Tag Archives: Village pond

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:


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:


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:


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



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:


  • 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.



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.




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.

Bedford Local Plan 2035

Bedford Borough Council is preparing a local plan that will set out how much growth there should be in the borough in coming years (housing, jobs and associated infrastructure) and where it should take place. Current planning policy documents look up to 2021 and the new local plan will extend that period up to 2035. It will also include policies that will be used to make decisions on planning applications.

The Council has asked for comments on the consultation paper it has issued about the new plan, together with a number of supporting evidence documents. The consultation period ends on 9 June 2017.

In the Borough Council’s consultation paper an area of land off Gold Lane, Biddenham, and within sites numbered 29 and 691 in the documentation is shown as a potential development area at this stage: that area of land is not immediately adjacent to the village pond. But in a supporting document, the current draft Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA), the whole of the land in sites 29 and 691 is shown as being suitable, available and achievable for development.

Our village pond is not served by streams or springs and relies on precipitation and run off from adjacent fields for its water, and importantly the entire area surrounding the pond is currently wildlife friendly. Developing all the land in sites 29 and 691, particularly the field to the north of and by the side of the village pond, between the pond and Duck End Lane, would have a significant and substantial practical and aesthetic impact on the pond.

It would threaten the pond’s very survival and the survival of the wide range of wildlife it supports, including rare and protected species, by adversely impacting both run off water to the pond and also the pond’s setting in the presently attractive open and wildlife friendly landscape around it, thereby reducing the scope for and ability of wildlife to migrate to and from the pond and thus the opportunity for sustainable healthy breeding through genetic diversity with other populations.

The Friends has submitted comments, in a letter to the Borough Council, concluding that given the need to protect and conserve our natural environment, not least species protected by the law, wildlife corridors, and sites of local importance, and to safeguard the future of the village pond, its wildlife and the open wildlife friendly landscape in which the pond sits, it is seeking:

  • at the very minimum, the removal from the threat of development of the field by the side of and to the north of the pond and its retention as open space, that is to its reassessment and recategorisation as land not suitable, available and achievable for development (as was categorised land to the west of that field at Stage 2 of the availability assessment); and
  • more substantially, the removal from the threat of development of the whole of the land in sites 29 and 691, south of the A4280, and its retention as open space, and similarly therefore its reassessment and recategorisation as land not suitable, available and achievable for development.

Please do support your village pond by writing to the Borough Council’s Planning Department with your comments. You can send your comments by email to planningforthefuture@bedford.gov.uk or by post to:

Local Plan 2035 consultation
Planning Policy Team
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall
MK42 9AP

Thank you.

On Biddenham pond …

Picture a traditional English village and what do you see: a village church, a pub, a pond and busy village societies.

In many villages some maybe all of these have disappeared. But in Biddenham we are so fortunate still to have them all: fortunate through the efforts over the years of those determined to retain the character and spirit of the village.

The strength of that longstanding commitment was well illustrated in 2015 with the 100th anniversary of the village hall, from its inception as a canteen and recreation room for troops billeted in the village during the Great War, and with the 50th anniversary of the Biddenham Society.

And in 2016 we reach the 30th anniversary of the project, led by the redoubtable Dorothy Richards, to restore our village pond.

The  Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond continues today the work of conserving and maintaining the pond as an amenity for the village and a haven for wildlife.

The Friends is planning a series of events during the year to celebrate the anniversary, most in collaboration with other village organisations celebrating also the community spirit that underpins Biddenham as an exceptional place in which to live.

You can find more information in the Diary on the pond’s website, and further details will be published on that site, in The Loop, on the village notice boards, and in Splash, the pond’s newsletter, as events draw nearer.

Long may the pond survive and thrive in a vibrant village for future generations to enjoy as we can enjoy them today.