Biggleswade residents fear new development ‘could cause gas bottles to explode’

Biggleswade residents, including families and dog walkers, gathered with Cllr Dr Hayley Whitaker on the proposed site to discuss the housing application
Biggleswade residents, including families and dog walkers, gathered with Cllr Dr Hayley Whitaker on the proposed site to discuss the housing application

Biggleswade residents are angry about a planning application they claim could have “catastrophic” consequences.

Residents of the Stratton Park Drive mobile home site fear that a new Taylor Wimpey development will be built too close to their community.

The developer says that it has taken safety concerns into account.

Mobile home resident Sue Bowen, 65, said: “Each of our homes has a gas bottle about 5ft 10ins tall and it’s like having a bomb sitting on your patio.

“We can’t park cars near them, we’re not allowed fireworks, bonfires. Are Taylor Wimpey going to give their residents these rules? And how will they stipulate to these families, no fireworks, barbecues, etc?

“Gas bottle tubes are made of rubber and we’re completely open to the elements. How far does a firework fly?”

The development for 200 homes on land off Saxon Drive has outline planning permission, and now residents are urging Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) to make safety a paramount issue when considering the reserved matter’s proposal.

Dr Hayley Whitaker, independent councillor for Biggleswade South, said: “Taylor Wimpey have not said how far away the homes are, but it looks like some are within 50 metres of the mobile homes.

“I want CBC to go back to Taylor Wimpey and ask them to show their risk assessment.

“How have Taylor Wimpey calculated that the houses are far enough away?”

Additonal concerns have been raised as Historic England feels the development could negatively impact the Stratton Park Moated Enclosure and Associated Manorial Earthworks. A Rights of Way report also has concerns about the treatment of the bridleway and Green Wheel.

Residents of the mobile homes say people from the development would be able to walk into their gardens, that bright car lights could be a nuisance and building work dust could cause breathing problems. It is also argued that the homes would cause loss of green space for wildlife and residents.

Dr Whitaker says local allotments could face reduced access.

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the concerns raised by residents and Councillor Whitaker. The storage of gas cylinders is covered by separate legislation and does not influence the planning application as such.

“However, we are looking into the safety concerns of residents. We have sought amendments to the planning application to address a number of concerns raised.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “We are confident that we have submitted a high quality application to Central Bedfordshire Council for 200 new homes off Saxon Drive.

“In our plans, which have been carefully considered and developed in consultation with the local authority and community, we have included extra space between the border of the development and the neighbouring mobile home site to ensure the safety of all existing and future
residents.”

The spokesperson said the extra space between the border of the development and the neighbouring mobile site measures between 32 metres to 38 metres and that it submitted a reserved matters planning application to the council following a public consultation.