Latest news – Application for up to 250 dwellings West of Gold Lane, Biddenham – 18/00140/MAO Major Outline Application

At the Bedford Borough Council  meeting held on 29 October 2018 the Planning Committee resolved to Refuse Permission in respect of the above proposal. The Committee took into consideration your representations when reaching its decision. For a full explanation of the reasoning behind the decision and how your comments were taken into account (assuming these concerned planning merits) you are advised to read the Officers report in full which includes any resulting conditions that may have been imposed. Click here for further details

The Loop archive online

Starting with the February 2018 edition, copies of The Loop are to be posted on the Biddenham Parish Council website three months after their publication date. For example, the September edition will be posted at the beginning of December.

So, if you want to look back at events in the parish over the last year and have mislaid your copy of The Loop, you can now access the February to July/August 2018 editions by clicking this link .

Should you wish to look further back, there are bound copies of the parish magazine since 1966 which are held by the editor.  Email. or call 349849 if you would like to see them.  Alternatively, copies of the magazines are also held in Bedfordshire Archives.

Halloween in Biddenham

For many, especially those taking part, it’s a great, fun activity, but for others, who may not welcome numerous callers to their door, it can be a very unnerving and stressful time.

If you are planning to go trick or treating, please follow these simple guidelines.

  • Adults should ALWAYS accompany young children – NEVER let youngsters go trick or treating on their own !
  • Only go to houses where there are Halloween items on display such as pumpkins.
  • NEVER accept an invitation to go inside a strangers home
  • Always keep to well lit areas; wear bright clothing, carry a torch and remember road safety
  • Unless pre-arranged, DO NOT visit elderly members of your community
  • Be careful not to frighten vulnerable people
  • Keep any tricks within the law.

If you would rather your home was not visited, please download print and display the poster by clicking this link


Biddenham Women’s Group – History of Hallmarkings

The talk took place  on 9 th October 2018 at the Barn. Andrew Waite, the proprietor of Festoon UK, spoke to our group about the properties of amber two or three years ago and returned in October to talk about hall marking.

Over 700 years ago, as an old form of consumer protection, jewellers and precious metal workers marked their work with personal stamps but in 1773 King Edward 1 st introduced the first essay office. There are now four in Britain but several others around the world.

Birmingham, has an assay office mark of an anchor, Sheffield uses a rose, London a lion or leopard’s head and Edinburgh a castle.

Along with the maker’s mark, the assay mark, date mark and sponsor’s mark may be a number signifying the parts per thousand of silver, gold or platinum.

Sterling silver has to contain 92.5% precious metal and includes a hard metal, such as nickel, to make it more durable. Britannic silver contains 958 parts to 1,000. Gold is measured in karats as follows;

375 = 9 karat
585 = 14
750 = 18
916 = 22
99 = 24

Platinum has to contain 850 – 999 (parts out of a thousand).

Testing is done in a variety of ways. It may be done simply by using nitric acid or by using an XRF machine, which can measure the percentage of precious metal. Plasma optical machines are used for testing platinum.

Gold and silver are not magnetic so you can always try a simple test yourselves! Beware though for ‘all that glisters is not gold’. (1596 edition of The Merchant of Venice). Jewellers can of course send your items of to an assay office for verification. Since the Hallmarking Act of 2007 it is illegal to sell items as gold, silver or platinum unless they bear a hallmark.

We also learned about plating and gilding and, to whet our appetites for the next talk in the series, something about gemstones, which Andrew sources from places such as Australia, Brazil and Mexico. His jewellery was on sale at the end of the talk. For more information go to and Andrew’s website

On 13th November, at 2 o’clock in the Church Barn, Kevin Varty will be telling stories about Joyce Grenfell in his talk entitled ‘Dancing Bust to Bust’. Our meetings are open to all. Come and join us!

Biddenham Crime Statistics -September 2018

For the month of September 2018, please find below a link containing crime stats from Bedfordshire Police.  As usual they have been sanitised so that people or houses cannot be identified.

The database does not record ASB’s (Anti – Social Behaviour)

Crime related to Biddenham and Great Denham have been filtered:-

Crime Stats Sanitised August 29th to Sep 30th

Thank you

Dave Girling

On behalf of Bedfordshire Police

Bromham Road Resurfacing Works

Bromham Road is set to be resurfaced over the course of 6 weeks, starting on 1st October and finishing by 9th November.

The resurfacing works will cover Bromham Road from Dame Alice Street to just past Dynevor Road. There will also be some drainage repair and kerbing replacement carried out during the course of these works, as well as preparatory works for future traffic signal upgrades at the Union Street and Greyfriars junctions.

