Kendra and Django Turner, from Lidlington, Bedfordshire are so appalled with the plans to build 5000 new homes on their doorstep that they have released a video calling for a Sir Tom Moore Country Park of 5,000 trees instead of the proposed new villages.

Marston Valley is a proposal to build 5,000 homes in a series of new villages on land between Brogborough, Lidlington and Marston Moretaine, in Bedfordshire.

Kendra said that she is concerned about the diversity of wildlife in the area. She said:

“I want to do anything I can to protect it, especially because I feel we are losing all spaces in which wildlife can flourish.

“The best way of protecting these animals would be to set up a country park in the Vale, it would also be beneficial; physically and mentally, for the local people too.”

Django is concerned about the impact on the environment:

“Although I believe we’ve run out of time to majorly combat climate change, planting more trees and establishing more green space is a step in the right direction.

“Building 5000 houses on green space on the other hand, is detrimental to any kind of potential progress on this front.”

Django doesn’t think that the development is a done deal until the bulldozers turn up. Adding, that the video is to remind the landowners and Central Bedfordshire Council that there are alternatives elsewhere, in more convenient places.

“Albeit at a higher monetary cost, but not an environmental one.”

As well as providing “much needed new homes”, the developers, O&H Land, have said the development will bring many new facilities to Marston Vale. Perhaps other teenagers in this rural area would welcome things to do. Kendra said:

“I’m sure some maybe, but I really think we can’t overestimate just how important green spaces are to kids growing up. I think it’s vital for our health and I think the Pandemic has proved that.

“Personally, I can’t imagine growing up anywhere else, it’s shaped who I am and built my interest in biology which I hope to pursue in the future. Besides the importance of green spaces, it’s also super easy to get to facilities in Bedford by train (usually) so it’s a win-win.”

Django agreed:

“Although there are undoubtably those who would welcome and support the Vale’s transition into a town, as well as the facilities it would bring, there are fundamental reasons why people have chosen to live here rurally in the first place.

“There can be loads of great stuff to do in a country park – high ropes, camp sites, orienteering, safe cycling routes, plus water sports on the lake, all that kind of thing.

“I think as kids get older; many tend to want to move away to busier places with more to do anyway. Then some of them move back again when they have their own kids and want them to grow up in the countryside.”

O&H Land’s consultation is to hear residents’ views on the Development Brief for the new villages. On its website the company said it is specifically looking for input on how well the vision as described in its brief responds to Central Bedfordshire Council’s Policy SA2 and priorities for Marston Vale, as laid out in its Local Plan. The consultation runs until 16 March 2021.

Kendra wants people make sure that they take the opportunity to respond so they can ensure their opinions and ideas are heard. Django added:

“A lot of people won’t bother to do anything as they think that they can’t influence much, but they certainly won’t change anything if they don’t get involved.

“It’s very easy for us to just sit back and be complacent, to believe that such things are inevitable.

“I believe more focus should be on the repurposing and conversion of existing property in both rural and urban areas around the country.”

Kendra ended by saying:

“Captain Sir Tom Moore was an inspiration during the pandemic, especially around here, I felt that we could honour his family’s request for trees to be planted in his name as well as safeguard the Vale for future generations.”

Plans for the Marston Valley Development (Marston Vale New Villages) can be found here. The consultation can be completed online (registration must be completed first), or a paper copy can be ordered by calling 0800 038 9831.

Area for 5,000 new homes in Marston Valley Image: Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan