🧶 Wixams Yarnbombers 🧵

If you’ve never heard of Yarn Bombing you’re in good company, we hadn’t either. But after a suggestion and a donation from Barratt/David Wilson Homes to set up a group in Wixams we agreed it would be a great way to bring people together to do something crafty, fun and a great way to decorate our town!

In March 2022 after a request in our Facebook group we had over 20 people volunteer to join! The group met in early April and over a 6 week period they worked together to create a wonderful show for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. They created a central display with lots of bunting, paperchains, trellises with lots of flowers and creatures, and even a little Queen with her corgi sat on a throne!! 👸🐕 They also created a separate display for the outside of the Willow Grove marketing suite on Southern Cross, with grey (platinum) and purple wool. We think it adds a touch of class and is a great way to honour the Queen’s 70 years as our monarch.

The group created 384 links for the paperchains, 185 bunting flags, 137 flowers, 11 ’70’ crown rings, 5 flower rings and 21 tree swizzlers. Impressive work!!

Remembrance Project

After the huge success of the Jubilee project the group have decided to create a display for this year’s Remembrance Day. This will include lots of crocheted or knitted poppies and the group would also like to raise money for the Poppy Appeal.

If you’d like to take part in this project please use the form at the bottom of the page to find out how you can get involved.

Next Meeting Dates

The group will be running a relaxed knitting/crochet practice for anyone who would like to learn or improve their skills on Wednesday 20th July. Please use the form below to find out more and for the meeting address.

Get Involved

If you’ve never knitted or crocheted before that’s no problem, it’s easy to learn and the group has lots of people who can help you to learn at your own pace. The group is very positive and supportive of all members, and it’s a great way to meet people in the community. Any contribution is welcomed, no matter how small.

Please fill in your details below if you’d like to join the group or find out more:

    Your name:

    Your email:

    A new Facebook has been created, please feel free to join to stay up to date with the group’s activities: Wixams Yarn Bombers

    🌻 Sunflowers for Summer 🌻

    All the remaining bags of seeds have now been claimed. You can of course still get seeds from Seasons if you’d like to take part. They even have some that grow up to 4m tall!

    In the Wixams Community Group we love gardening so this year we’ve kicked off a little project where we’re giving away free giant sunflower seeds! We think it would be great if this summer we saw sunflowers growing all around our town, and fun for kids to see huge plants growing in the garden.

    Later in the year we’d love it if you could send some photos of your sunflowers to us (community@wixams.org) when they’re in bloom so we can add them to this page for all to enjoy. You can also share them with us in our Facebook group or the Wixams Photography Club.

    We’ve put together some packs of seeds which we will put through the door of anyone who wants to join in. Each pack contains:

    • Approx. 10 yellow sunflower seeds – grows up to 1.5m (5ft)
    • Approx. 10 red sunflower seeds – grows up to 1.5m (5ft)
    • Growing instructions

    When they’re gone they’re gone, but you can of course buy seeds from Seasons or other garden centres and still take part.

    Thank you Seasons

    We started this project with around 100 bags of seeds to give away, but after appearing in our newsletter email (to subscribe please fill in your email at the bottom of the page) and a post in our Facebook group all 100 bags had been claimed before the article had even appeared in the Wixams Newsletter! We clearly underestimated the demand and if we run this project again we’ll make sure to have more bags available.

    Thanks to a very kind donation from Seasons garden centre in Wixams we have been able to put together another few dozen bags of seeds to give out to the community, so get yours before they’re gone! Thank you Seasons 👏🏻

    How to get Your Seeds

    If you want to take part all you need to do is fill in your address in the form below and we’ll pop them through your letterbox when we can.

    Please note: We will delete your data as soon as your seeds are delivered.

    And they’re gone!

    Christmas Decorations Competition 2021

    This Christmas may be very different for many but the fantastic Wixams community have stood strong and don’t seem to be letting things get to them! Our judges were bowled over yet again by the beautifully decorated homes in Wixams this winter and we’re sure you’ll agree that our town looks magical under the night sky. There were 20 homes entered into our competition and, as you’ll see from the photos further down this page, there were a wide variety of great decorations and styles on display.

    Thank Yous

    The Wixams Community Group has a very small committee so we rely on volunteers to help us run our competitions, as well as donations for the prizes. We’d like to extend a massive thank you to Michelle and the Welcome Co-op team for their continued support and their kind donation of the hamper goodies, especially as they’ve been so busy recently with the refurbishment and rebranding! Thank you to Faye for putting it all together into the fantastic Christmassy double hamper. The second prize was donated by the Wixams Parish Council, we very much appreciate their support. And once again we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Asan (Tu Plus Tu Photography tuandtu.com) for his amazing photos which we know bring joy to people, especially those who can’t make their way around our town themselves.

    Finally we’d like to thank the judges who give up their time to walk around Wixams checking every single entrant: Nathan and Barbara from the Wixams Events Team, and the other judges Margaret, Diana, John, Sheila, Saqhib, Cecilia, Adriana and Richard.

    The Runners-Up

    Second place this year is this lovely home on Mink Meadow in Willow Grove. The bright colours really capture the cheerfulness of the Christmas season and the variety of decorations on display show the imagination of the owners. Their prize of a £50 John Lewis voucher has now been delivered and we hope they buy themselves something nice to enjoy Christmas even more!

    First Prize

    The winning prize for this competition was a huge two-part hamper full of goodies worth around £100. We’ve selected a ton of tasty sweet and savoury treats for the whole family to enjoy, as well as a rather large quantity of drinks for the adults 🍿🍫🍬🍪🍻🥂

    And the winner is…

    The winning home on Brooklands Avenue has been a firm favourite in previous years, but this time they reached new levels and they were awarded points by 8 of the 10 judges! We really loved that they included all the elements of a child’s Christmas, creating something special which we’re sure is very popular with the little residents of Wixams. They managed to cram a lot into a small space yet still produced a well planned and thoughtful display. We’ve delivered the winners their prize and we hope it brings them extra joy this Christmas. Congratulations!

     

    Other Entrants

    Here are some photos of the other great entrants to this year’s competition for your viewing pleasure. There are so many lovely decorations all across Wixams this year, not just of those who entered the competition, so we hope you’ll get a chance to have a walk around and appreciate the sparkling lights, colourful displays, cute models and window scenes 🎅🏻

     

    Halloween Decorations Competition 2021

    Yet again Wixams was absolutely thriving on Halloween, the streets were packed with families and children all dressed up for trick-or-treating and on the hunt for sweeties. The community put on an amazing display for all to enjoy too, with decorations ranging from some lovely carved pumpkins by the front door, all the way up to some impressive and creative displays of fun and spookiness!

    36 homes entered into our competition this year and our entrants were clearly very competitive which gave our judges a tough time choosing the winner. We’d like to extend our thanks to everyone who took the time to make Wixams a special place to be this Halloween.

    Thanks Yous

    We’re very lucky to be able to work with some wonderful people who come forward time and time again to help us out with our competitions. Firstly a massive thank you to Michelle and the team at Budgens for supplying all the goodies for the prize hamper. This was all put together by the fabulous Faye into a super two-part Halloween themed hamper. We had a second prize this year which was kindly donated by the Wixams Parish Council. Yet again a huge thank you goes to Asan (Tu Plus Tu Photography tuandtu.com) for his excellent photos taken of our entrants, a tough job given how spread out they were across Wixams! And finally thank you to Nathan and Barbara from the Wixams Events Team and the rest of the judges: Saqhib, Richard, Lucy, Cecilia and Sam 👏

    The Runners-Up

    In second place was this very spooky house on Silverstream which was adorned with all sorts of props, including a coffin for you to open if you dared (not pictured) and lots of worrying noises coming from inside of people trying to get out! 😮 Congratulations go to them and they have now been awarded their prize of a £50 gift card for John Lewis 🛍

    The Top Prize

    The winners this year took home a trophy celebrating their home being the ‘Spookiest House in Wixams 2021’ and of course the hampers full of booze, snacks and goodies worth £100.

    The Winners!

