Kempston residents' flooding fears over church plans for hub and 79 homes

A Facebook group against the proposals has already attracted 600 members

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Residents in Kempston fear a church’s plans for 79 homes and a community hub in the town would exacerbate flooding in the area.

More people living near the proposed site Cemetery Road have got in touch – and have even joined Facebook group Protect Kempston’s Flood Plain which has attracted over 600 members.

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Two weeks ago, Bedford Today revealed how Grace Community Church (GCC) had submitted a hybrid application to Bedford Borough Council for a community hub and 79 sustainable homes. The plans have not been considered by Bedford Borough Council as yet.

Protesters at the site in KempstonProtesters at the site in Kempston
Protesters at the site in Kempston

And following on from Kempston West Labour councillor James Valentine’s fury last week, more homeowners are calling the plans unnecessary.

One resident – Rebecca Grover – said: “The new community hub is to be built on a floodplain that is extremely important to the area and surrounding area. Not only does it do its job, acting like a sponge to soak up overflow from the River Ouse to prevent further flooding to surrounding houses, it is also a place that is rich in biodiversity and home to much wildlife including bats.

“The developers have stated that no building is to be done on the actual floodplain, but the whole field is classed as a floodplain with level three, level two and level one zones, so it’s hard not to build on any part not classed as floodplain.

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"The last few months have been a devastating time for residents with flooding and the development would cause more concern in times of heavy rain.”

An artist's impression of the community hubAn artist's impression of the community hub
An artist's impression of the community hub

Another resident got in touch and added: “Kempston has suffered three separate flood events since Christmas, and any building on the floodplain would exacerbate this. Residents of Church Walk and Water Lane were trapped in their homes by flood water and some were unable to get to work. All the recent building in the area has made the flooding more severe by constraining the existing floodplain.”

Mrs Grover was also concerned about congestion from the 79 homes, “especially considering there is another development plan on Green End Road, which is extremely close to this site”.

She also feared the new community hub – which would house parents and tots playgroups, foodbanks, seniors lunches, and fitness groups if it got the thumbs up – might not be 100% inclusive.

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"Would everyone in the community be welcome due to their beliefs in regards to certain ways people live their lives?” she asked.

The plans will be considered by Kempston Town Council on Tuesday, March 12 before going to Bedford Borough Council.

We’ve approached Grace Community Church for comment.