Category Archives: Conservation area

Gold Lane – Application for up to 160 dwellings proposal WITHDRAWN – June 2121

June 2121 – Application No: 18/03100/MAO Withdrawn

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 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


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 for guidance

Tony Wood


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.


Bromham Road – new Development Proposal

APPLICATION No 20/02761/FUL TYPE: Full Planning Application PROPOSAL: Development of new roundabout on Bromham Road,
to replace the approved right hand turn lane and ghost island approved under 01/02199/EIA LOCATION : Land At Former Ouse Valley Golf Club Bromham Road Biddenham Bedfordshire 

1. Vehicular

a.) The updated Transport Statement is inadequate. It leans on the previous study performed in 2014 based upon estimates and supposition as to the impact of the Great Ouse Way (opened subsequently in October 2014) and other residential developments in the area. (Transport Statement 2020 section 2.1 states, “existing highway network… remains unchanged”).

Anecdotal evidence suggests the expected reduction in traffic along the Bromham Road has not materialised. A detailed physical study of traffic flows that now exist is necessary. The queuing of vehicles during peak hours on the bypass has led to vehicles using the Bromham Road (and likely any proposed development link road) as “rat-runs” with excess speed when possible and significant queuing (with associated pollution) at peak hours still a long-term characteristic of the area. This is prior to the addition of those that will be housed and connected on the latest phase of development.

The existing Bromham Road is within a 30-mph zone, though due to persistent abuse of that limit recent representations were made by us (and rejected) to increase that limit to 40mph. Consequently, better efforts must be made to provide clarity of the limit to drivers (notably improving the almost non-existent speed limit signage). Additionally, making the entry and exit points to the roundabout more acute by locating it further into the development land would be a good way to calm traffic speeds.

b.) As the roundabout will serve existing and additional new residents, increasing the feeling that this is a residential area, it would be appropriate to impose size and weight restrictions on Heavy Goods Vehicles “except for access”. So, brewery deliveries and X5 coaches could still be permitted, but other HGVs travelling to destinations further afield should be directed to use the Great Ouse Way.

c.)  Please could any surface or re-surfacing utilise modern low noise materials to reduce the noise level of passing traffic.

2. Pedestrian

The application for Full Planning Permission section 5.30 suggests enhancement of both pedestrian routes and facilities. None is specified. The statement focuses on the development, but not how it is connected to the existing environment. For example, at or near the roundabout there is no facility to cross the Bromham Road safely for a pedestrian from the existing Biddenham village. The existing sub-standard path and kerb should be brought up to a safer modern standard.

3. Cycling

The application for Full Planning Permission section 5.32 makes no stated effort to improve or enhance the existing cycle routes which are bi-directional, multi-use and extremely close to the busy Bromham Road. Given the additional volume of mixed users from the new development, this creates a greater hazard that requires stronger consideration on safety grounds.

4. Ecological Appraisal

We note the Hedgerow Retention Notice Ref. 17/01682/HDG and are pleased that this has been taken into consideration. As much hedgerow as possible should generally be sustainably retained. For reference, our earlier submission to 17/01682/HDG was as follows:

      The Parish Council expressed disappointment in the [proposed] significant loss of hedgerow

      Further comments received 17 July 2017 : – Biddenham Parish Council object to this application.   

      Whilst we acknowledge that the new roundabout […] will require removal of some of the 

      hedgerow this application by Anglian Water should not be granted.

     It is the view of the parish council that the pipework could be laid alongside the existing 

     hedgerow. There is no requirement for the removal of the Oak which is rightly protected by a 

     TPO. In addition, the application is factually incorrect as the hedgerow has been there for more 

     than 30 years (which is not what the planning application states) and we have several residents   

    and members of the parish council who can recall the hedgerow being in existence for closer to 50 

    years. It is the wish of the parish council that as much of this mature hedgerow is preserved and 

    we trust that the planning department will support us and seek to protect the Oak and the                    hedgerow for many years to come.

The refusal of this earlier application and resultant hedgerow retention notice were welcomed and must be upheld.

5. Works Compound

Given the size of the proposed development land, it is hoped the developer could position any works site well away from any existing housing and work solely from the substantial New Bypass access to the site, in restricted hours during the roundabout development work. 

Biddenham Parish Council, 26.01.2021

Biddenham past

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):



Update: May 2018

Rear view from The Paddock

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 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.


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

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
5 February 2018

Land West of Gold Lane from Deep Spinney roundabout


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.


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.


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

  1. Go to
  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:; 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.


You can download the whole plan from . 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; 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


Thank you
Tony Wood

The Biddenham Society (founded 1965)

Biddenham House, 2 Gold Lane, Biddenham – Objection issued

the following objection has been issued:

Ms Rachel Duncan
Planning Department
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:



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:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the link ‘To view and comment on Planning Applications’
  3. Type in the application reference number.
  4. 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 by the closing date of 11 January 2018.