Winter Wonderland planning approval is a “foregone conclusion,” says objector

Winter Wonderland 2023. Image: Justin Leahy

Given that Winter Wonderland is already being set up in Bedford Park, the granting of planning permission is a “foregone conclusion”, an objector has said.

An application for the temporary change of use of Bedford Park has been submitted to Bedford Borough Council.

The application is for a “Winter Wonderland” which will include an observation wheel, ice rink, fair rides, Christmas grotto & maze, and a food court.

This led to another objector writing this is “not a Winter Wonderland but a fun fair”.

Adding that this is “inappropriate for the site and neighbourhood”.

A further comment on the website said that there is already an “existing area within Bedford (Longhorn)” where a similar event was stated by the council “to be successful”

“Why change”, they asked, and said the area proposed for the event is a “significant part” of a premier Bedford recreational asset.

And that the event could cause “catastrophic damage” to the park’s ground which could take “months to recover” and potentially require regrassing.

Parking, noise and disruption were also mentioned by objectors to the plans.

The noise levels will be “very hard to live with” an objector wrote, adding this area is “not the town centre and yet the council is treating it as such”.

The applicants said Winter Wonderland will be open to the public from November 25, 2023 to January 3, [2024]. It will be closed on Christmas Day.

It is planned to take three weeks to set the site up prior to the public opening and two weeks to take it down at the close of the public opening times.

They said their application is for a “limited period, of a temporary nature” and the site will be “reinstated back to its current condition”.

Therefore, they added, the event “will have no lasting effect” on the parkland setting.

More information can be found on the council’s planning portal, reference 23/02354/MAF.

The overall consultation expiry date is Wednesday, 29 November 2023, four days after the event opens.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter