Public Meeting Local Plan 2035

Public Meeting Local Plan 2035-May22-2017

Public Meeting Local Plan 2035-May22-2017

Consultations end June 9th!

Local residents and concerned parties packed out the village hall on Monday evening to discuss and debate Bedford Borough Council’s Local Plan 2035 in which there is a proposal to build up to 4500 new houses on the nearby Colworth Estate. Souldrop and Knotting Parish Councillor Jeremy Viewing informed the villagers of the plans which if they go ahead would eventually see two new access roads joining with the A6. One road would leave the A6 on a new roundabout by Souldrop Turn and head straight across the fields towards the railway bridge on Sharnbrook Road , from there a new road would link to the new development, passing by Roundwood. Further north along the A6 near West Wood Gate where the Three Shires Way crosses there would be another new roundabout linking to a new road that would take the course of the current Three Shires Way/Forty Foot Lane B.O.A.T.  This would cross the railway and link to the new development to the south of Great Hayes Wood. Much of the new build which is called by the Borough Council ‘Lee’s Farm’ is actually within the territory of Soudrop Parish.

Jeremy introduced Gerry Sansom from The Campaign To Protect Rural England (CPRE) Bedfordshire who spoke of legal terms that the village would have to define in order to mount an objection to these proposals. He said there were resources at the CPRE website that could be helpful in mounting a campaign of objection. He also suggested working together with other local communities. On Lee’s Farm he said that Bedfordshire CPRE had already put their thoughts together which you can read here

It was suggested that the official proposal calls the development a “village” in fact 4000 plus houses is actually to put in perspective, a town the size of Ampthill

Next Jeremy introduced Neil from the nearby Santa Pod drag racing track, whom is also affected by these plans. Baroness Barbara Young spoke on Wildlife and Woodlands issues and many others pitched in with thoughts and suggestions.

It was agreed that Jeremy could move forward with a village mandate for objections that would have to be worked out worded in correct legal terms to define and object to the actual planning proposals.

It was also emphasised and this is important, That as well as a formal Council objection that the more individuals that send in their thoughts and or objections to Bedford Borough Council Local Plan 2035 the more impact it would make. Jeremy also added that the sooner the better as the closing date for consultations is on June 9th which is only a few weeks away and probably best not to leave making your voice heard until the last minute!

Planning for the future

Bedford Borough Council Local Plan 2035 Website

It was decided that an action group should be formed and a number of enthusiastic villagers queued up to leave their contact details. Jeremy said there would be a formal Parish Council Meeting on May 30th and they would put together a worded template with key points that can legally be used to help any villagers wishing to make a protest. As soon as that is available, we will have that available on this website and perhaps in paper to the community. It was also deemed better for villagers to send in individual self worded letters rather than use the confusing and limited online form at the Local Plan website.

So please watch this space if you care about the future of the village. Reach out to inform the folk in the village and nearby neighborhoods of the proposals, that may not be online.

Below is an address for writing letters (Must be delivered before June 9th)

Local Plan 2035 consultation
Planning Policy Team
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall
Bedford
MK42 9AP
If you have any questions please contact the planning policy team at planningforthefuture@bedford.gov.uk or call 01234 718300.

Souldrop and Knotting Parish Council Website

“Continue Reading” below to access plans for the new proposals

Continue reading

School Transport Bombshell!

School-Bus Bombshell

School-Bus Bombshell

Bedford Borough Council has made a recent policy decision to vastly reduce the subsidy for the school transport for 6th form students. Following the result of the ridiculous Hobson’s choice consultation – the choice of accepting this rise or scrapping the subsidy altogether –  the Council Executive have voted to raise the school bus fee for 6th former’s from £381.90 to a staggering £890 per student per year which, almost certainly affect students from Souldrop and its surrounding area.

The reason given is the cuts in local authority funding by the current central government which means that they are required to make addition savings (C £2.1m).  Recently, the same government introduced legislation requiring all children to stay in some form of education until they are 18. 

With few apprenticeship or other options available to children in our area, and many children looking to use 6th form as a steppingstone to university, this policy is a grossly unfair as it penalises local rural families.

Martyn Wady is coordinating a campaign centered on Risely but also including all north Bedfordshire villages affected.