    There were plenty of great homes to choose from but our judges were very impressed by this home on Corncroft Leys in village 4 which they felt perfectly captured the spirit of Halloween. They noted the exceptional effort that had gone into the decorations, many of them home made, as well as how engaged visitors were with the display and characters. One judge said they felt like they were walking into a movie about Halloween! We’ve now dropped off their prize and we hope they’ve already got stuck into the lovely treats. Well done and congratulations 🍻

    Other Entrants

    Commiserations to our other contenders this year, there really were some amazing displays out there which wowed the judges and trick-or-treaters alike! Here are some great photos from some of the other entrants.

     

    Christmas Decorations Competition 2020

    Despite such a turbulent year the Wixams community has excelled itself once again and together have created a magical place filled with lights, colours and decorations for everyone to enjoy. We’ve seen lots of families taking walks around our town enjoying the displays and getting into the festive mood. Thank you to everyone who decorated their homes and helped to make Wixams a special place to live.

    Thank yous

    We’d like to express our gratitude to a lot of people for their help in bringing this competition to the Wixams community. Firstly thank you to Michelle and the Budgens team for supplying all the items for the prize, and to Amanda for putting it all together into two huge Christmas themed hampers. Yet again a massive thank you goes to Asan (Tu Plus Tu Photography tuandtu.com) for his amazing photos from all across Wixams, he gave up a lot of his time capturing photos for the competition but also to share with the community. Thanks also to Jeremie for the fab photos he shared in the Wixams Christmas Lights Facebook group. And finally thank you to our judges, Nathan & Barbara from the Wixams Events Team, Margaret, Saqhib, Paula, Cecilia and Richard.

    The Prize

    This year’s winners were awarded a two-part hamper filled with drinks (mostly booze!), chocolates, biscuits, crisps, snacks and more 🍾

    The Winners

    With so many beautifully decorated houses on display our judges had a lot of choice and variety this year, but there was one that stood out and was the clear winner. This home has been very popular with the little ones who could be regularly seen looking through the fence at the amazing display. They managed to fit a lot of detail into their garden including an ice-rink for the dolls, a gingerbread house, lights, glass balloons and more! The winners have now received their prize and we hope it helps to make their Christmas even more special.

    Christmas in Wixams

    Here is just a selection of some of the other wonderful displays in Wixams this year, including some of our other finalists. You can find lots more photos taken by Asan on his website, and by other members of the community in the Wixams Christmas Lights Facebook group.

    Halloween Decorations Competition 2020

    The Wixams community excelled itself again for Halloween in 2020 and put on a fantastic display for all to enjoy. The Trick-or-Treaters were out in smaller groups than normal and residents found some creative ways to share sweeties with the kids in a safe way, one home even had them hanging from a string! Thank you to everyone for bringing some fun and joy to Wixams during such a difficult time.

    Thank yous

    Yet again we’d like to send Michelle and the team at Budgens a massive thank you for supplying all the goodies for the prize hamper. Thank you to Amanda who did a great job putting it all together into a fantastic Halloween theme with lots of glittery spiders and cobwebs. A huge thank you goes to Asan (Tu Plus Tu Photography tuandtu.com) who rushed around all evening taking amazing photos of as many homes as possible before people started taking their decorations down. And finally thank you to the Wixams Events Team and the rest of the judges for helping us find all the fantastic finalists and making sure the competition went smoothly. Thank you Nathan, Cecilia, Barbara, Graeme, Saqhib, Paula and Richard 🎃

    The prize

    The winners are now the proud owners of a trophy for having the ‘Spookiest House in Wixams 2020’ as well as a bumper two part hamper full of goodies worth £100.

    The winners!

    This year the judges had plenty of great homes to choose from but the clear winners this year were this fabulous home on Green Lane. They really went the extra mile to celebrate Halloween and the whole family were even dressed up as The Addams Family! Well done to them and we hope they enjoy their prize 🍾

    Other contenders

    The judges has a lot of homes to choose from this year so we wanted to share some photos of some of the other finalists. Thank you all for your wonderful displays.

    Traffic Troubles Featured Image

    Traffic Troubles

    Since the B&M distribution centre opened at the end of 2019 Wixams has seen a sharp increase in traffic crossing over The Causeway which has caused significant disruption to residents who live nearby. The increase in vehicles mainly includes HGVs servicing B&M and other industrial units but also hundreds of cars entering and exiting Wixams on a daily basis during the B&M shift changes at 6am, 2pm and 10pm. Residents have reported to us and to Bedford Borough Council they’re being disturbed and even woken up in the night due to brake squealing, unsecured loads and loud engine and/or exhaust noise.

