Bromham Mill redevelopment row moves to Borough Hall as protestors hold up signs during council meeting

Villagers hold up signs protesting against Bromham Mill redevelopment plans in the public gallery at Borough Hall in Bedford. Photo: LDRSVillagers hold up signs protesting against Bromham Mill redevelopment plans in the public gallery at Borough Hall in Bedford. Photo: LDRS
Villagers hold up signs protesting against Bromham Mill redevelopment plans in the public gallery at Borough Hall in Bedford. Photo: LDRS
Borough councillors heard that residents are “deeply concerned” over the parish council’s plans to redevelop Bromham Mill – as protestors held up banners during last night’s full council meeting.

The banners were held by villagers in the public gallery at Borough Hall as a Bromham resident spoke during the Bedford Borough Council Full Meeting on Wednesday (July 10).

Ben Lusby, who said he was speaking on behalf of “more than 500” residents, said: “Councillors, all is not well in Bromham. The approved Bromham Mill development plan goes far beyond what most residents have at any time indicated support for, or actually desire.

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“At no point have clear and detailed illustrative plans been made available for every resident to consider.

“Consequently, many residents were left largely unaware of what the plan entails.”

Mr Lusby said a village survey, which had 710 respondents, found that 92 per cent supported an “alternative, more cost effective, and less radical, heritage plan option”.

“We believe that the parish council does not have a valid public mandate for spending between £3-5 million of parish council funds without limited liability on creating what might ultimately be proved to be an over ambitious, hugely expensive, and risky business led venture,” he said.

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“I’m here to request the support and involvement of Bedford Borough Council to resolve an issue which has divided our village.

“Sadly, Bromham Parish Council has to date refused to listen or consider our concerns other than on its own terms.

“And we ask if Bedford Borough Council will support us in achieving a full and open dialogue with our parish council, with CPRE representatives, and a neutral mediator present,” he said.

Bedford mayor, Tom Wootton (Conservative), thanked Mr Lusby and other villagers who were at the meeting.

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“This is one of those really tricky questions where we as a council are in a very poor situation to answer your question, or to be of much use,” he said.

He added that the council’s chief executive, Laura Church, would respond.

She said: “I am happy to meet with you and the parish council to talk through some of these matters.”

During its meeting on July 2, the parish council said it hadn’t refused to meet a residents group, it just hasn’t had the time to respond to a request for an alternative date.

The residents group had rejected a proposed meeting on July 16 as it objected to an attendee proposed by the parish council.