“With few apprenticeship or other options available to children in our area, and many children looking to use 6th form as a steppingstone to university, this policy is a grossly unfair as it penalises local rural families 

This policy puts students in rural areas at an educational disadvantaged in comparison with other children in the borough and therefore it is my intention to challenge this policy change on the grounds of discrimination. With the changes due to take effect from September, time is of the essence”

Martyn added “I am planning a campaign to have this policy overturned and we have the support of many local residents, the constituency Labour Party and the Riseley Conservative Ward Councillor”

The campaign actions will include:

  • ·  Organising an online petition
  • ·  Organising a written petition
  • ·  Target mailing the mayor
  • ·  Target mailing Alistair Burt
  • ·  Raising the issue in the press

·  Generally raising awareness to residents in catchment (Sharnbrook) locations

Martyn urges the affected people bring this up in their local council meetings which he hopes will offer to support the campaign and be able to offer local assistance and contacts that will be needed. 

 

 

More old Steamers visit the village!

Old Steamers April 2017

Old Steamers April 2017

Last Sunday April 2nd traction engines maintained and driven by Dave Venn with his Burrell general purpose engine visited the Bedford Arms once more with Robbie Foreman ,second picture down, shown leaving Souldrop on Ted Wootton’s Fowler road locomotive.

Thanks to Jeremy Viewing for sending theses pictures in!

 

Grand old steamers visit Souldrop

Old Steamers visit the Bedford Arms. Picture thanks to Jeremy Viewing

Old Steamers visit the Bedford Arms. Picture thanks to Jeremy Viewing

On Sunday September 25th Dave Venn and Robbie Foreman visited the Bedford Arms pub with Robbies 1923 Marshall S Class “Sir Philip” and Richard Pooles 1910 Allchin General purpose engine “Evedon Lad”.

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SLOW DOWN PLEASE!

Please keep your speed down

Please keep your speed down

Residents are appealing to motorists to slow down on Souldrop High Street following an incident by the green on Saturday 30th July.
“Even though the speed limit is thirty miles per hour, considering the blind bend near the green, that doesn’t give much time to stop if there are kids or pets playing, or horse riders walkers or cyclists using the high street, especially during weekends and summer holidays” one resident commented. “Perhaps it’s time for traffic calming measures, maybe a 20 mile an hour limit or speed ramps” said another resident in discussion.

 

 

“A procession of at least four trial motorbikes tore through the village at a great speed last weekend, I estimate they were doing at least 45 miles per hour, had there have been a horse rider or child in the street coming the other way, they wouldn’t have stood a chance” added the resident (who didn’t wish to be named)

Blind bend near the green

Blind bend near the green

So we at Souldrop.biz appeal to all motorist users of the roads through Souldrop to take that extra care and vigilance when driving through the village, especially throughout the summer holidays. We suggest a maximum of 20 miles an hour and please be mindful to slow down for the bends near the green. Today’s incident is a warning shot across the bow, next time god forbidding, the incident could involve a child, cyclist or horse rider.

So Motorist’s and Motorbikers, Please slow down when driving through the village!

Motorists, please slow down whilst driving through Souldrop Village

Motorists, please slow down whilst driving through Souldrop Village

 

The Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotsman in Doncaster

The Flying Scotsman in Doncaster

The Flying Scotsman will pass through Souldrop on the morning of the 4th June 2016, sometime in between 9am and 1pm. It’s journey starts at St Pancras and ends in York.

The Flying Scotsman recently finished it’s £4.2m restoration at the National Railway Museum in January. The Back Lane bridge is expected to be packed with enthusiasts and onlookers as The Flying Scotsman builds up a head of steam to power the 200 foot elevation to Sharnbrook Summit. If anyone gets any nice pictures, they will be welcome on our gallery!

Five Month Sharnbrook Road Closure!

Sharnbrook Road, Souldrop will be closed to all traffic from Thursday 20th March 2014 until Monday 11th August 2014 inclusive.

Closed for five months! Looking towards the traffic lights on the railway bridge at Sharnbrook Road Souldrop.

Closed for five months! Looking towards the traffic lights on the railway bridge at Sharnbrook Road Souldrop.

Due to the demolition and reconstruction of the railway bridge on Sharnbrook Road Souldrop, there will be a 24 hour restriction to traffic on Sharnbrook Road from the junction with High Street, Souldrop to the High Street/Colworth Road, Sharnbrook.

Planning Decision Document

The reason given is that modification of the bridge is necessary for the electrification of the Midlands Mainline railway.

The bridge will be re-aligned, raised a metre above it’s current height, and strengthened. Full planning documents

Five months without easy access to Sharnbrook is something the Souldrop villagers will have to look forward to this year, as this road is closed for ‘necessary work’. Access to Sharnbrook will take the form of a two and a half mile detour via the A6 and turning at Templars Way, Sharnbrook. The bus numbers 25 and 26 will also detour the same way, perhaps making the bus journey to Bedford a few minutes longer.

