Land west of Gold Lane, Biddenham

The Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond have submitted to Bedford Borough Council today:

If you haven’t already objected to policy 19, please do so now using this quick and easy to use link: http://www.have-a-say.co.uk/bpc-policy19.

And if you haven’t already objected to the planning application to build 250 houses west of Gold Lane (18/00140/MAO), please do so now using this link: http://www.have-a-say.co.uk/1800140MAO.

Please continue to share these links widely.

Local Plan 2035

The Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond have submitted to the Borough Council today their response to the Local Plan 2035, seeking the removal of policy 19 from the Plan.

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Policy 19 the Borough Council wants to include in the Local Plan 2035 would allow 160 houses to be built on land west of Gold Lane, Biddenham. Anticipating that new policy one developer has already applied to build 250 houses on that very same land west of Gold Lane (application number 18/00140/MAO), and many of you have already objected to that planning application. It is just as important, if not more so, to object as well to policy 19 which would make it easier for developers to build on that land, and so far not so many of you have objected to policy 19. Here is the link for objecting to policy 19 if you haven’t already done so, and you will see there too reasons for objecting:

http://www.have-a-say.co.uk/bpc-policy19

Policy 23 the Borough Council also wants to include in the Local Plan would allow the development of land to the rear of Bromham Road, Biddenham. Here is the link, with reasons, for objecting to that, if you haven’t already done so:

http://www.have-a-say.co.uk/bpc-policy23

If you haven’t already objected, please do so now. If you have objected, please encourage all the other adults in your household to object using the quick and easy links above: to ensure every objection counts as a separate objection, please each adult member in a family use your own separate social media or email account to make your objections.

And please continue to forward the links to family, friends and anyone you know in Biddenham, the local area and further afield, and encourage them to object too: share the links as widely as you can.

 

BEDFORD SOCIETY LOCAL PLAN 2035: CONSULTATION

The Biddenham Society

BEDFORD BOROUGH LOCAL PLAN 2035: CONSULTATION
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

SOS: Save Open Spaces

We’re conscious you’ve already received a lot of information in the last few weeks about the threats facing Biddenham. Please though do bear with us and carry on reading here about the actions you can take to combat these threats before it’s too late: the clock is ticking! And please do share this as widely as you can, with its quick and easy to use links below, to enable as many people as possible to take action too.

Bedford Borough Council wants to destroy precious remaining open spaces around Biddenham. It’s doing this by introducing policies into its new Local Plan 2035 that will allow development on those open spaces, which will have developers rubbing their hands with glee. We cannot overemphasise the importance and significance of these policies being removed from the Local Plan so that the few open spaces still left will remain protected.

We urge you to object to the introduction of these new policies before it’s too late and Biddenham and surrounding communities become progressively merged in an urban sprawl. There are links below to do that quickly and easily. We cannot overemphasis as well the need for a massive number of objections to be made to these policies – many, many hundreds, and we’re not there yet. We must redouble our efforts and all do all we possibly can to work towards that end in the days that remain.

To ensure every objection counts as a separate objection, please each adult member in a family use your own separate social media or email account to make your objections.

We know that new houses need to be built for the growing population and for our children as they seek their own first homes. Our objection to these policies is not Nimbyism. There are plenty of more sustainable and brown field sites in the Borough which should be prioritised: there is no need to build on these few remaining open spaces.

And it’s a fact that the parish of Biddenham has already made in recent times and is still making an enormous contribution to the provision of new houses, probably more than its fair share: think of the Biddenham Turn estate, Deep Spinney, Great Denham now hived off but still building, and the western end of King’s Field, still building. Great swathes of open space lost, and gone forever: little precious open space left. If any open space is to remain not concreted over, building cannot continue unchecked. We must protect and conserve what remains of our natural environment and the wide ranging benefits derived from it for the health and wellbeing of this and future generations.

Anticipating these new Borough Council policies one developer, as we know, has already applied to build 250 houses on land west of Gold Lane (application number 18/00140/MAO). Many of you have lodged your objections to that application, and thank you for that. If you haven’t objected to it yet, there is a link, with reasons, at the end which you can use quickly and easily to object.

Policy 19 that the Council wants to include in the Local Plan 2035 would allow 160 houses to be built on that very same land west of Gold Lane. Here is the link for objecting to that policy, if you haven’t already done so, and you will see there too reasons for objecting:

http://www.have-a-say.co.uk/bpc-policy19

Policy 23 if included in the Local Plan would allow the development of land to the rear of Bromham Road. Here is the link, with reasons, for objecting to that, if you haven’t already done so:

http://www.have-a-say.co.uk/bpc-policy23

There is still time both to object to the two policies the Borough Council wants to include in the Local Plan which would make it easier for developers to build on currently protected open spaces, and also to object to the planning application for 250 houses west of Gold Lane:

  • if you haven’t already objected, please do so now;
  • if you have objected, please encourage all the other adults in your household to object using the quick and easy links above: to ensure every objection counts as a separate objection, please each adult member in a family use your own separate social media or email account to make your objections; and
  • please forward the links to family, friends and anyone you know in Biddenham, the local area and further afield: share them as widely as you can.

Please pass this on to them via text, Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and any other social media you use. And, of course, please pass on by email if you or they aren’t connected to social media.

If you haven’t already objected to the planning application to build 250 houses west of Gold Lane (18/00140/MAO), please do so now using this link:

http://www.have-a-say.co.uk/1800140MAO

Thank you very much for caring about the environment, about Biddenham, and about its character and heritage.

