Chairman of the Parish Council giving important information about housing development at Gold Lane.

There is an imminent planning application for hundreds of houses west of Gold Lane. The Parish Council hopes villagers will help it oppose this application, once it’s made, the consequences for the village were houses to be built there being set out in the leaflet.

The leaflet goes on to explain how you can help.  The land in question is currently protected as green belt, but the Borough Council are publishing a housing and development plan which seeks to dilute that protection. The plan (the Bedford Local Plan 2035) is for the whole of the Borough  but includes the land west of Gold Lane in what is called Policy 19 (the content of which and the associated site plan are set out in the leaflet).

The public will be asked to give feedback in a consultation period starting later this month and ending on 5 March. It’ll be vital that if you don’t wish to see housing west of Gold Lane you write to the Borough objecting to this policy.

The Parish Council is asking villagers please to object to Policy 19. As the leaflet explains, if the Policy is not vigorously opposed it will make the developers’ planning application easier. If it gets rejected it may well prevent the development.

The Parish Council will be sending shortly a second leaflet to every home explaining in detail what to do once the period for public consultation on the Borough Council’s plan opens later in January.


The Biddenham Society – 2017 AGM and Lunch

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.

The Biddenham Society – response to 2035 Local Plan Consultation

The Biddenham Society

        (founded 1965)

Local Plan 2035 Consultation Planning Policy Team
Borough Hall
Bedford MK42 9AP
30 May 2017


The Biddenham Society compliments the authors of the Local Plan 2035 on addressing in a thorough and even-handed way the wide range of complex issues involved in determining the possible locations of the additional 8,103 houses it is suggested are required in the borough. We are pleased that the proposals do not bring forward several of the Biddenham sites submitted by developers, and we look forward to continuing our constructive involvement in ensuring these remain free of development in the future.

The society is, however, disappointed that sites 691 & 29 (Gold Lane) and 25 (Land to the rear of 94-122 Bromham Road) have been suggested as suitable for development, and we give below a number of reasons why we hope the borough will reconsider these two recommendations and remove them from the proposals.

Open Spaces
In the late 1980s the open spaces within the current Biddenham settlement area represented approximately 30% of the village land area.  In 2017, less than 30 years later, the comparable figure is just over 4%. This rapid erosion has been the result of creating the Deep Spinney Estate to the south of Bromham Road, coupled with granting change of use to housing for many of the village’s paddocks.  Sites 691 & 29 together with the remaining fields west of Gold Lane provide essential counterbalancing open space along the western boundary which helps to offset some of this loss.

Biddenham’s heritage
From 1086 to the twentieth century Biddenham was largely a farming and rural community, with six farms still existing in the early 1900s. By the end of the 20th Century, all the farmhouses and outbuildings had either been demolished or converted to modern residential accommodation, mostly in sympathy with their original purpose, so they continue to contribute positively to the overall character of the village.  The farmland between Gold Lane and the western by-pass is now the only working link to Biddenham’s heritage, and the loss of any portion of this to housing would be detrimental to the character and history of this beautiful village.

Other factors
The proposed development of sites 691 & 29 will remove part of the natural break between Biddenham and the Bromham by-pass.  Site 25 lies in the flood plain of the river and if developed will reduce the gap between the Biddenham and Bromham settlements.  Safe vehicular access to and from both sites could well prove problematic, especially for site 25 where, on the basis of two cars per household, over 50 vehicles could regularly use the narrow semi-blind access to Bromham Road, the splay of which cannot easily be increased owing to the private ownership of the adjacent land.

The society is concerned about the consequences for local schools of increasing the population of Biddenham by a further 187 dwellings, especially for the proposed St James’ CE Primary School. There could also be repercussions for the village’s historic 300-year-old pond from properties constructed on the Gold Lane site. The pond relies on run-off from the surrounding fields to maintain the water levels necessary to support wildlife, and if these proposals are implemented its survival could be threatened.

During the last 30 years the area inside the Biddenham Loop has contributed more than its fair share towards successive borough building targets, resulting in the loss of vast tracts of agricultural land and open amenity spaces. The Deep Spinney Estate and the on-going Great Denham development will together have added in excess of 2000 dwellings when the latter is completed, with the construction of a further 1300 or so properties recently started north of Bromham Road.

This is a housing contribution of substantial significance which has had a considerable effect on the character and nature of what was originally a rural village.  In this context, it would seem a small but important gesture of recognition for the borough to relocate the 187 dwellings proposed for Biddenham in this consultation, and thereby help preserve its beauty and character for future generations to enjoy.

