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.

 

 

 

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Planning application to build 250 houses on land west of Gold Lane

The Friends have submitted to the Borough Council today their response to planning application 18/00140/MAO  to build 250 houses on land west of Gold Lane.

Their response to policy 19 in the Local Plan 2035 which affects that same land off Gold Lane is currently being finalised and will be submitted to the Borough Council soon.

Posted in The Friends, Update | Tagged

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.

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NO THIN END!

Thin ends of wedges invariably lead to thick ends.

The thin end facing Biddenham is the threat of development on the land west of Gold Lane. The thick end after inevitable further development would be coalescence with Bromham as part of an ever extending urban sprawl.

The second leaflet distributed by the Parish Council to every home in Biddenham explains what we must do to try and prevent that thin end appearing and to safeguard Biddenham’s character and  environment, including our village pond.

It’s vital for us all to object to both:

  • the planning application to build 250 houses on the land west of Gold Lane (application number 18/00140/MAO, the closing date for objections is 16 February); and also
  • policy 19 and policy 23 in the Local Plan 2035 (the closing date for objections is 5 March): there are details of both policies and related plans on page 4 of the leaflet.

Policy 19 also concerns the land west of Gold Lane. The promoters of the planning application to build 250 houses there expect policy 19, if it’s confirmed, to help their application to be approved. Not at all what we want for Biddenham! So it’s crucial not only to object to the planning application but also to object to policy 19. And as explained below, these have to be separate objections if they are to count.

Policy 23 concerns land to the rear of Bromham Road, to your right as you head towards Bromham and the old bridge over the river by Bromham Mill.

The leaflet explains on page 2 how to object and on page 3 why to object. Whichever means we each choose to use to submit our objections to the Borough Council (and remember each objection must include somewhere your name and address), we have to submit separate objections for the planning application, for policy 19, and for policy 23.

Please, please don’t let the thought of that put you off objecting! A little time and effort spent now will have been well worth it if in the end, all working together, we are successful in protecting our green space for the future, and preventing even worse traffic problems than we already encounter in and around Biddenham.

How to fill in the two forms to object to the two policies in the Local Plan is set out on page 2 of the leaflet, in particular how to fill in questions 5, 6 and 6a.

Reasons you might want to give for your objections, in the large text box that follows question 6a, are set out on page 3 of the leaflet. Some apply to the planning application, policy 19 and policy 23, such as the destruction of currently protected open space. Others apply specifically to the planning application and also to policy 19, or just to policy 23.

When you then come to question 7 you could answer on your form for policy 19, ‘Remove policy 19 from the Local Plan (see above in 6a)’, and similarly on your form for policy 23, ‘Remove policy 23 from the Local Plan (see above in 6a)’. The ‘see above in 6a’ in brackets would refer in both instances back to the reasons you gave there in the large text box as to why you do not consider that part of the Local Plan to be sound.

Biddenham is recognised as having special characteristics which set it apart from the adjoining urban development and which should be maintained. Please help save the currently protected and valuable green space, the gap, that provides visual separation between Biddenham, on the edge of the urban area, and Bromham.

Each separate objection counts, and everyone over 18 years of age can comment even if they live outside the area. Please don’t make a collective response from your household, do one each. Ask friends and family to object, their objections will count equally. Please share this information with them. We really do need a lot, we mean, a lot, of objections if we are to make an impact.

Thank you.

 

Appreciation to Flickr for the photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

appearing

 

Posted in Heritage, The Friends | Tagged , , ,

BIDDENHAM (AND ITS POND) 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 Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond has previously expressed its concern 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. And it has been made crystal clear to Lioncourt that the Parish Council, the Biddenham Society, and the Friends are united in being firmly opposed to any development on this site.

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 of course we remain concerned about its impact on our historic village pond, not least as we said above its impact on the water table and the availability and ability of water to reach the pond from this adjacent land.

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)!

Posted in Heritage, The Friends | Tagged , ,

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.

In May last year, The Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond responded during the public consultation period for what was the then draft of the Bedford Local Plan 2035 in a letter to the Borough Council. In brief, we said that the development of land off Gold 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 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.

 

Posted in The Friends, Update | Tagged

A threat to Biddenham’s heritage, continued …

It is possible to lodge your objection to the demolition of Biddenham House and see others’ comments by using the link below and making your objection under ‘Comments’. If you are not already registered with the Borough Council website, you will need to do so but that is a simple process:

www.publicaccess.bedford.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OYQMXCCU03600

Posted in Heritage | Tagged

A threat to Biddenham’s heritage …

Yet another threat has emerged to the village’s heritage, character and natural environment, of which our historic pond is a significant feature: read on for more and what action can be taken, but time is short to act …

The Borough Council acknowledges that Biddenham’s historic core gives the village a distinctive feel that is different to nearby parts of the urban area, and following the most recent independent review of the Biddenham Conservation Area the village pond and Coffin Path were in 2016 included in an extended Conservation Area.

Within that Conservation Area, the entrance to the path from Gold Lane, the Coffin Path, to the village pond and beyond to the village Church is at one of the two focal points in the village, the conjunction of Gold Lane and Main Road (see Fig 1 below from the review report: Biddenham House and grounds to the left), and adjacent to buildings identified in the review of the Area as being of positive merit and to listed buildings (see the plan below from the review report: Biddenham House top left).

 

Directly opposite the entrance to the Coffin Path from Gold Lane is one of those buildings of positive merit, Biddenham House, set in its lovely grounds. Sadly, Biddenham House is now the subject of a planning application to demolish it and build in its place eight new houses.

Built in 1766 and traditionally believed to once have been the hunting lodge of a Duke of Marlborough, Biddenham House is included in the Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record and described in the Community Archive as an impressive building the grounds of which run down to The Green. It is the only surviving example of an 18th century double pile country house in the village, featuring local coursed limestone and two gables with gable end stacks (see Fig 25 below from the review report).

In the grounds is a magnificent hornbeam regarded as one of the finest in Bedfordshire. Any development in the grounds could damage the roots and therefore threaten the tree itself and the ecosystem it supports.

Time is very short to object to the application, the closing date is Thursday, 11 January. The Parish Council and the Biddenham Society are both objecting to the application and are encouraging individual villagers also to send in objections to this application and the damage that would be done to a substantial and important feature of the Conservation Area and of the character of our historic village of which we are so proud.

The application documents are available to view on the Borough Council’s website, and objections can be sent by email to planning@bedford.gov.uk or delivered by hand or posted to Borough Hall. But time to act is short, objections must be received by the Borough Council no later than 11 January.

Posted in Heritage, Photos | Tagged

Construction men

On yesterday’s cold, frosty but bright Saturday morning our four hardy volunteers gathered together and put in place the new planks and base for the western jetty. Thank goodness we weren’t planning to do the work today! Snow, snow, thick thick snow.

We encountered a few problems along the way but great teamwork overcame them and the jetty took shape. A little work remains to be done to complete the base and we’ll fine tune as things settle.

All in all a good job well done, thank you very much to our volunteers.

 

 

Posted in Events, People, Photos, The Friends | Tagged

Removal men

This morning we removed the old planks and beams from the western jetty and prepared for the new base on the bank.

On Saturday we’ll put in place the new base and the new planks and beams.

Thank you very much to our volunteers who worked hard and stayed reasonably dry until the great downpour just before their work was completed!

And a big thank you too to the Biddenham Show Committee for their generous grant towards the cost of the repairs.

Posted in Events, People, Photos, The Friends | Tagged