    Concerns have also been raised about the impacts this traffic will have elsewhere in Wixams. The HGVs often take a little while to access the A6 when it’s busy and this has at times led to a queue reaching all the way to Bedford Road near to the top of Brooklands Avenue as shown in the photo above. If this continues to get worse it’s very likely that drivers will start to find other routes out of Wixams which would mean Brooklands Avenue, Bedford Road, Green Lane and Southern Cross become favoured routes to the A6. This could result in even longer waiting times for traffic trying to access the A6!

    One resident took a lot of their time to monitor the current traffic levels and found that there was an average of 56 HGVs per hour between 5am and 10pm, with peaks of up to 78 per hour. The busiest times were found to be in the morning during rush hour and mid to late afternoon. This might not sound like a lot but the noise from all these lorries and cars has already led to some residents putting their homes on the market because the noise has already become unbearable.

    On this page:

    1. Pollution & Air Quality
    2. Road Surface Damage
    3. Safety at Fisherswood Road Crossing
    4. It’s Going to Get Much Worse
    5. Voices from the Community
    6. Link Road Proposal
    7. Green Lane Traffic Chaos
    8. HGV Parking at Wixams Retirement Village
    9. Wixams Parish Council Highways Proposal
    10. Pavement Parking Ban Consultation
    11. Borough Points of Contact

    Pollution & Air Quality

    We have heard multiple times that the air quality near to The Causeway is noticeably worse and has even led to genuine health issues for some. One resident recently shared a screenshot from their home air quality monitor which shows the air quality to be in the ‘abnormal’ to ‘very abnormal’ ranges for most of the day, only dropping to ‘normal’ between around midnight and 6am. These readings are from a domestic sensor so cannot be considered conclusive, but we have compared them to the measured traffic levels and there is a distinct correlation (view data).

    The pollution from heavy diesel vehicles such as Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, diesel particulates, tyre wear particulates and brake dust can be very damaging to your health. With so many lorries now travelling through Wixams, past residential areas and alongside busy pavements, and with the traffic levels due to increase significantly, we wrote to the Borough to request that additional air quality monitoring be installed in Wixams.

    The Mayor has confirmed that an extra Nitrogen Dioxide monitoring station has now been installed on the junction of The Causeway and Bedford Road near to the Wixams Retirement Village and the data from this will be used to determine if further monitoring equipment will be required.

    Road Surface Damage

    The increase in commercial traffic has led to major damage to the road surface on The Causeway, particularly at the junction with the A6 and the roundabout with Bedford Road. The main damage appeared in December 2019 and has been reported to the Borough multiple times yet has still not been properly resolved. A temporary repair was carried out earlier in the year but it was reported to us that the new repairs had failed within 2 days of being carried out.

    Cllr. Tim Hill (Borough Councillor for that part of Wixams) has confirmed that The Causeway along with the approaches to the two A6 roundabouts will be re-surfaced in February/March 2021.

    Safety at Fisherswood Road Crossing

    Lots of parents and WRV residents have reported concerns to us about the crossing point at the bottom of Fisherswood Road. The roundabout itself blocks the visibility of the traffic coming over The Causeway and pedestrians often have to hurry to cross over because of vehicles suddenly appearing. A resident whose property overlooks the roundabout has said they have witnessed multiple near accidents at that junction already including some involving small children. This crossing point has been built without a proper pedestrian crossing and even without signs to warn drivers of the risks, this seems like a significant oversight.

    A few residents have reported their concerns to the Borough and the Mayor has now confirmed that they’re looking into installing a pedestrian crossing at this junction.

    Update 5 March 21:

    Cllr Tim Hill has confirmed that Fisherswood Road has now been adopted by the Borough and they will look to install a crossing in due course.