In the spirit of giving constructive feedback, the society has suggested (see Appendix) some amendments to the published document.  These include alternative proposed sites for the 187 dwellings currently allocated to Biddenham.  We would also urge the borough to re-examine the basis of its calculation that a total of 19,000 new homes will be required in the borough by 2035, an assumption which leads to the suggested 8,103 shortfall quoted in this consultation.  To the society this appears a considerable over-estimate of need when taking into account the many factors involved. Reducing this total to a more realistic figure would relieve some of the pressure on areas like Biddenham which have already made a major contribution towards housing growth.

Green space
The Society is concerned that only a single site from the several submitted for Biddenham has been accepted for designation as a Green Space.  We would respectfully question whether the deciding criteria have been correctly applied in all cases, and would urge the council to offer the facility for any applicant village to submit further evidence in support of a particular site if it is felt an injustice has occurred. This issue is particularly important for Biddenham in view of the very few open spaces remaining in the village. We can confirm that to varying degrees all spaces submitted support:

  1. the continuation of Biddenham as a semi-rural village as demonstrated by trees, open grass areas, wildlife and its local community spirit;
  2. the provision of space for the community’s residents and families for play, leisure and relaxation;
  3. a natural break in the ever-increasing presence of housing; and
  4. protection against continued over-development.

The Biddenham Society is generally supportive of the content of the consultative document, and of the methodologies adopted in reaching its recommendations.

However, we believe the time is now right for the borough to recognise the significant contribution made by the parish of Biddenham over the last 30 years towards the borough’s successive housing targets, and the detrimental effects this has had on the open and amenity spaces of what was formerly a rural village.

These effects have been compounded by the on-going construction of thousands of new dwellings to the south and north of the village.  Despite this, Biddenham has managed to retain many valued aspects of its heritage – celebrated in 2015 by the creation of a heritage trail funded by the national lottery –  which are enjoyed and appreciated by residents and visitors alike.  The village is truly a jewel in the crown of the Borough of Bedford, and we wish it to remain so.

The number of new dwellings proposed for Biddenham in the consultative document will make only a small contribution towards the borough’s residual new-build targets but –  in the case of areas 691 & 29 in particular – will result in large negative consequences for the village following the reclassification of specific fields from agricultural to residential use.

We therefore ask for the stated Biddenham sites to be declassified from the plan as potential development areas.

Dr Tony Wood

34 Church End
MK40 4AR


Site amendments

Having examined the sustainability and other listed factors for the various sites listed in the document, the Society suggests the borough may wish to consider the following site amendments.

  1. To extend the number of houses in the new developments at Lee Farm Sharnbrook (site 622), Thurleigh Airfield (site 630), Land at Twinwoods (site 608 listed under Milton Ernest) and Wyboston Garden Village (site 659) to make up for the 187 houses removed from the Biddenham sites.
  2. To include the areas of either 133 or 134. The exclusion of these areas was to enable sport facilities that “are supposed to be provided” with concerns about access. The Biddenham Society recommends that the allocation of one of these sites, adjacent to an area already developed in Great Denham, would leave the other to be developed for sport. Access is available from the roundabout on the A428 towards the bottom of Figure 1 below.






Figure 1 – Access to sites 133 and 134



3.  To extend the proposed developments at other sites which are already included for large scale development at Bromham, Salph End, Sharnbrook, Clapham (Opt.2) and Roxton.

Bedford Local Plan 2035

Bedford Borough Council is preparing a local plan that will set out how much growth there should be in the borough in coming years (housing, jobs and associated infrastructure) and where it should take place. Current planning policy documents look up to 2021 and the new local plan will extend that period up to 2035. It will also include policies that will be used to make decisions on planning applications.

The Council has asked for comments on the consultation paper it has issued about the new plan, together with a number of supporting evidence documents. The consultation period ends on 9 June 2017.

In the Borough Council’s consultation paper an area of land off Gold Lane, Biddenham, and within sites numbered 29 and 691 in the documentation is shown as a potential development area at this stage: that area of land is not immediately adjacent to the village pond. But in a supporting document, the current draft Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA), the whole of the land in sites 29 and 691 is shown as being suitable, available and achievable for development.

Our village pond is not served by streams or springs and relies on precipitation and run off from adjacent fields for its water, and importantly the entire area surrounding the pond is currently wildlife friendly. Developing all the land in sites 29 and 691, particularly the field to the north of and by the side of the village pond, between the pond and Duck End Lane, would have a significant and substantial practical and aesthetic impact on the pond.

It would threaten the pond’s very survival and the survival of the wide range of wildlife it supports, including rare and protected species, by adversely impacting both run off water to the pond and also the pond’s setting in the presently attractive open and wildlife friendly landscape around it, thereby reducing the scope for and ability of wildlife to migrate to and from the pond and thus the opportunity for sustainable healthy breeding through genetic diversity with other populations.

