Category Archives: Biddenham Society

Church End paddock threatened again

The Biddenham Society (founded 1965)

Church End paddock threatened again

Blakeney Estates Ltd (Mr O Doyle) has served notice in the local press that the proprietor intends to apply for planning permission to construct 15 dwellings on the 2.5-acre paddock between nos. 21 to 41 Church End and the golf course, demolishing the existing property of 21 Church End to provide access.  This will be the developer’s fourth attempt in the last ten years to build on the site, all previous applications having been refused and the subsequent appeals dismissed.

The paddock is one of the few remaining green spaces in the old village, and is separated from the golf course and its housing by a popular public footpath running from Manor Road to The Branston Way.

This developer has a long history of back land development all over Biddenham.  Many residents will be unaware of the extent of this, as the properties are often not easily visible from the public highway.  Unfortunately, the outcome has been to obliterate many of Biddenham’s remaining green spaces, as well as having knock-on effects on the routes of underground water courses.  

When the formal application is submitted, the society will once again be objecting to the development, and we urge residents to do likewise.
Tony WoodChairman

Please Note:

The formal planning application has now been received.  The planning reference is 19/01350/MAF and the closing date for comments is 23 July 2019. The full plans may be viewed by following the instructions below.
1. Click on the link TO VIEW AND COMMENT ON PLANNING APPLICATIONS
2. Type in 19/01350/MAF and click on the Search button.
3. For the plans click on Documents followed by View Associated documents

former Biddenham sewage pumping station – Demolished!

Five bedroom contemporary house proposed for site of former Biddenham sewage pumping station:

Surprised that Biddenham has a defunct sewage pumping station? Although in a popular spot, few will have noticed it as nature has virtually reclaimed the territory.

First question – where is it? Just off Bromham Road, by the bridge, close to the kissing gate entrance to the river valley park, and behind the heritage trail notice board and the small ‘fishermen’s car park’. Despite being within the flood plain, many would see this as a highly desirable spot for a house, but to approve the application would indeed be a travesty.

There are no existing properties on the south side of this lengthy section of Bromham Road. and once off the road the walker is surrounded on all sides by delightful open countryside and the panorama of the river valley. The area is of significant heritage and archaeological interest, as emphasised by its inclusion on the Biddenham Heritage Trail which passes along the western boundary of the site, and the proximity of the historic Bromham Bridge. A new property in such an outstanding area of amenity would be a visual aberration, and anathema to the rural setting. Access from the site is extremely dangerous, producing a major blind spot for all traffic travelling east from the bridge. The society is therefore recommending rejection.

To view plans: go to www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans and click the link ‘To view and comment on planning applications’. Enter the planning application number 18/03253/FUL   and click Search – Documents – View associated documents.

To submit comments: register on the above site and submit on the internet, or send by e-mail as a pdf attachment to planning@bedford.gov.uk quoting the reference and your full name and address.

Closing date for responses: 11 February 2019.

Tony Wood
Chairman

Gold Lane developer back with 160 dwellings proposal

Gold Lane developer back with 160 dwellings proposal

5072(4)-PL02_Indicative MasterplanHaving failed in his plans to construct 250 dwellings on farmland west of Gold Lane, the developer has now returned with new proposals for 160 properties, albeit on a reduced site in the north-east corner.  This new proposal appears to be compliant with the emerging Bedford Borough Council’s draft Local Plan, so if this is also to be defeated it will require another concerted effort  by village residents submitting a substantial number of individual objections to complement those from ourselves, the parish council and other formal consultees of the authority. The parish council will shortly be circulating a leaflet urging all residents to submit their own objections to this new proposal.  This can, however, be done immediately by e-mail to planning@bedford.gov.uk quoting the planning reference 18/03100/MAO.  Be sure to include your postal address.  There is no need to go into your reasons for objecting; a short sentence or two will suffice.  The planning authority is already well aware of the village’s view on developing this tract of land, and the important aspect now is to demonstrate this in volume terms.  The closing date for objections is 30th January 2019. To view the complete application Go to www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans/p

1. Click on the link TO VIEW AND COMMENT ON PLANNING APPLICATIONS

2. Type in 18/03100/MAO and click on the Search button.

3. For the plans click on Documents followed by View Associated documents

4. A contents list and all the relevant plans will be shown. The plans have a measuring tool attached, please refer to the How to Guides www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans for guidance

Tony Wood
Chairman

DEVELOPER PLANS 300 HOUSES TO GRAB MOST OF THE FARMLAND WEST OF GOLD LANE

Click to enlarge

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.


	

LAVENDER LODGE SITE DEVELOPMENT THREATENS AMBIENCE OF THE VILLAGE CENTRE

LAVENDER LODGE SITE DEVELOPMENT THREATENS AMBIENCE OF THE VILLAGE CENTRE

War Memorial – Biddenham

An application (18/02589/FUL) has been submitted to construct a two storey property and garage on the site immediately to the west of Lavender Lodge, Main Road, behind the war memorial with access to the road across the wide grass verge.
The initial impression is that such a development will detract from the ambience of this important part of the village, surrounded as it is with a number of historic and listed buildings. The application will be discussed at the Biddenham Society’s AGM and Lunch on 4th November 2018.  Closing date for responses is 14th November 2018.

Biddenham Society opposes plans for Baulk House

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

https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/gpa3-setting-of-heritage-assets/

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.

Tony Wood
Chairman

PROPERTY ON MAIN ROAD IS INAPPROPRIATE TO IT’S SETTING – 24 May ’18

Update: May 2018

Rear view from The Paddock

Update: January 2018

Update: 4 October 2017
8 Main Road demolished!

IMG_1147IMG_1148

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 replacement would have three floors against the two at present, with a prominent double depth crown roof and a footprint three and a half times the existing.

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.

‘White Cottage’ application – Black Marks!

The Biddenham Society
(founded 1965)

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.

Tony Wood
Chairman

BEDFORD SOCIETY LOCAL PLAN 2035: CONSULTATION

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.

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

Object now – or lose this land for ever!

The Biddenham Society (founded 1965)
Chairman: Dr Tony Wood

 Application 18/00140/MAO

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
Chairman
5 February 2018

Land West of Gold Lane from Deep Spinney roundabout

   STOP THESE OUTRAGEOUS DEVELOPMENTS    AT GOLD LANE

The last remaining large green space in Biddenham, the farmland west of Gold Lane, is under threat:

  1. From application 18/00140/MAO to build 250 dwellings on the site
  2. 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

 Details:
To access plans and comments on application 18/00140/MAO

  1. Go to www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans
  2. Click on the link ‘To view and comment on Planning Applications’
  3. Type in the application reference number.
  4. Click Search; Documents; View associated documents

 How do I object?

By e-mail to: planning@bedford.gov.uk; 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

Details
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 planningforthefuture@bedford.gov.uk; 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.

Thank you
Tony Wood
Chairman

The Biddenham Society (founded 1965)