    It’s Going to Get Much Worse

    The recent increase in traffic issues has been predominantly caused by the opening of the B&M unit. This facility is a major distribution centre for B&M and the only one in the south of England. B&M have plans to open another 45 stores by April 2021 and this will likely mean a further increase in traffic using this distribution centre in Wixams.

    There are other factors which will mean even more traffic will come to Wixams:

    • Over the coming months and years another twelve warehouses/units (including the G-Park development) will be built and operational in the north of Wixams. The HGVs for those units and a big proportion of the staff working there will all use The Causeway to access the A6.
    • Fisherswood Road/The Causeway is also one of only three routes onto the A6 from the west side of Wixams, including from the B530. Most of the traffic will likely use Southern Cross as this is the most direct route but some might also use Green Lane if other routes are too busy, this might exacerbate the existing parking and traffic issues there.
    • The Wixams railway station is also going to bring an increase in traffic to The Causeway and subsequently other parts of Wixams. It will be the closest station for thousands of people in Kempston, the south of Bedford as well as being much more accessible for nearby villages such as Elstow, Wilstead, Great Barford and beyond.
    • A large number of residents in Wixams have been furloughed or are working from home due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Once they return to work the traffic levels will increase.
    • The residential areas of Wixams will not be finished for a few years yet but the new residents will of course bring more cars to our roads.

    Voices from the Community

    There are currently over 150 objections to the G-Park planning application, here are just some of the comments made by members of the public about the traffic issues in Wixams:

    Due to the issues above we believe it’s absolutely essential that a link road be put in place to service the commercial areas of Wixams and take the traffic away from residential areas, this includes the Wixams Retirement Village and planned care home on Bedford Road. One solution would be for the road leading to the Tarmac facility to be opened up to traffic and linked to Fisherswood Road. A second link road should then be added to take traffic across to Watson Road meaning all commercial traffic is routed away from The Causeway and Bedford Road.

    Cllr. Graeme Coombes has proposed this idea with the Borough and the Mayor has let us know an engineer has been tasked to review the options. To try and improve the issues for local residents the Mayor has proposed some other measures:

    • Traffic calming measures for Fisherswood Road
    • Low friction tarmac on The Causeway

    Unfortunately these proposals are not going to reduce the overall traffic levels or significantly reduce the noise or air pollution from the vehicles.

    The developers for the Northern Expansion Area (where B&M has now been built) already raised concerns in 2015 about the traffic impacts on residents of using The Causeway for commercial traffic:

    "The development proposes the use of the Old A6 for HGV access to the NEA site thereby avoiding the use of The Causeway by HGV’s and reducing any potentially negative impacts on the neighbouring residential areas as a result." (15/00466/EIA V61, para 2.1.1)

    Bedford Borough Council were warned that there would be traffic impacts from the B&M development yet no mitigations were put in place and they have continued to give planning consent for further warehouses. As the traffic is already causing major disruption to residents, congestion within our village, and with plans for another 12 warehouses to be opened here (view map), we're asking the Borough to take action and put a link road in place to fix the issues which they have failed to prevent.

    Green Lane Traffic Chaos

    Green Lane Traffic ChaosAs the only road servicing two of the schools in Wixams, Green Lane has seen more than its fair share of traffic issues. The road will eventually link up to the town centre of Wixams but since it was built over 10 years ago the road has been a dead end. This has meant that parents dropping their children off have been forced to turn around and return back down Green Lane which essentially doubles the traffic flow on the road at times.

    The main traffic pinch-point is caused by the bends in the road near to Eagle Mews and Harrier Leys. The cars parked along Green Lane blocks one of the lanes between the turnings for Ladybird Way and Nightingale Court and the bends on Green Lane make it much harder for motorists to see if something is coming, often this leads to cars having to reverse back down the road as well as queues reaching all the way back to Dove Lane.

    This issue was first reported over 2 years ago but so far the problem has not been resolved and the congestion is even worse this year. In February the Wixams Parish Council put forward a proposal to put yellow lines along part of Green Lane (see further down), however some residents have questioned whether this proposal will go far enough to properly fix the issue and may just lead to the parked cars being moved elsewhere on Green Lane.

    The traffic issues on Green Lane were discussed again at the September Wixams Parish Council meeting and Cllr. Graeme Coombes agreed to contact the Borough for an update.

