Tim Hill

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Elstow, Stewartby and Kempston Hardwick. Learn more

My formal objection to the Stewartby Brickworks applications

by timhill on 1 August, 2008

Proposed housing style – The proposed housing styles are totally out of character with the houses in the Stewartby “Model Village”. Stewartby houses need to keep their distinct character to help Stewartby maintain its distinct identity. New development should respond to its context and create or reinforce local distinctiveness. This application does none of those.

Number of houses – The application proposes 1,200 additional homes in Stewartby. This is on top of the over 600 already approved in Outline pending a Section 106 agreement for the “New Stewartby” development and the potential 15,000 in the Eco Town application. This application on its own would treble the size of the existing village. Stewartby “Model Village” has a long history with a distinct identity that should be retained as much as is possible.


English Heritage listing – The four chimneys and the 10 kilns were listed as sites of heritage importance by English Heritage in Feb 08. The applications seek to ignore the listings by demolishing all the chimneys and kilns. They are representative of a history of brick-making in the Marston Vale and at least one chimney and other related properties should be preserved to recognise that history.The site is large enough not to be commercially prejudiced by the retention of a kiln and chimney.

Railway line – The provision within the application for safe crossings for the potentially busy railway line is minimal at best. The principle of residential use extending across the railway line is highly questionable.


Road infrastructure – The access may well be from Green Lane and/or Broadmead Road. Both these roads are typical of the area in that they are only just wide enough in a majority of their lengths for 2 vehicles to pass each other. They are also poorly maintained. It is difficult to imagine either or both coping with the projected tripling of traffic along them. 


Alleged Chimney movements and deteriation – There are many local residents in Wootton, Stewartby and Kempston who have past employment connections with the Stewartby brickworks. I have anecdotal evidence from these residents that the chimney with “Stewartby” written on it was the chimney used for the boiler until about 20 years ago. It has never had a brick fire up it. There is no apparent movement from that chimney despite it not being used fore 20 years. The need to demolish the chimneys even on health and safety grounds is therefore not proven.


Change of use of land from employment to residential – The applications do not give sufficient reasons to approve the change of use of land from employment to residential. The justification for the amount of retained employment land has not been made.It is also difficult to believe in today’s housebuilding recession that approx 300 houses next to a landfill site would sell.


Gypsy and traveller site provision – The original proposals in Oct 07 certainly contained suggestions for a 15 pitch traveller site. There is anecdotal evidence that this suggestion did not form any part of the limited consultation done with local residents some time ago. Stewartby already has a clean and well maintained gypsy site for approx 15 permanent pitches. An additional site within the village of Stewartby therefore would be out of proportion to the pitch requirements of the immediate locality.

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