Category Archives: Biddenham village pond

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
Bedford
MK42 9AP

Thank you.

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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.