Category Archives: Roads

The Biddenham Society – Houses, houses, everywhere

You may have read in the pre-Christmas press of the government’s ambitious plans for the Oxford to Cambridge corridor in which Bedford sits squarely in the middle. An expressway is to be built to speed up road transport, and there is even talk of recreating a train route between the two university cities.  However, even if the funds can be found to complete the line from Oxford to Bedford the prospect of continuing the link to Cambridge must be a bit of a pipe dream. And anyway, if there is an expressway how many are likely to abandon the car or the X5 to pay through the nose to join a one carriage train stopping at loads of country halts?

Nevertheless, good news for Bedfordshire and Bedford.  Or is it?

We can of course wax lyrical about being at the hub of a world-leading technological corridor, and I expect it will be great for house prices – that is if you are selling not buying.  But it will surely worsen the lot of those young people in Bedford struggling to take their first steps on the housing ladder.  It may be hard enough now, but if we become a new Silicon Valley, future parents might anticipate many more grown up children camping out with mum and dad – for ever!

But have no fear: the government is on the job! Odds on you are unaware of the existence of a body called The National Infrastructure Commission, which recently consulted all the councils within the corridor, including of course Bedford Borough.  No doubt you are even less aware that the leaders of these councils, including the Mayor of Bedford, signed up to a paper which calls for an additional 1 million homes to be constructed in this corridor over the next 35 years, with the aim of supporting a further 1.6 million people.

To give you an idea of scale, a million new homes is equivalent to a city 50% larger than Birmingham, or ten giant towns the size of Northampton, or several hundred more Biddenhams.  Houses, houses, everywhere; but from where are the people coming to fill them all?

However you look at it, the Borough of Bedford will have to take its share, and it would therefore appear that those of us who live in Biddenham will be faced with a never-ending battle to prevent the village’s absorption as a suburb of an expanding Bedford conurbation. For the foreseeable future, we will have to keep at bay the vultures circling around our few remaining green spaces, in the hope that we can retain the open fields and pass the baton on to our successors to continue the fight, for you can be sure the threat will never go away.

At the moment, as recorded in the last issue of The Loop, we await the public consultation stage for the borough’s next local plan, which will first identify agricultural and other land recommended to be reclassified for building purposes.  The process has been delayed as a result of late bids to establish large scale housing areas (in effect new towns) elsewhere on the Bedford fringe.  These are being considered together with many other bids from developers in which Biddenham – once again – features large, notwithstanding the huge construction projects already committed for Great Denham and north of Bromham Road.  Nothing is sacrosanct to money-grabbing land owners.

Being rather uncharitable, we must hope the chosen areas for meeting the borough’s housing targets go elsewhere, and the remaining spaces on the edges of our village (such as the substantial land area west of Gold Lane) are left intact.  If not, stand by for a tough struggle to retain the distinctiveness and attraction of where we live.  But it is worth fighting for – isn’t it?

Adieu
tony-wood
This will be my 74th and last column for The Loop, nine years after the first in the January 2008 issue of what was then the Biddenham Bulletin.  During this fairly lengthy period I have tried to alert readers to the never-ending attempts by developers – small and large – to spoil our village, and in doing this I have rarely pulled my punches, applying the lash even-handedly to all, including any of my own erring friends or neighbours!  There will be some, I am sure, who will be relieved at the news.

Throughout I have been conscious that my policy of ‘naming and shaming’ miscreants does not sit comfortably in a church-sponsored publication, and I recognise this has frequently placed successive editors in difficult positions with the PCC. I would like to thank both Jean and her predecessor Rosemary for the tolerance they have shown over the years in doing all they could to accommodate my comments and observations, which many others may well have deemed unacceptable in the context of this particular publication.

The time is perhaps overdue for me to dispense a modest dollop of largesse and make our editor’s life a little easier by closing my Biddenham Loop folder.  My thanks to all those who have taken the time and trouble to contact me in person or by e-mail to respond to, or comment on, issues I have raised.  Most, not all, have been positive, but you can’t please all the people all the time (as many have said, probably including Donald Trump), and as part of my purpose has been to energise residents to talk about such matters I can feel satisfied some progress has been made.

My best wishes to readers, and to the continued success of the excellent Loop.

Tony Wood
Chairman

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.

Kings Field – land north of Bromham Road

The roads are now being constructed within the development site for housing at the western – Biddenham – end of Kings Field:

Work is also underway creating the playing fields on the other side – Bromham side – of the bypass, but we didn’t manage to get across the road to take any photos of that as the rain started to come down.