Sharnbrook have raised issues that If both traffic lights and weight restrictions are removed once the work is completed then large lorries will start to use this road making passing difficult and potentially causing damage/accidents. The Bedford Borough Council have not made any promises, but have suggested making recommendations to the highway department. A local landowner has made a query about the need ‘for parapets.

This information and information about other Bedford road closures can be found on the Bedford Council Service Disruption website  here

What do you think about the road closure? Use the Comment box below, you can sign in with your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail accounts

 

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There is NO bus stop at Souldrop Turn

There is no bus stop at Souldrop Turn

There is no bus stop at Souldrop Turn. The picture above is wishful thinking for some!

Although most Souldroppers use their own transport for accessing the nearby towns such as Bedford, Rushden, Wellingborough etc, the village is not served very well by public transport which is vital for those who for one reason or another don’t drive.

Taxi’s can prove expensive for instance traveling to and from Bedford from Souldrop especially out of normal hours.

Stocking Lane bus stop

Stocking Lane bus stop

So what of the bus service’s to Souldrop?

From the Stocking lane bus stop’s adjacent to the Beacon village green, Grant Palmer offer three buses running towards Bedford via Harold Monday to Friday and two on a Saturday. There is just one return to Souldrop from Bedford (via ~Harold) (further info here)

To Rushden via Yeildon and Wymington there are two outward and two return. ( further info here)

I had a distressed phone call from a ‘stranded’ friend visiting me in Souldrop recently, asking if I would be kind enough to pick them up from Avenue road in Higham Park, Rushden. It turned out they had planned the journey based on information from the popular Routeplanner – Transportdirect website.
The bus service number 50 from Kettering to Bedford has Souldrop Turn on the busy A6 highway marked as a bus stop. Apparently the bus went sailing past Souldrop Turn without stopping, the eventual reason given to my friend by the driver was that “There is no bus stop at Souldrop Turn, it is much too dangerous for the bus driver’s to stop given the nature of the speeding traffic”

We looked on the Routeplanner website and sure enough Souldrop Turn is indeed marked as a bus stop. This left me puzzled so I took a closer look and sure enough there is no physical bus stop in the vicinity of the Souldrop Turn garage and in the area of the Stocking Lane junction. I went into the garage and asked the proprietor and he had no knowledge of there ever being a bus stop in that area of the main road. His response was that to his knowledge there was no bus stop.

Stagecoach the bus company run route 50 so I found their timetable online and checked the route, once again it clearly identified Souldrop Turn as a legitimate bus stop. Next I phoned their Bedford office up and asked the female Stagecoach assistant (Sandra) if the Souldrop Turn bus stop was still in use. After checking she initially confirmed that the bus stop was legitimate, after a little pressing for further information on to the actual whereabouts she put me on hold whilst she called through to the depot. When she came back her story had changed, the bus stop is marked as a bus stop but as the road is so busy, the drivers feel it is much too unsafe to actually stop there – in fact no bus driver can remember actually stopping there for over seven years!

Example timetable for Stagecoach route 50

Example timetable for Stagecoach route 50 showing the entry for ‘Souldrop Turn’

We have no issue with the bus drivers, in the absence of a physical safe harbour for buses to pull into, it is a decision clearly based on common sense given the busy and fast nature of this location, which is well known locally as an accident blackspot.

There are a few good reason’s why the Bus company in this case Stagecoach should officially remove their ‘tag’ for the Souldrop Turn bus stop. A bus stop at that location is not a viable solution for the service of passengers to and from the village of Souldrop, it is a kilometer away along an increasingly busy Stocking Lane with no pavement. It’s tagging on the Bus company and national timetables is misleading to travelers. The tagging as a legitimate bus stop can effect decisions based on the proximity to the village Souldrop by local and national government departments for instance Social Services, Schools etc and finally it can be used by bus companies to argue that they service our village which in this case is clearly untrue.

So I have written to the Bedford office of Stagecoach and I suggested they either kindly, Erect a safe harboured bus stop on either side of the road at the Souldrop Turn or, Take out the bus stop entry for the “SOULDROP TURN” bus stop as soon as possible from all the timetables.

And furthermore I asked for an official comment from Stagecoach as to the response for the above points.

As yet this hasn’t been forthcoming, my letter has been passed on from the Bedford office to the manager of the Kettering office who manage route 50. I am at this time still awaiting a reply. I will print their response when it arrives.

Mr S. Andrews

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