Comments from Cardington Parish Council on Cardington and Eastcotts CGR

Cardington Parish Council
277 The Green
Cardington
MK44 3SU
Tel: 01234 838547
M.Dewar Clerk
Democratic and Registration Services
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
Bedford
MK42 9AP 26 August 2016
Cardington and Eastcotts Community Governance Review, (CGR).
Comments of Cardington Parish Council on the Future Arrangements for the Parishes.
Summary
1. The Cardington/Eastcotts Parish Boundary should be realigned so that all the developments to the north east of Shortstown that would cross the existing boundary lie within Eastcotts Parish.
2. The name of Cardington Parish should be changed to “Cardington Village” .
3. The realignment of the Parish Boundary where it is now crossed by the Bedford Southern by-pass should be considered in the CGR.
4. The electoral arrangements for Cardington Parish should not be changed.
Detail
1. Realignment of the Cardington Eastcotts Boundary.
Cardington village is recorded in the Doomsday Book and remains a well defined rural community to this day. It is the only major settlement in the Parish of Cardington along with 3 other dwellings, The Station House, Pasture Farm and Hillfoot House, formally The Gables. The 2011 Census recorded that the Parish had 126 households and in 2015 there were 269 electors registered.
The boundary dividing Eastcotts and Cardington Parishes runs in an almost straight line north west from Warden Little Wood on the Greensand Ridge, passing just to the rear of the airship sheds and crossing the disused Bedford-Hitchin railway line just before meeting with Harrowden Lane.
Two planned housing developments will extend north east from Shortstown and cross the boundary into Cardington Parish. First, the final phase of the development with outline planning permission granted under application 02/01920 and a full planning application 13/01857, currently withdrawn, would consist of 250 houses. This development is bounded by Paul Weller Avenue, Harrowden Lane, the disused railway line and the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency establishment. About 50 of the houses in this development would lie within Cardington Parish. Secondly, the developments permitted under applications 11/02685 and 11/02686 on the so-called Eastern and South Eastern Land Parcels between the rear of the airship sheds and the disused railway line would number 592 dwellings with around 350 being in Cardington Parish.
If the Parish Boundary remains as it is some 400 households and 800 electors will be added to Cardington Parish, outnumbering the existing residents by a factor of 3. The 2 new communities would be physically isolated both from each other and from the community of Cardington village, their only access routes being through Shortstown to the A600. Their social, infrastructure and governance interests would naturally lie with the remainder of their developments in Eastcotts but they would be separated from them by the current boundary and the different governance arrangements of the 2 parishes.
Without a boundary change Cardington Parish would fail every criterion of good governance that a CGR should apply. There would be neither clarity nor transparency in the 3 areas represented, with one being a historic rural village and two being physically part of a major new sub-urban development area. The allocation of Parish Councillors to represent the 3 communities would have to reflect the numbers of electors in each but this would not ensure that representation would be seen as appropriate, equitable and readily understood.
If the Parish Boundary is realigned so that all the Shortstown developments would lie within Eastcotts Parish, the future governance arrangements of both Parishes would be clear, transparent, equitable and readily understood by their electors. Cardington would remain a rural village community with a clear identity and common interests. The new developments at Shortstown would form complete well defined communities with common interests reflected in the governance of Eastcotts Parish. The result would be effective and convenient governance for both Parishes that best represents the identities and interests of their communities.
A boundary realignment needs to be definable in terms of readily identified natural and man-made landscape features. The Parish Council appends to this submission a proposed realignment of the Eastcotts/Cardington boundary, using such features, that would secure the clear identification of Shortstown developments within Eastcotts Parish while not altering the electoral and governance arrangements for Cardington.
2. The name of Cardington Parish.
Cardington Parish Council has consistently opposed the use of the name “New Cardington” to describe some of the development areas in Shortstown principally because of the confusion
caused with commercial and private vehicle drivers mistakenly ending up in Cardington village because they have been given an address including “New Cardington”. Despite being advised by Bedford Borough Council Planning officers that “New Cardington” is a sales name only and will cease to exist when the relevant new developments are fully occupied, the name is becoming increasingly established by common use. The 21st August edition of Beds on Sunday exemplifies this in the page 4 news item on Bedford Beach where a Shortstown resident is referred to as “a mother from New Cardington”.
The Parish Council feels there is no alternative now but to rename Cardington Parish as “Cardington Village” in order to re-establish the distinct geographic, social and electoral identity of the community.
3. Realignment of the Parish Boundary around the Bedford Southern By-Pass.
The Parish Council agrees that the building of the Bedford Southern By-Pass has lead to the anomaly of at least one small non-residential tract of land adjacent to Cambridge road being isolated from the rest of the Parish. The Council looks forward to consulting on proposals by Bedford Borough Council on possible realignments in this area.
4. Electoral arrangements.
The Parish Council does not see any need for changes to the electoral arrangements for the Parish. The proposal to realign the Parish Boundary under comment 1. assures that no electoral change is necessary.
M Dewar
Clerk to Cardington Parish Council
Addendum.
Definition of the proposed Eastcotts/Cardington Parish Boundary realignment.
The existing parish boundary between the point where it crosses footpath FP1 and the point where it intersects the southern boundary of the disused Bedford – Hitchin railway line to be realigned to follow the north west bank of the Bedford Group of Inland Drainage Boards’ Arterial Watercourse B59 and the south western boundary of the disused railway.