THE BEDFORD ARMS – AN UPDATE
When the Bedford Arms was sold by Charles Wells (the owning brewers) to develop Toddington Parish Council were determined to try to preserve this important community asset. So far, developers have applied for planning permission to change the Bedford Arms itself into two houses and to divide and build on the land. All applications have been successfully opposed by residents and The Parish Council and officially rejected by Central Bedfordshire Council. The Parish Council members still feel that the future of this important listed building is as a community pub/restaurant with its car park and garden complete. It is included in the Council's list of community assets for future preservation. The Bedford Arms is now for sale again! The sale is being handled by Stephen Wood & Company in Luton and their contact details are as follows:
S.R. Wood and Son Limited, Luton.
Tel: 01582 401221 Email: email@example.com Website: www.srwood.co.uk
This community asset could be considered for purchase by the community as a whole, by an independent group of individuals from the community or by an individual who wants a new business opportunity in Toddington. The property is currently being offered on the open market. For further information please contact the Parish Office who will pass on your contact details to either Councillor Joan Harradine or Councillor Richard Hagen who can offer you informal advice on its' current planning status. Attached below is the parish council's objection to the application made in October 2014.
The Parish Council had previously submitted the following objection to planning applications received by Central Beds Council re. the Bedford Arms site on 16th July 2013;
Bedford Arms, 64 High Street
Conversion and alterations of existing former public house into a 4 bedroomed dwelling including amenity and parking, demolition of lean to porch and modern outbuildings
Objection – Cllr Hagen's report accepted in Full – see attached.
Further resolved for Cllr Nicols and Cllr Hagen to meet on Friday to discuss all related applications. If further comments are required Cllr Hagen to have delegated powers to submit comments to Central Bedfordshire on Parish Councils behalf.
Bedford Arms 64 High Street
Objection – as above
Land to the rear of Former Florists, High Street
Listed building Consent : Part demolition of redundant outbuildings attached to former florist
Objection - As this land is linked to Bedford Arms Site and is believe it is essential to see application as a whole as we know there is an anticipated application pending
The following comments were resolved at Toddington Parish Council meeting on 16th July 2013
The Bedford Arms 64 High Street Toddington LU5 6BY
CB/13/02417/Full and CB/13/02150/LB
These Applications relate to the partial demolition and alteration to the Bedford Arms Listed building and conversion into one four bedroomed house.
In late 2011 the Bedford Arms was being successfully and profitably run as a Village Pub. At the same time the Localism Act was passed by parliament on 15th November 2011.
Since the passing of the Localism Act in 2011 and subsequent changes to the planning laws, redevelopment of Community Pubs in village and rural locations is forbidden unless special conditions prevail. It is clear that the sale of the Bedford Arms closure does not accord with the current laws as it was clearly viable, and could have been even better prior to the Sale of the property by Charles Wells to Kensworth Builders. We have evidence that pubs sold for housing development in Cambridge and Herefordshire have been successfully opposed and refused upon appeal and have been forced to be reopened as Public Houses.
Although not the only pub in the Village the Bedford Arms has special status because:
- It enjoys a large, family friendly garden set well back from the road, ideal for small children and Community activities.
- There is plenty of safe car parking, again set back from the road.
- The potential for limited development, possible without detriment to 1 and 2 above planning permission was granted for this on 20th November 2008 (SB/TP/08/0969) which was enthusiastically welcomed by the community as providing extra employment opportunities, overnight bed and breakfast accommodation and increased catering facilities.
The owners Charles Wells, stated that funding was in hand to develop as planned, but the plan was never implemented.
In Summary Toddington Parish Council welcomed the previous application, which was approved because:
- It retained the Bedford Arms Pub, increasing its viability,
- Widened its activities by providing overnight accommodation
- Increased directly employment into the village
- At the same time bring visitors in which would assist other traders
- Continued to provide a community facility with open space
In short, this is what the village needs at this location rather than replacing it with a large detached house.
A letter from Wendy Hardiman, Landlady at the time of the sale of the Pub to developers, is appended as evidence of their successful trading at that time.
Central Bedfordshire in their draft development strategy, state in PP35-39 policy 13 and para 6.46 stress the importance of public house to the rural economy.
Earlier this year, to avoid the new Council/business tax application to empty properties, the Bedford Arms was vandalised by having the staircase ripped out, denying access to the first floor, thus reducing the buildings viability.