Wixam Park includes landholdings to the south of the proposed application (known as Thickthorn Park), which together have been through an extensive masterplanning process over a number of years, engaging with the community to establish the framework for future planning applications. Thickthorn Park has outline planning permission and is being delivered by different landowners.
The Master Plan enshrines a Countryside Park into the development proposals at Thickthorn Park. This will form a buffer between the Wixams new settlement and the village of Houghton Conquest, enabling those communities to be connected through outstanding natural links whilst ensuring that they retain their individual identity. The character of the park will be diverse, bringing together biodiversity and environmental enhancement along with natural play, public amenity, informal recreation and woodland.
The site for the proposed Wixam Park development was first identified as an Expansion Area in the Elstow Development Brief in 1999. This document set out plans and ambitions to eventually establish a community of around 10,000 people in order to deliver the single largest development in the County.
Wixam Park was allocated as a site under Policy MA3 of the Central Bedfordshire Site Allocations Document in 2011, confirming that the site will be bought forward for development purposes by Central Bedfordshire Council. Policy MA3 set out the clear requirement to produce a Masterplan for any future development on the site. Masterplans are a high-level document which set out the general principles and aims for the development to deliver, and identifies the constraints and opportunities to be addressed at the next stage of the development process.
In January 2013, an initial stakeholder workshop was held at the Forest Centre to help inform the creation of a Masterplan document for Wixam Park.
In July 2013, a presentation was given to the local Parish Council and the first site visit took place.
Later that year in Autumn, a consultation took place on the first draft of the Wixam Park Masterplan.
2 years later, following extensive work with stakeholders, the Wixam Park Masterplan was adopted by Central Bedfordshire Council as a technical guide. At this point, the Council agreed with the intension to deliver Wixam Park as a sustainable and integrated extension to the main settlement of Wixams.
After the Masterplan was adopted as a technical guide, a consultation on the southern portion of the wider master planned area, now known as Thickthorn Park, took place with a range of local stakeholders and the community. This exercise assisted the formation of the outline planning application for Thickthorn Park and in particular in relation to site access and movement for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians and the delivery of the Countryside Park.
Earlier this year, O&H acquired an additional 9 hectares of land to the east of the allocated site, which rounded off the boundary of the proposed development. The Council have agreed that this additional section of land is a logical extension to the original site.
Now, O&H are running a digital consultation on their initial proposals, in preparation for submitting an Outline Planning Application to Central Bedfordshire Council. Your views and opinions will shape our plans, so please do submit your feedback on the ‘Have Your Say’ page.