Welcome to the Ravensden Neighbourhood Plan website. We hope these pages will give you the information you need about the Neighbourhood Plan and help you keep up to date as it evolves.
Why a Neighbourhood Plan?
Communities throughout the country have been given the right to create their own neighbourhood plans to guide the way communities may change and be protected in the future. Ravensden Parish Council has decided to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan for the whole Parish. There is significant pressure for new housing in the Bedford area. Plans for up to 165 houses have recently been approved by Bedford Borough Council at Graze Hill in the south of the parish as an extension to the existing Woodlands Park estate in neighbouring Brickhill parish.
The Neighbourhood Plan must be based on the views of residents and other local stakeholders. When complete the Neighbourhood Plan will be used alongside Bedford Borough Council’s own Local Plan to determine planning applications, decide the locations for any new developments, and promote measures to protect and enhance key environmental and heritage features.
For more information on Neighbourhood Plans, go to the following link https://www.bedford.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning-policy-its-purpose/neighbourhood-planning/
About Ravensden Parish
Ravensden is a civil parish located immediately north of the Bedford urban area adjoining Putnoe Wood, Mowsbury Park and the Woodlands Park housing development.
The Parish has distinctive rolling topography which has shaped the settlement pattern. In the south of the Parish is Cleat Hill where there are individually designed houses fronting the B660 Kimbolton Road. At the top of this hill but hidden by trees is Mowsbury Hillfort, a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stretching out to the south and east is Mowsbury Golf Course.
The Cleat Hill/Graze Hill ridge affords panoramic views southwards over Bedford and northwards towards Sunderland Hill (topped with the iconic white water tower, near which is a green waste recycling facility) and also Church End with the ancient All Saints Church standing at the top of Church Hill.
The historic centre of the village is at Church End which consists of scattered pre-1914 dwellings mostly joined together by more modern frontage development and a close of houses leading to the village primary school. A popular public house, the Horse and Jockey, is located near the Church. The village hall sits at the bottom of Church Hill.
Ravensden Crossroads, where the B660 Bedford Road is met by Oldways Road and Butler Street/Thurleigh Road, is another focus for mainly frontage residential development. The village shop, garage and other commercial premises are located here. There is a small community of park homes at Wayside Farm Park, east of Bedford Road.
There are scattered farms and cottages along Graze Hill and at Wood End, with rolling agricultural land and blocks of woodland to the west of Sunderland Hill.
There are about 350 households in the Parish.
Who is on the Steering Group?
Steve Arnold – Local resident – Chair
Jane Ferguson – Parish Councillor – Secretary
Sue Jacobs – Parish Councillor – Treasurer
Alison Myers – Parish Councillor
Allan Schofield – Local resident
Colin Slade – Local resident
Dave Jacobs – Local resident
John Mabberley – Local resident
Alan Carvell – Local resident
Get involved in preparing the Plan for your parish
A Steering Group consisting of a number of Parish Councillors and local residents has been set up to help prepare the Neighbourhood Plan, and this meets regularly. The Plan will be developed based on responses to questionnaires received from residents, and dialogue with local businesses, landowners, and everyone who has a stake in the village. Technical reports and surveys will be commissioned. There will be meetings and drop-in sessions so everyone can have their say. The first round of consultations will be held in Spring 2020.
Grants are available to support Neighbourhood Plans and the Parish Council is applying for these.
What happens next?
Because of the Covid-19 emergency, the Neighbourhood Plan timetable has become very uncertain. But much has been achieved already and we can do a lot more through remote working.
In February/March 2020, we held two drop-in sessions which were very well attended. A residents survey also went out to all households in the parish. This survey is now closed. We had a 35% response rate which is exceptional. We will shortly publish all the results. A business survey has also gone out.
We have also written to all stakeholders to seek their views, including statutory and infrastructure bodies, local organisations and interest groups, landowners, local representatives and adjacent parish councils.
We recently commissioned a Green Infrastructure Survey and the desk-based parts of this work are about to start.
The Steering Group continues to meet remotely.
Although there is considerable uncertainty about the way forward and there will be delay, we show our original timetable from Summer 2020 below so you can see what the next steps should be.
Our neighbourhood plan must meet certain specified ‘basic conditions’. These are to ensure the plan has regard to national policy and guidance and is in general conformity with adopted local plan policies. The Steering Group will work during the coming months to ensure these legal requirements are met whilst promoting the needs, priorities and visions identified during our consultations.
There will be opportunities for the public to comment on a draft vision for the Parish and a range of options for the future.
Based on public consultation feedback, we will aim to prepare a draft plan for public comment around the end of 2020. This is an obligatory formal step known as ‘pre-submission’ consultation (Regulation 14). Feedback at this stage will inform a final draft ready for submission to Bedford Borough Council. If all goes according to schedule, this will be achieved in early 2021.
Bedford Borough Council will carry out their own consultation on the plan and check the necessary documents have been provided. Following a period of publicity, the Borough Council will arrange an independent examination to check the plan is sound, the technical reports have been completed and legal guidelines have been met.
Subject to any changes the assessor recommends, the plan will be put to a local referendum within the Neighbourhood Plan area. A majority is required in favour of the Plan before it can come into effect. Current planning is for this to be achieved by late 2021.