Heavy overnight rain on Saturday (27th December 20) caused the ‘River Great Ouse’ to flood the area around the Bromham Bridge attracting a great deal of pedestrian and vehicle traffic …
Some 18 new pictures have been added to our collection of pictures from years now long gone by.
They begin with four pictures of the village church, one showing, we believe, the church decorated for Christmas in a style similar to that which has been seen in an old photograph of a church in Hampshire.
They include these pictures (and who is the horse rider we wonder):
Gold Lane developer back with 160 dwellings proposal
Having 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
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.
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 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
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
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:
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:
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
The last remaining large green space in Biddenham, the farmland west of Gold Lane, is under threat:
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
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)
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:
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:
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.
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 Cowslip Meadow is cut …
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
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
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
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