However, later, my colleague also passed that way and did manage, amongst others, a photo looking into the area being developed for playing fields:

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Bromham Road/Biddenham Turn …

Bromham Road Works 2016 08 15A1-1I decided that I had forgotten some items when I went to shopping earlier in the day and thought that as Sainsbury’s were open until 11.00pm it would be more convenient to me to get them whilst I remembered although it was about 9.30pm.  When I drove out of Darlow Drive I found that the road was closed so I had to drive through the village and turned up Gold Lane towards the new bypass and was astonished to find an X5 bus coming in the other direction and had to pull in to the side and stop to allow him to pass.  He had obviously taken the wrong turn at the Deep Spinney roundabout.  How he eventually turned the bus round I have no idea but he was nowhere to be seen when I returned after making my purchases.  I then thought that I would wander out on the Bromham Road to see how the work was progressing and found a hive of activity.  There was this large machine digging up the road at the junction of Bromham Road & Biddenham Turn and sending the spoil through a long spout into the back of a large pickup truck all under the glare of extra lighting.  I stood there fascinated for some time and then thought that I should to take a photo of it for the Blog hence this picture …
Graham

Bypass Update – 7 February 2016

update – 7 February 2016 

With the new bridge now straddling the Midland Mainline line north of Bedford station, the  completion of the Northern Bypass looks very much on schedule (date yet to be confirmed), but …

update – 11 February 2016
At the February Parish Council meeting, Jon Gambold reported that the opening of the bypass may be delayed due to potential major road works required on Tavistock Street that are expected to take six weeks. Concerns were raised that if the bypass is opened before the Tavistock St work is completed, substantial volumes of traffic will come via the bypass to Biddenham and then along Bromham Road to get to Bedford!
So the present plan is to delay opening the bypass until the work on Tavistock St. is completed, it is understood this work has not yet begun – watch this space!

 

Bypass Update – 26th September, 2015

26 September 2015: 

some photo’s of the bypass as it continues to stretch towards the new Clapham roundabout + a few shots of the old Biddenham GC – now very overgrown. A lovely evening,  sun and clouds combining well with the hot air balloons also taking a view of progress maybe …

Bypass Update – 27 July 2015

27 July 2015: The focus of work on roundabouts has now switched particularly to the Clapham Road/Sainsbury’s roundabout and also to a roundabout that will give access in due course to development on the land north of Bromham Road. Work continues on the road itself.

The site offices have been removed from the land off Gold Lane, as work on the Bromham Road/Deep Spinney roundabout is virtually complete, apart from final signage, planting and any other remaining tweaks.

We have heard nothing further yet about whither on the section of fence on the Bedford side of the roundabout that has been the source of much debate since its construction. One does fear we may grow old together!

Bypass Update – 23 June 2015

23 June 2015: Lots of new signs and bollards and work is nearing completion at the Bromham Road/Deep Spinney roundabout. There is finishing and planting to be done, but the sore thumb is the large, stark section of fence, for noise abatement, near The Baulk, which is causing dismay and discontent in the village.

Our local councillors are in discussion with the Borough Council to try and identify a way of achieving the aims of the monstrous fence but in a way that sits more easily and aesthetically in the landscape.

 

Bypass Update – 1 June 2015

1 June 2015: Today is the first day of the British summer, as you can tell from the sky. But great changes around the new Bromham Road/Deep Spinney roundabout following the three weekend closures and subsequent work.

Bromham Church is peeping over the top of the fence erected on the Bromham side of the new section of road, and a taller fence is now being constructed on the Bedford side. New signs are going up, new lamp posts are in place, and fencing and barriers are in place around the entrances to the underpass. Work continues apace here and at the Sainsbury’s end of the new section of bypass where a very big new roundabout is taking shape.

Bypass Update – 26 April 2015

26 April 2015: The first weekend closure at the Bromham Road/Deep Spinney roundabout and much work done and much new tarmac now laid. Work progressed speedily and the roundabout reopened to traffic earlier than expected at around 4.30 pm today. The cycle underpass was also passable to pedestrians viewing the weekend’s work.

Views around the Bromham Road/Deep Spinney roundabout:

Views around the next new roundabout along the new section of bypass where work continues:

 

 

 

 

 

Bypass Update – 6 April 2015

6 April 2015: New month, new update. Much progress since the last update. Shiny new lampposts have been erected on the approaches to and round the new Bromham Road/Deep Spinney roundabout.

The area above the cycle underpass has been filled in and levelled and the road is now being constructed over it to run down to the next roundabout.

From that roundabout the road is taking shape as it continues on towards the  A6.

And through it all the flowers keep on blooming!