    Update 13 October:

    We have now met with Cllr. Graeme Coombes and raised the issues around Green Lane with him. He had recently had a meeting with the heads of the two schools on Green Lane as well as a representative from the Borough and they're working on options to resolve the traffic issues. One measure they are looking to take is to encourage the students to walk or cycle to school instead of using the car. Short and long term solutions to the traffic issues are also being looked into, the more permanent fixes are likely to take 9-12 months to be put in place. There's still no news at to when the pathway linking to Village 4 will be open.

    Update 10 December:

    The Borough have now updated us with the following information:

    We have been working with the schools to understand how children are currently travelling and where they are coming from, with the objective of changing their modes of transport where this is possible. A council Travel Plan Officer is now working with the Primary School on a programme called Modeshift Stars to that end.

    The road itself is mostly un-adopted, and the introduction of lining or signing enforceable by Traffic Regulation Orders, or engineering interventions, is not something that the council can insist upon as it is still owned by the developers. However, we are speaking to the developers to see if they are interested in introducing any of these measures so on their own account, or in offering the road for adoption more quickly than is currently proposed.

    The pathway linking Village 4 to Green Lane has now been delayed and might be in place for Spring 2021.

    Update 20 March:

    Cllr. Coombes has informed us that Green Lane has now been adopted up to the open area before the schools. Work to find a solution to the congestion is ongoing.

    L&Q estates are now bringing forward the development of the Wixams Town Park and will now have to delay opening the temporary link pathway from Village 4.

    HGV Parking at Wixams Retirement Village

    WRV Bedford Road HGV ParkingA number of residents have reported HGVs parking on Bedford Road outside the WRV which often block the road and/or dropped curbs. There are quite a few residents at the WRV who use mobility scooters or walking aids so this is a real issue for them.

    These lorries are delivering to B&M and are not allowed to go on their site if they arrive early or stay once they have completed their deliveries but have exceeded their driver’s hours, meaning they are forced to find somewhere else to park.

    We have contacted the Transport Manager at B&M to raise this issue and proposed they park away from residential areas. He was very understanding and agreed to try and resolve this but has said they’re all 3rd party suppliers so it’s very difficult because there are hundreds of them.

    The issue has also been reported to the Borough and Cllr. Tim Hill has confirmed he will look into getting double yellow lines in place to cover the dropped curb areas and parking weight restrictions for the length of the road.

    Update 10 December:

    This issue was discussed at the November Wixams Parish Council meeting. The council, Cllr Coombes and Cllr Hill have all agreed the yellow lines and weight restrictions proposal above is the best outcome for residents and will work towards putting it in place.

    Wixams Parish Council Highways Proposal

    At the February 2020 meeting the Wixams Parish Council agreed a number of proposals to improve traffic and parking issues in Wixams:

    1. No parking on verge or footway sign for parts of Brooklands Avenue, Green Lane and Bedford Road.
    2. Bollards on the corner of Kingfisher Road and Brooklands Avenue.
    3. Pathway extension on Bedford Road linking to the bus stop.
    4. A pelican crossing on Green Lane.
    5. Bus shelters on Bedford Road outside the Wixams Retirement Village
    6. Yellow lines or bay parking and traffic calming (speed hump) where the road bends on Southern Cross
    7. Yellow lines on Brooklands Avenue between Bittern Lane and Knoll Gardens.
    8. No parking on footways signs along Brooklands Avenue between Piper lane, Wren Terrace and Little Owl Lane.
    9. Yellow lines along the bend of Green Lane (opposite Eagle Mews) up to the junction with Harrier Leys.
    10. "No verge parking" and "no kerb parking" roundels on the lamp columns along Bedford Road.
    11. Yellow lines on Bedford Road outside the Wixams Retirement Village.

    The full proposal can be found here. This document has been submitted to the Borough and a public consultation will take place in due course.

    Update 10 December:

    Due to roads not being adopted in Wixams and a lack of budget at Bedford Borough Council many of the options being proposed we rejected by the Highways department with suggestions made for alternatives. Cllr Coombes and the Parish Council have started work on reviewing the options available.

    Pavement Parking Ban Consultation

    This consultation is now closed.