 

 

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
Chairman
5 February 2018

Planning application to build 250 houses west of Gold Lane

You still have time to object to 250 houses being built on the land west of Gold Lane in Biddenham, if you haven’t done so already. It’ll take you less than 30 seconds. Just click here:

http://www.have-a-say.co.uk/1800140MAO

  • Anyone who hasn’t objected, please do so now;
  • if you have objected, please encourage all the other adults in your household to object using this quick and easy method; and
  • please forward the link to family, friends and anyone you know in Biddenham, the local area or even further afield.

Please pass this on to them via text, Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and any other social media you use. Or, of course, email too if you are not connected to social media.

Thank you very much for caring about Biddenham, its environment and our historic village pond.

Land West of Gold Lane from Deep Spinney roundabout

   STOP THESE OUTRAGEOUS DEVELOPMENTS    AT GOLD LANE

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.

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

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

  1. Go to www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans
  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: planning@bedford.gov.uk; 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

Details
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 planningforthefuture@bedford.gov.uk; 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.

Thank you
Tony Wood
Chairman

The Biddenham Society (founded 1965)

BIDDENHAM NEEDS YOU!

IMPORTANT – ACTION REQUIRED

Lioncourt has now submitted an outline planning application (18/00140/MAO) for 250 dwellings on land to the west of Gold Lane.

The urban spaces between Biddenham, Bromham and Great Denham are all currently protected by what is known as policy AD42. This is part of the Borough Council’s Allocations and Designations Local Plan of July 2013. Since 2002, national Planning Inspectors have recognised the importance of this visual separation between communities around Biddenham. This includes the land west of Gold Lane.

The Lioncourt application conflicts with and is contrary to AD42; it is neither appropriate nor necessary as the Borough Council’s current Local Plan to 2021 has sufficient provision to meet the housing requirements of the Plan; it would impose an excessive burden on local infrastructure; and would create a hazardous access point onto the narrow Gold Lane, and add enormously to existing traffic problems on Gold Lane, through Biddenham, and at the Bromham Road/Deep Spinney roundabout. And the Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond remains concerned about the adverse impact on the village pond and its wildlife were there to be development of the land west of Gold Lane, not least its impact on the water table and the availability and ability of water to reach the pond from this adjacent land.

It has been made crystal clear to Lioncourt that the Parish Council, the Biddenham Society, and the Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond are united in being firmly opposed to any development on this site.

If the Lioncourt application is to be refused (the closing date for objections is 16 February 2018) objections are needed in great numbers, not tens, not hundreds, but even more, to demonstrate clearly to the Borough Council and the developer the strength, depth and extent of the objection to this proposed development.

Please object individually. We emphasise individually because joint applications, say from a Mr and Mrs, only count as one objection. You can double that number by both submitting objections.

This is a public process so any member of the public can respond. You may have family and friends who grew up in Biddenham, once lived in the village, visit the village: please ask them to object as well, and your neighbours and other members of the public too with whom you are acquainted. Very large numbers of objections are vital. If you have friends in Bromham, ask them to object too – it is equally important for them to retain the open space between our two communities to avoid the danger of coalescence and perhaps then Bromham’s eventual inclusion, like Biddenham, in the Bedford urban area.

You can email your objection to planning@bedford.gov.uk (you will need to include your name and address, and of course the application number 18/00140/MAO), you can object via the Council website, or deliver your objection by hand or post to the Planning Department at Borough Hall. Remember the closing date is 16 February – don’t delay, act now.

It’s up to all of us again and in even greater and greater numbers to help protect the character, setting and heritage of our village not just for today but for tomorrow and future generations. Thank you.

Looking to that future, we will be contacting you again shortly about the separate but related issue of the Borough Council’s Local Plan 2035 and the need to object to policies in that which would dilute the protection of the open spaces around the village, including the land to the west of Gold Lane. A second leaflet from the Parish Council will be delivered shortly to every house in Biddenham. These are crucial times now for the future of Biddenham.

YOUR VILLAGE NEEDS YOU (AND YOURS)!

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: tony.wood@redrobin.me.uk

Important information about housing development at Gold Lane

All homes in Biddenham will be receiving this week a leaflet from the Chairman of the Parish Council giving important information about housing development at Gold Lane.

There is an imminent planning application for hundreds of houses west of Gold Lane. The Parish Council hopes villagers will help it oppose this application, once it’s made, the consequences for the village were houses to be built there being set out in the leaflet.

The leaflet goes on to explain how you can help.  The land in question is currently protected as green belt, but the Borough Council are publishing a housing and development plan which seeks to dilute that protection. The plan (the Bedford Local Plan 2035) is for the whole of the Borough  but includes the land west of Gold Lane in what is called Policy 19 (the content of which and the associated site plan are set out in the leaflet).

The public will be asked to give feedback in a consultation period starting later this month and ending on 5 March. It’ll be vital that if you don’t wish to see housing west of Gold Lane you write to the Borough objecting to this policy.

The Parish Council is asking villagers please to object to Policy 19. As the leaflet explains, if the Policy is not vigorously opposed it will make the developers’ planning application easier. If it gets rejected it may well prevent the development.

The Parish Council will be sending shortly a second leaflet to every home explaining in detail what to do once the period for public consultation on the Borough Council’s plan opens later in January.