Development 0ff Gold Lane

It’s been quite a while but development has continued off Gold Lane and phase 2 is now well underway.

And in the meantime road names have been agreed for both phases, and the good news is that the names, as hoped, do remember and celebrate the villages agricultural and faming heritage, including the late lamented dovecote.

In phase 1 there are:

Boteler Reach and Dovecote Drive: what is now the village pond was originally a carp pond created by Sir William Boteler to supply fish for the Manor table. Later his wife Elizabeth built by the pond the dovecote to supply meat and eggs for the table and fertiliser for the fields.

Peacock Lane, Manning Mews and Whitworth Walk: commemorating farmers at what were then working working farms in the village over the years, including Grove Farm, Church Farm, Green Farm and Honeyhill Farm.

The Smithy and Wheelwright Way: remembering two essential trades that supported the village farmers.

Within The Smithy are Summerlin House and Davison House, remembering two long serving village blacksmiths Frederick Summerlin (43 years) and his successor William Davison (45 years).

Within Wheelwright way is Hebbes House remembering Alfred Hebbes the village wheelwright in Duck End Lane for 50 years.

In phase 2 will be:

Howard Way and Rawlins Reach: Charles Howard was a farmer at Manor Farm of international renown as a sheep breeder, particularly for his Oxford Down rams and flock. When he died in 1895 some 600 people attended his funeral in the village, many having to stand in the churchyard. Fred Rawlins farmed for many decades of the 1900s at Honeyhill Farm and later at Church Farm which by then included Manor, Honeyhill and Grove farms, some 1,000 acres in total.

Shepherd Lane and Carpenter Close: remembering two other occupations that supported the village farmers.

Campion Road and King Lane: Campion was Charles Howard’s shepherd and Harry King was carpenter for the Biddenham Estate and was in charge of the work undertaken in 1932 to restore the dovecote, which sadly was later mysteriously demolished early one morning in 1966.

And more good news, the Parish Council being keen to support the history of the village would like to do this by extending the village Heritage Trail bringing in the archaeological discoveries in the land off Gold Lane.  It would also like to explore how the trail could be linked to the development north of Bromham Road. And hopefully new heritage boards could also explain the history behind the road names that have been chosen.




Development off Gold Lane: road names

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.





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):



The application last June for 15 houses on the paddock between Church End and Great Denham was withdrawn following much local opposition.  Now the developer is back with a fresh application to construct 5 dwellings on the site, following the success of another developer (on Appeal) to build 249 properties west of Gold Lane. Once again this application must be vigorously opposed, not just to preserve one of the few remaining green spaces in the village, but also because it will close the vital gap with Great Denham, and with its new housing will affect the historic character of this part of the village.

The planning reference is 19/02538/FUL and the closing date for comments is 27 December 2019. The full plans may be viewed by following the instructions below.
2. Type in 19/02538/FUL and click on the Search button.
3. For the plans click on Documents followed by View Associated documents

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.
2. Type in 19/01350/MAF and click on the Search button.
3. For the plans click on Documents followed by View Associated documents

Bromham Road Bridge – Open to Cyclists & Pedestrians

Update: 20th May 2020 – Bridge open to cyclists and pedestrians

May 20, 2020 – Bridge open to Pedestrians & Cyclists


From Monday, 24 June, work will continue to divert utilities and services away from the bridge in preparation for the structure to be demolished and reconstructed at a raised height. This work is vital to provide a safe distance for the overhead line equipment passing beneath, enabling the line between Bedford, Kettering and Corby to be electrified as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade.

To allow this work to take place safely, Bromham Road will be fully closed to vehicles until Spring 2020. During this time, a diversionary route via the A6 and Clapham Road will be in place. This will be clearly sign-posted. A temporary bridge will maintain access for pedestrians and dismounted cyclists.

Network Rail and Bedford Borough Council are working together to keep disruption to a minimum whilst the road is closed.

Gavin Crook, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said: “Next month, Network Rail will continue with work to Bromham Road bridge as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade.

“To allow this work to take place safely, a full road closure will be in place, as well as a clearly signposted diversionary route.  We do understand that this will impact on motorists and we would like to thank all those affected for their patience whilst this takes place.”

reproduced with kind permission of:
Media Relations Executive
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)

history in the making …