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.
Ravensden Parish Council has now formally submitted the draft Neighbourhood Plan to Bedford BC, following the end of the consultation earlier this year. For the latest version of the Plan, click here; and for how comments have been taken into account, click here (see Appendix B). See Programme Update page for what happens next.
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.
After the designation of the Parish as a Neighbourhood Plan area in October 2019, work started on engaging with local residents and other stakeholders. In February and March 2020, we held two drop-in sessions which were very well attended.
A residents’ survey went out to every household in the parish and an exceptional level of response was obtained. The results are available under the Documents tab on this website.
A survey for local businesses was circulated.
Contact was made with many local interest groups and organisations, service providers, statutory consultees, landowners and adjacent parish councils to seek their views.
Working with Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, a Green Infrastructure Survey and Local Greenspace Assessment was completed in mid-2021, detailing residents’ aspirations and priorities for protecting and enhancing our local environment and heritage. The document is available under the Green Infrastructure tab on this website.
A thorough assessment of potential housing sites was completed by the Steering Group in July 2021. This followed a nationally accepted appraisal process. The report is available under the Documents tab of this website.
In September/October 2021, there was a further round of public consultation on a draft vision and objectives for the Parish and into initial proposals for small scale housing sites, for Local Green Spaces, on the principle of Design Codes, on possible measures to protect/promote community/employment facilities, and on transport issues. All the ideas received significant majority support at a drop-in event and in responses to a residents’ questionnaire. We also contacted landowners for their views on the housing and Local Green Space proposals.
Consultants Aecom were retained to produce Design Codes to offer practical guidance on design and sustainability measures in new developments; and ideas to reinforce the identity of each of the localities in the parish and improve connections between them. This document was completed in November 2021 and can also be viewed on this website.
Based on the level of support given to the draft vision and objectives and the ideas for policies and proposals which could go into the Plan, we have prepared a draft Neighbourhood Plan for Ravensden parish, which is open for public comment between 19th February and 4th April 2022. This is an obligatory formal step known as ‘pre- submission’ consultation (Regulation 14). The draft Neighbourhood Plan, relevant supporting documents and a survey questionnaire are available on this website once the consultation opens. Feedback at this stage will inform a final draft for submission to Bedford Borough Council, along with all the other necessary documents. The draft plan could be submitted to the Borough Council by early summer 2022.
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 is working to ensure these legal requirements are met whilst promoting the needs, priorities and visions identified during our consultations.
Also in 2022….
Once the Plan goes to Bedford Borough Council, they will carry out their own consultations and check the necessary supporting 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 independent assessor recommends, the plan will be put to a local referendum within the Neighbourhood Plan area. A majority of those voting is required in favour of the Plan before it can come into effect. It will then form part of the development plan for this part of the Borough (along with the Borough Local Plan), against which all planning applications will have to be considered.