As many local residents and businesses know, Bromham Road is a major traffic route for Bedford. As such, the Council has planned these vital resurfacing and repair works to minimise disruption to road users, and people in the area.

The works will be carried out overnight from 8pm-6am, with the road re-opened during the day to minimise traffic disruptions. The works will also be carried out in three phases which will limit the amount of Bromham Road that will be closed at any one time and allow for suitable traffic diversions.

Phase One runs from Shakespeare Road to Conduit Road, Phase Two from Conduit Road to just past Greyfriars and Phase Three from that junction to Dame Alice Street.

Cllr Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport said “We apologise for any inconvenience this road closure will cause; these are crucial works for this major road in and out of Bedford.  Local residents and businesses will receive letters alerting them to the works, and on-site notice boards and signage placed on major junctions in the town will give advance notice of this closure.”


Biddenham Woman’s Group – The History of Telephone Kiosks

The Group met on the 11th September 2018 to discuss the telephone Kiosk.  The most iconic  kiosk is the red K6, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V in 1935 and every village that had a post office had one. That amounted to 8,000.

Our speaker for the month of September, Helen Crabtree, taught in Walsall and when she and a fellow colleague were driving in the countryside and they passed an unusual post box her friend asked her to stop. They were doing a project and she had to have a photograph of the said post box. This made Helen look at all the post boxes she passed and it soon became a hobby and then an obsession. She was soon invited to speak to various groups and amassed a large collection of artefacts and among the red ‘boxes’ there was a different type of box – a red telephone kiosk – and
there began another tale.

We learned something about the history of telephone kiosks from K1 to K8, the invention of mobile phones and the possible demise of phone boxes. (K9 appears in DR Who!)

With Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1876 came exchanges, ‘offices’, licences for companies and in 1884 the Telephone Service and a variety of telephone boxes. Helen showed us many examples of different structures, made of wood and metal, and the different colours they were painted. Some became quite elaborate and luxurious with electric light, chairs, clocks, note- pads, pencils etc and were too attractive to itinerants or vandals. One design was needed for the whole country. There was a delay, due to World War 1, but in 1921 Summerville and Co. produced K1, a red and white structure, some of which were thatched. Two of these still exist; one on the Isle
of Wight and one in Dorset.

In 1923 a competition was organised to do K2 and was won by Giles Gilbert Scott, who came from a family of designers. These phone boxes were made of cast iron with a teak door and concrete or wooden bases and cost £40. They had to be painted bright red. Scott much preferred silver! Any of these that remain are listed buildings. There are two outside Burlington House.

K3 appeared in 1929. There were 12,000 made at accost of £11 each. Four survive and you will find one near the Parrot House in London Zoo. ‘Hello, hello!’ can often be heard in the vicinity. K4, the Vermillion Giant, contained a post box and stamp machine on the side. Fifty of these were made and cost just over £50. K5, made of steel and plywood, could be purchased for special events. The voice of Ethel Cain became well known in 1936 as the Speaking Clock and could be obtained by ringing 846 TIM – precisely!

The GPO wanted a new design, which saw the prototype form of K7 only. The jump to modernisation came in 1959 when Neville Conder was commissioned to design a new box, K8, which was mostly glass and at £100 each cost a lot to replace if vandalised. British Telecom announced that they would begin scrapping the red phone boxes in 1985 and it was then that a conservation group was set up to record and rescue as many as they could.

Helen had many pictures of these different kiosks to show us and artefacts from ear-rings to money boxes, models, table cloths and bags and if you want to ‘bag a place’ at one of our meetings, you will be most welcome. If the subject interests you, do come along. For four pounds you can listen to our speakers, meet other people, have some refreshments and the chance to win a raffle.

The name of the group will change in the New Year and will become THE BARN GROUP, which we feel is more inclusive.

Bedford Borough Council – Draft Local Plan 2030

On Thursday Bedford Borough Council published their updated Draft Local Plan, which takes planning policy to2030. It is not surprisingly a lengthy tome, and short on  humour  Draft Local Plan 2030

Despite the objections of many people earlier this year the two policies that may impact Biddenham are still there; Policy 19 on page 53, and Policy 23 on page 57. This is not great news, but don’t be downhearted. Any objections that have been made will go forward to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration alongside the Borough Draft. The upside is the Borough have changed their views on flood risks: They are now being a lot more cautious, and in the fullness of time this might scupper would be developers’ plans to concrete over too much of Biddenham!

Jon Gambold