Wixams could finally be set to receive development approval for their proposed train station after a prolonged 20 year wait, if certain concerns from the Department for Transport (DfT) can be addressed. This station was originally included in the provisions outlined in a planning application for Wixams new town, which was granted back in 2003 and received amendments in 2012.
The 2012 planning application for the railway station was approved but was not immediately implemented which led to it being subsequently lapsed. Network Rail were unable to achieve the station delivery, due to funding from developing partner Gallagher not being enough.
These hurdles meant that Bedford Borough Council have taken matters into their own hands, sponsoring the project and allowing a funding increase of £26m to add to the existing pot of £13.4m. The securing of this additional funding will ensure that the station, car park fit for around 350 vehicles and other infrastructure will be delivered.
The station location would be in the ‘Station Quarter,’ situated on the western boundary of the Wixams. This would allow its incorporation with the Midland Main Line that travels between Bedford and Flitwick, whilst being served by up to four Thameslink trains per hour in each direction.
Whilst the funding has been secured, the proposal is still waiting on approval from the DfT before anything is able to proceed. DfT officials met with Bedford Borough Council this past Tuesday to outline three major concerns they had with the station (amongst a number of other concerns), and made clear that the current proposal for Wixams station cannot proceed as is until this concerns are addressed.
If the approval is granted, the station would include a main building with toilet facilities, a waiting room with a coffee shop, provisions for other public transport such as buses and availability for taxis.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said:
“The residents of Wixams have been promised a railway station for a long time, and I am pleased that we have been able to step in, fill the funding gap, and help to get this station back on track.
“This is a significant investment in the Borough’s transport provision, and creates more opportunity for sustainable travel here in Bedford Borough.
“Please do take a look at the plans, come along to one of the drop ins if you can, and let us know what you think.”
The Council is undertaking this public engagement on its plans whilst they are at a formative stage and before these applications are submitted. This is a non-statutory engagement and at the proper time the plans will be subject to the usual statutory planning applications process, including consultation.
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