    The Government have an open public consultation on banning parking on pavements and verges. They are proposing three options which they would like comments on:

    • Option 1: Continue the existing system whereby local authorities can already ban pavement parking in certain areas
    • Option 2: Give local authorities extra power to enforce against ‘unnecessary obstruction of the pavement’
    • Option 3: Ban pavement parking throughout England

    Parking in Wixams is a particular problem, especially in Lakeview (Village 1) where the developers deliberately reduced the available parking spaces in order to encourage residents to walk, cycle or use public transport.

    It’s clear that pavement parking can cause an obstruction to pedestrians, however there may be alternative options to resolve this in Wixams. For example, some of the pavements along Brooklands Avenue are up to 4.5 metres wide, these could be reduced and dedicated new parking spaces be created for residents.

    If pavement parking were blanket banned it would likely lead to chaos in Wixams the very next day. We therefore recommend you respond to the public consultation before the deadline on 22nd November.

    www.gov.uk/government/consultations/managing-pavement-parking/pavement-parking-options-for-change

    Borough Points of Contact

    If traffic issues in Wixams are negatively impacting your wellbeing or you have concerns about any of the issues raised on this page, please consider contacting any of the following to express your views:

    Or write to them: Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street Bedford MK42 9AP.

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    Summer Flower Event Flyer

    Summer Flower Planting Morning

    Following on from the success of our Spring Bulb Planting morning back in November we had planned to run a second gardening event, a Summer Flowering Planting morning. It was hoped we could run the day in a similar way, however due to the Coronavirus outbreak we were unable to hold a public event so a small number of people got together to plant the flowers in July.

    In March we ordered the plants, geraniums and sweet alyssum, as plugs which were immediately re-potted into trays. In June when it was clear we were still unable to hold the event we had to ask for donations of pots so we could transfer as many of the plants as possible and they could continue to grow. Also in June a few of us met to remove a lot of heavy clay from some of the areas and to improve the soil with compost and sand.

    We’d like to thank everyone who donated pots, those who helped improve the soil or plant the flowers and to Lakeview Village Hall committee for funding this project.

    The Journey in Pictures

    G-Park Birds Eye View - Annotated

    G-Park Planning Application – UPDATE 8

    Latest Update

    Update 1 – 17 March

    The deadline for comments on the G-Park planning application has now passed. A total of 114 objections to the proposal were submitted by residents. The decision on the application will be made by the planning team at Bedford Borough Council on 17th March. We will update this page with news when we have it.

    Update 2 – 7 May

    Bedford Borough Council are still awaiting a formal view from the Highways Team so the decision cannot be made until that is complete.

    Update 3 – 17 June

    The decision on the G-Park application has not yet been made however multiple residents have notified us of a significant increase in commercial traffic on the The Causeway and the impact it is having on them. They are concerned about how much this is likely to increase over the coming months and once new developments are opened.

    Residents have mainly complained about the noise made by heavy vehicles 24 hours a day and a major increase in cars and motorbikes (especially during B&M shift changes) racing between roundabouts as they enter or exit Wixams, many with loud exhausts. As well as this being a nuisance, it’s also disrupting their sleep. There are also safety issues when crossing Fisherswood Road and multiple near accidents have been witnessed already, with so many young children crossing that road, and no dedicated crossing point or warning signs, there are grave concerns that someone will be hurt or killed. The increase in pollution has also been felt by some including one person who is suffering from serious asthma attacks already.

    One resident has recorded and collated the current levels of traffic into the document linked below. It shows a current average of 56 HGVs crossing The Causeway per hour between 5am and 10pm with peaks of nearly 80 within 1 hour. Based on the planned increase in commercial floorspace it has been estimated the commercial traffic might increase by a factor of 2.4.

    In January we suggested that an alternative route be found for commercial traffic and the Borough have now agree to look into this. However, it’s clear that there’s already a big enough issue which needs to be addressed and agreeing to the G-Park application without a Plan B in place might leave residents in an even worse situation if an alternate route cannot be found.

