A Neighbourhood Plan for Brickhill

A group of parish councillors and residents started work on creating a Neighbourhood Plan for Brickhill in 2016. Progress has been slow, not helped by COVID, but has re-started. The draft plan is coming together and outlines policies which we believe will help Brickhill and its residents. The views of residents are critical for Neighbourhood Plans, not least because there will be a referendum which requires a majority of those voting to support the plan.

Initial views were sought in an online survey in the February 2020 ‘Brickhill News’ (the last edition before COVID) and there was also a public meeting in January 2020.

In the online survey, residents said that they liked the green open spaces, the access to the countryside, the community feel and access to the town, local shops, schools and parks.

Concerns were raised about traffic volumes and speed, anti-social behaviour and crime, air and noise pollution, overdevelopment.

The comments received have informed the policies of this plan, which are grouped under the following headings:

  • Sustainable Growth
  • Local Environment
  • Sustainable Design
  • Transport and Paths

With the plan coming together, we are asking for your views and support on the proposals. Click here to take part in an online survey. The survey will close at the end of August.

Brickhill Parish Map

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

In simple terms, a neighbourhood plan is:

  • A document that sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area – planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications
  • Written by the local community, the people who know and love the area, rather than the Local Planning Authority
  • A powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place.

Many parishes in Bedford Borough have Neighbourhood Plans. In most of these a key part has been the allocation of sites for housing and other development. In the Borough Local Plan there are no sites identified for development in Brickhill parish and none are proposed as part of this plan.

Protecting Brickhill’s green open spaces

Brickhill has a large number of green open spaces, but only Waveney Green and the North Brickhill Country Park are officially designated as Local Green Spaces. Brickhill Parish Council has previously tried to get other open spaces also designated as Local Green Spaces, but was unsuccessful. The Neighbourhood Plan is another opportunity to increase the protection for key areas. The Neighbourhood Plan working group identified three areas of special value for the Brickhill community:

  • Brickhill Drive / Foster’s Brow open space
  • Brickhill Drive / Rooksmead Pond open space
  • Falcon Avenue green corridor
Rooksmead Pond with fountain, surrounded by native trees and fauna

Rooksmead Pond

Rooksmead pond with fountain, surrounded by trees and native fauna

Why designate an area as Local Green Space?

Local Green Space (LGS) designation is a way to provide special protection against development for green areas of particular importance to local communities. Once designated, the LGS is subject to the same strong development restrictions as Green Belt, and new development here is ruled out other than in special circumstances.

Though there are no proposals to affect these three sites, given their importance to the Brickhill community the Neighbourhood Plan is the best way to protect them for the long term.

Foster's Brow & Rooksmead

Foster's Brow & Rooksmead

Green Spaces

Foster's Brow Green Space

Foster's Brow

Foster's Brow Green Space

Why these three sites?

The Neighbourhood Plan working group believes that there is strong evidence for the importance of these sites for Brickhill.

Brickhill Drive/Rooksmead Pond open space

The open aspect of the site, with mature trees and the pond with fountain is not just a beautiful site, but is popular with residents. Children often play on the open space. Residents are often found sitting on the bench overlooking the pond.

Brickhill Drive/Foster’s Brow open space

Located at the top of Brickhill Drive, the site provides a visual gap between Brickhill and adjacent development. The space is also used for recreation, including by the Brickhill scout group.

Falcon Avenue green corridor

This forms a link to Brickhill’s past. It follows the route of a former carriage driveway to Clapham House, running from Kimbolton Road to Hawk Drive. The tree-lined path between the two carriageways in Falcon Avenue serves as a wildlife corridor as well as a path for the public.

Falcon Avenue Map of Green Corridor
Falcon Avenue Green Corridor
Falcon Avenue

Green Corridor

Main themes of the Neighbourhood Plan

The Neighbourhood Plan consists of four themes:

Sustainable Growth: To ensure that any development in Brickhill is sustainable and proportionate, to help create prosperity and meet the needs of the community.

Local Environment: To protect Brickhill’s environment and green spaces to support the health and well-being of current and future generations.

Sustainable Design: To ensure that development in Brickhill is well-designed, safe and sustainable.

Transport and Paths: To support more sustainable live/work patterns and movement, including walking and cycling.

There is also a section on sustainable design.

There are no sites designated for building in Brickhill in the Local Plan 2030. Any development that happens is likely to be small-scale, such as the replacement of dwellings that has taken place in Kimbolton Road or small infill developments such as took place in the former BPHA garage blocks off Mallard Hill and Brickhill Drive. The policies relating to development are there to cover these eventualities.

The draft Neighbourhood Plan contains the following policies:

Policy BR-SG1 Local Employment: supporting office and other workspace (Use Class E) on brownfield sites and the retention of existing employment sites for employment use.

Policy BR-SG2 Local Facilities: supporting new community facilities near the Brickhill Drive and Avon Drive neighbourhood centres and the expansion of existing community facilities.

Policy BR-SG3 Housing Mix and Standards: supporting infill development within existing built frontages. Opposing the loss of single storey housing and other housing suitable for the elderly.

Policy BR-LE1 Green Environment: development should not harm the ecology or trees and should achieve biodiversity gains. Seek opportunities to enhance recreational value of green open spaces.

Policy BR-LE2 Local Green Space: designate three areas as Local Green Space: Falcon Avenue, Brickhill Drive/Foster’s Brow, Brickhill Drive/Rooksmead pond.

Policy BR-LE3 Local Heritage: Avoid harm to the historic lane in Falcon Avenue, which led to Clapham Park. Development should have no adverse impact on five non-designated heritage assets.

Policy BR-SD1 Place and Context: Development should complement the local context and create safe environments through provision of active frontages to overload roads and spaces. Landscape design should be integral to any development.

Policy BR-SD2 Green Design: Balance carbon and other environmental impacts by incorporating positive green features in design and landscaping, taking into account the Plan’s Green Guidance Note.

Policy BR-TM1 Sustainable Transport: Enhancing pedestrian connectivity, sustainable forms of transport and the inclusion of electric charging points.

Policy BR-TM2 Footpaths and Cycleways: No significant adverse impact on footways and cycleways. Enhancing footpaths and cycleways where opportunities allow.

See draft Neighbourhood Plan for full descriptions of the policies

Once you have read the draft Neighbourhood Plan please fill in the Brickhill Neighbourhood Plan Survey by clicking here.