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Wixam Park is allocated for mixed use development under policy MA3 of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Site Allocations DPD (April 2011). The site sits to the south of the Wixams settlement, providing a logical extension to what has become a great place to live, and the site will also increase the connectivity of residents to the future Country Park.
O&H’s vision is for a sustainable community, that provides a natural and logical extension to the Wixams settlement. Wixam Park will be a well-designed, community led development that will meet the needs of local people.
The Wixam Park development will provide much-needed homes for local people, alongside elderly care accommodation and new schools. The development will also provide exceptional open spaces and community facilities, as well as new employment opportunities.
The Wixam Park development is intended to be a natural extension of the Wixams settlement, and the core design principles at the heart of the Wixams development will guide the delivery of Wixam Park. However, Wixam Park is intended to be of a slightly lower density, creating its own character as it transitions towards Thickthorn Park.
The Central Bedfordshire Local Plan is currently being prepared and sets out the need to deliver around 20,000 new homes over the next 20 years to meet local demand. The Wixam Park development provides one of the most sustainable sites for housing delivery in the area, due to its sustainable location adjacent to the Wixams settlement.
The original number of dwellings proposed was 1,000+, however a further 9 acres of land connected to the existing site have been acquired as a result of the landowner selling the site, creating a natural development boundary in line with Wixams. This additional land has the potential to deliver efficiencies across the scheme to enable O&H to accommodate a further 200 homes with associated amenities and will help us maximise the delivery of facilities such as a new secondary school.
The development will be a mixed-use scheme predominantly delivering family homes but with opportunities for some apartments as well as elderly care accommodation.
Up to 30% of the homes will be affordable and will be spread across the site.
Affordable housing is housing that is available at a below market rent (social rent), or available to part purchase and part rent (shared ownership). Affordable housing is available to people who cannot afford to rent or buy housing supplied by the private sector. Often, you will need to demonstrate a local connection before you are eligible for this type of property, so you will need to have lived in Central Bedfordshire for approximately 5 years to be eligible.
Central Bedfordshire Council have what is called ‘nomination’ rights and will place people on the housing list in suitable affordable homes.
It is envisaged that the largest buildings will be the primary and secondary schools in order to accommodate the required sports halls and other facilities associated with educational uses. The mixed-use local centre and care home are envisaged to be up to three storeys with residential development predominantly two storey, with some two-and-a-half and three-storey in key locations at gateways, framing the open space.
Wixams incorporates a significant open space corridor adjoining the boundary of Wixam Park which is known as the ‘Southern Green Link.’ Wixam Park will further strengthen this green corridor through the retention of existing trees and hedgerows wherever possible in addition to further open space.
The development proposals are still being refined and as such, the number of car parking spaces provided by the development will depend on the total number and type of houses proposed on site. The parking spaces for each land-use will be provided in line with Central Bedfordshire Council’s minimum policy requirements, ensuring that there is sufficient car parking provided for residents and visitors to the site.
The development will be served from the B530 Ampthill Road, with a new roundabout junction provided to the south of the existing Thickthorn Lane junction. Internally, new roads will be constructed to provide access to all parts of the site, designed to accommodate all likely vehicle types (including delivery vehicles and dustbin lorries). These new roads will be designed to incorporate wide footways and cycle tracks along key routes, and will also include sustainable drainage infrastructure which could include solutions such as raingardens and swales which will create attractive features along these routes.
The development proposals are still being refined, however; any development of this size will naturally result in more traffic accessing the highway network throughout the day. Initial predictions indicate that around 7,100 vehicle movements would be associated with the development during the daytime (07:00 hours to 19:00 hours). This takes into account all major uses on site but does not take into account the impact of increased numbers of people working from home, or measures to encourage travel by sustainable models like walking, cycling or using public transport which would reduce the total amount.
The traffic caused by the development would be distributed across the local area and its impact mitigated by a combination of measures, including a comprehensive footway/cycleway network and potential improvements to local junctions. The proposed footway/cycleway network would connect to adjacent developments and the existing highway network. These improvements will complement those already committed as part of consented developments.
As with any new residential development, homes will be accessible for all delivery requirements. All internal roads will be designed to accommodate delivery vehicles as well as dustbin lorries, with turning areas enabling these vehicles to reach all areas of the development.
Yes, the internal layout of the site would provide shared footway/cycleway links throughout, connecting to the Greenway networks provided as part of the Wixams development to the north and the consented Thickthorn Park development to the south.
The inclusion of a local centre, providing a mix of essential services, would reduce the need to travel outside of the development. The primary and secondary schools provided as part of the proposals would cater mainly for children living within the Wixam Park development and the adjacent Wixams and Thickthorn Park sites. Both schools will encourage students and staff to travel on foot or by bicycle where possible.
Whilst the development proposals are at an early stage, O&H will explore the potential to provide additional bus services or to route existing services through the site.
Yes, the cycle routes will be provided throughout the development, connecting into the routes with the adjacent Wixams Park and Thickthorn Park developments. The existing shared footway/ cycleway on the B530 Ampthill Road will be extended to link eastwards into internal connections into the site across Wixam Park will be available within the local centre and both schools.
Once built, the Wixams railway station will be located approximately 2km from the centre of the proposed development. The internal links between the Wixams development to the north and the proposed Wixams Park development have been designed to maximise the opportunities to walk and cycle to the new station, without the requirement to use the B530 Ampthill Road.
The impacts of construction on local people will be minimised through the implementation of a Construction Management Plan that will be submitted to Central Bedfordshire Council. This Plan will carefully manage the construction process, limiting the hours/ days of operation and ensuring that scheduled activities do not take place outside of these hours. It is also likely that routeing agreements will be set in place to ensure that heavy goods traffic uses specific routes to and from the site.
Wixam Park will deliver a diverse range of open space set within a Strategic Landscape Framework. New woodland, wetland and grassland habitats will interlink to complement retained features which include trees, hedgerows and ponds to deliver a broadly naturalistic landscape. More formal areas will include public spaces associated with the setting of schools, the local centre and care home with children’s play facilities located throughout the development for ease of access and to cater for a wide age range of uses. Team sport uses will be shared with the new Secondary School. Existing footpaths will be retained and supplemented by a network of informal routes within and around the development.
The Wixam Park master plan has been carefully crafted to deliver strong green infrastructure connectivity both to the south to the Countryside Park and also to the north into Wixams open space networks. Wixam Park is the final piece of the puzzle in defining the green space networks for this wider development area.
Yes, new homes will have private rear gardens designed to accord with Central Bedfordshire Council standards.
The development will include 25 hectares of open space – comprising of 9.2 hectares of woodland, 0.5 hectares of allotment space, 3.8 hectares of formal sports pitches and 12.2 hectares of informal green space. The spaces will be diverse in their design to add interest and value both to wildlife and also the new and existing residents.
Full ecological and arboricultural surveys have been undertaken and the proposals seek to retain existing trees and hedgerows wherever possible alongside important wildlife features such as the three ponds. The Strategic Landscape Framework knits new habitats and existing environments together to ensure that wildlife can move safely around and beyond the site.
The masterplan shows a site for a 2.2-hectare 2 Form Entry Primary School and a site for a small, 5 Form Entry Secondary School.
The school will be constructed and run by Central Bedfordshire Council. We anticipate that the places will be available to local children across Wixam Park and surrounding neighbourhoods, including the Wixam and Thickthorn Park.