The development by dandara on the land off Gold Lane is now progressing rapidly and extensively across the site. The rate of build looks to be nearing the stage where dandara could well be turning its thoughts to the naming of the roads within the development.
The process of road naming is, we understand, initiated by the developer submitting an application to the Borough Council. The Borough Council does make it clear on their application form that a developer needs to engage with the local parish council, and in this case the Borough will engage with Biddenham’s Parish Council and promote the Parish Council’s preference back to the developer. As yet no application has been made by the developer, dandara.
The Parish Council can make a suggestion to the Borough before an application is submitted by the developer (and also make the same suggestion to the developer).
Villager Peter Applewhite has prepared a paper setting out a rationale for the names that might be adopted for the roads within the development off Gold Lane, names that would preserve and celebrate the history, characteristics and nature of Biddenham, names that would resonate with villagers who have long strived to retain the rural character of the village.
The paper is addressed to dandara and Peter sent it to the developer earlier in the year. More recently he circulated it to the Parish Council, which will consider it at the 18 January 2022 meeting: the Parish Council’s meetings are open to the public who have an opportunity to ask questions as an early item on each agenda. The Parish Council has kindly posted a copy of the paper on its web site.
The paper describes the one substantial and significant feature of Biddenham’s long history yet to be celebrated and remembered in road names: that is its agricultural and farming heritage. And this development being built on former agricultural land, is effectively the last substantial opportunity to do that.
For many centuries, indeed for the great majority of its existence as a settlement, Biddenham was a self-contained rural farming community where villagers both lived and worked. But today there are no working farms left in the village and very little and steadily diminishing agricultural land.
The paper proposes that it would be most appropriate, indeed quite remarkable and wonderful, therefore when choosing road names for this development to remember and celebrate the village’s agricultural and farming heritage.
It is hoped that the paper will inform and help the decision making process as and when road names are being considered: the development off Gold Lane is the last substantial opportunity to remember and celebrate Biddenham’s agricultural and farming heritage over the most extensive period, stretching over many, many centuries, of its existence as a settlement.
Whether the developer will look favourably on this proposal is not known and cannot be taken for granted. But it is hoped dandara and both the Parish and Borough Councils will recognise the significant contribution such naming would make to preserving for future generations such a substantial part of Biddenham’s heritage.
A thought, one former feature of the village still close to many hearts is the dovecote, which stood by what is now the village pond, formerly the Manor carp pond, for some 260 years. Whilst restored in 1932, sadly it was demolished early one morning without warning in 1966, a sad loss of a unique part of the village’s heritage. The dovecote provided eggs, meat and fertiliser and the pond provided fish. Wouldn’t it be great to see at last the dovecote remembered and celebrated, in the name of a road which would be not too far removed from where it once stood.
A final thought. Wouldn’t it be great too to record on information boards in the development (perhaps by the play areas which residents will visit and stay a while) this substantial and significant feature of the village’s heritage remembered through the road names chosen, as it is hoped will be the case, combined perhaps too with information about the archaeological discoveries from the earliest days of the settlement made on site before construction started.