The Friends has submitted comments, in a letter to the Borough Council, concluding that given the need to protect and conserve our natural environment, not least species protected by the law, wildlife corridors, and sites of local importance, and to safeguard the future of the village pond, its wildlife and the open wildlife friendly landscape in which the pond sits, it is seeking:

  • at the very minimum, the removal from the threat of development of the field by the side of and to the north of the pond and its retention as open space, that is to its reassessment and recategorisation as land not suitable, available and achievable for development (as was categorised land to the west of that field at Stage 2 of the availability assessment); and
  • more substantially, the removal from the threat of development of the whole of the land in sites 29 and 691, south of the A4280, and its retention as open space, and similarly therefore its reassessment and recategorisation as land not suitable, available and achievable for development.

Please do support your village pond by writing to the Borough Council’s Planning Department with your comments. You can send your comments by email to or by post to:

Local Plan 2035 consultation
Planning Policy Team
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall
MK42 9AP

Thank you.

The Biddenham Society’s 50th AGM

A full house of 100 residents attended the 50th AGM and lunch of The Biddenham Society held on Sunday 7 December 2014 in the Village Hall.  In his welcoming remarks the chairman drew attention to the presence of two residents, David Palmer and Pat McKeown, who had also been present at the inaugural meeting of the society in 1965.

The minutes of the 2013 AGM (presented by Secretary Mark Phillips) and the Balance Sheet for 2013-2014 (presented by Treasurer Bob Hutchinson) were both accepted by the meeting, the particularly healthy state of the finances being primarily due to as yet unspent lottery funds committed to the heritage trail.

Chairman’s Report
In his report, the chairman reported that 38 planning applications for the Biddenham area had been received during the last year, most of them relating to property extensions.  However four recent submissions of particular significance to the village were worthy of specific note.

i). The most recent application by the owner of 29 Day’s Lane to construct two dwellings on the site of the orchard adjoining the pavilion field had again been refused following widespread local opposition.

ii). The application for retrospective planning permission by the occupant of 38 Church End for a two-storey residential barn already constructed in the back garden was refused following objections by the society, the parish council and neighbours.

iii). The application to extend and re-model the façade of ‘The Firs’, 21 Church End was withdrawn following objections from the society and others regarding an inappropriate pastiche design and other factors.

iv). The application to construct a large residence to the rear of ‘Lavender Lodge’, 42 Main Road is pending, but has been opposed by the society as an overdevelopment of the site and with an excessive footprint.

The chairman then described the latest developments regarding the paddock between Church End and the golf course and a new form of protection for green spaces which can be shown to be special to the local community.  From the floor, Pat McKeown spoke of the initiative he has launched to acquire this area presentation in trust to the village, and Cllr Jon Gambold followed with the possibility of still having the paddock accepted  as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ despite the recent rejection by the borough of an application from the parish council for its designation.

The chairman then updated the meeting on the by pass extension north of Bromham Road: completion by October 2016 (earlier if the weather is kind); a contractual requirement to complete the first two roundabouts in nine months giving access for housing construction; 1300 dwellings currently planned, but initial development will only be at the western end of the site; cost £8 million.

Heritage Trail

This will be opened at 11.00 am on Saturday 18 April 2015 at King’s Corner, Main Road, by Alistair Burt MP. Biddenham Upper School will be providing musical accompaniment, and family trail questionnaires (with prizes) will be available.  More details later.  The Junior Heritage Trail, devised by pupils of St James’ Lower School, will be opened at a later date in the school’s summer term.

Three excellent presentations on aspects of the heritage trail were then made to the meeting.  Monica Knight discussed the history and development of the Arts and Crafts movement in Biddenham, specifically in relation to the houses of Mallows and Baillie-Scott; Peter Applewhite talked about the origins and turbulent past of the village pond and its lost dovecote, and encouraged those present to help preserve this important asset by becoming ‘friends’ of the pond; and Kathy Fricker described the work and activities of the recently-formed History Society, and its close links with the development of the heritage trail.

Peter Applewhite also briefly referred to the excellent new initiative of the ‘Biddenham Blog’. The society’s section can be found on

Election of committee

Left to right Jeremy Reynolds, Susie Mason Patel, David Slark, Monica Knight, Will Jenkin, Averil Watson, Mark Phillips, Chris Gleave, Bob Hutchinson & Tony Wood

Thanks were expressed to Averil Watson who is stepping down from the committee this year.  The remainder of the committee Dr Tony Wood (Chairman), Mark Phillips (Secretary), Bob Hutchinson (Treasurer), Chris Gleave, Will Jenkin, Monica Knight, Susie Mason Patel, Dr Jeremy Reynolds, and David Slark were re-elected for 2014-2015.

In closing the meeting the chairman thanked the committee, helpers and friends for their great efforts in organising the luncheon event, and especially Chris Gleave for once again masterminding the preparation of the meal.

>> click for further details