    Update 4 – 29 July

    The planning application has been objected to by the Borough’s Environmental Health team and the developer has been asked to mitigate for the objections. Details of the objections can be found in the following documents:

    A second consultation phase has now started with a deadline of 20th August for comments: 19/02724/MAR

    Update 5 – 18 August

    We have reviewed the latest changes to the planning application and there are minimal changes associated with the scale of the buildings and the proximity to residential areas. If you haven’t done so already you can still leave a comment about this development which focuses on the material aspects of the buildings and site. In the outline application the buildings were further away from houses which means this can still be changed to move the units further away. This document outlines the changes between the documents and shows where the units have been moved closer.

    Update 6 – 20 September

    The Borough have again rejected the G-Park planning application due to another objection from the environmental health team over the noise concerns and impacts on nearby residents. The planning team met with the applicant last week and they have indicated that they intend to revise the scheme to relocate the building to the south of the site and move the service yard to face Fisherswood Road.

    They will spend the next few weeks working up the revised scheme, including a fresh noise assessment. Amended plans will then be submitted (potentially in the middle of October) and a further round of public consultation will then be undertaken.

    Update 7 – 11 October

    The revised application documents have now been submitted and the developers have shifted unit 3 of the development to move the HGV depot onto the Fisherswood Road side.

    This has been done to address an objection from Environmental Health over noise impact concerns for residents. The developers have also added some 4 metre high fences to act as visual and acoustic barriers. With the depot now on the north side it now raises questions as to whether this will be more noisy for residents at the WRV.

    Unit 3 itself will now also be closer to Watson Road and Bedford Road than in the previous consultation and in the already approved outline application, so will be visually more impactful.

    Update 8 – 7 December

    The application for the G-Park development has now been approved:

    https://publicaccess.bedford.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=Q2B0QQCUM0200


    Original Post:

    Bedford Borough Council (BBC) planning committee have received an application for the building of 3 large warehouses on the land north of Watson Road, the road which currently serves Wilstead Industrial Park. As with all planning applications, the public has the right to voice their support or opposition to the proposals. We have created this information page so you can:

    • Understand what is being proposed.
    • Learn how you can take action if you wish to.

    G Park Birds Eye View - Annotated

    Planning Committees are legally obliged to consider views from the public in their decision making so we encourage residents to take the time to leave comments.

    What is Being Built?

    Planning application 19/02724/MAR is for:

    Approval of all reserved matters (appearance, landscaping, layout, scale and access) for three employment units (Use Class B8 with ancillary office floorspace) pursuant to Outline permission 19/01137/MAO. | Land North Of Watson Road Wilstead Bedfordshire’.

    G Park Plan Annotated

    Details of the units to be built (source: Design & Access Statement – 19 02724 MAR V60.pdf):

    • Mostly warehouse space with attached offices
    • A total of 49,803 m2 (536,079 ft2) building space
    • 10.62 hectares (26.23 acres) total site area
    • Each building is 18.15 metres tall
    • Within 90 metres of the nearest home
    • Parking for 318 cars
    • Parking for 115 HGVs
    • 24/7 operating hours
    • Access provided from the A6 via The Causeway

    Other Warehouses in Wixams

    There are already a number of warehouses either built, being built or planned for Wixams:

    • Wilstead Industrial Park contains over a dozen warehouses/units.
    • Three new 24/7 units are currently being completed in Wilstead Ind. Park totalling 15,739 m2 (169,400 ft2) with parking for 161 cars and 113 HGVs (source: Wilstead Industrical Park Brochure). These units have no currently planned occupiers. RED
    • The B&M warehouse is now operational, it totals 91,000 m2 (979,515 ft2) (source: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-43825804). PURPLE
    • A new Aldi distribution centre is to be built close to the B&M warehouse, its buildings will total 78,857 m2 (848,809 ft2) and it will have parking for 611 cars and 229 HGV loading docks (source: Planning Application 17 02657 MAR). YELLOW
    • 5 new units are to be built north of Fisherwood Road totalling 7,358 m2 (79,203 ft2) and will have parking for 109 vehicles (source: Planning Application 19 02398 MAF) ORANGE

    This gives a total of around 250,000 m2 (2.7M ft2) of warehouse/unit space.

    Wixams Northern Area Map With Units - Annotated

    Possible Concerns

    Whilst job opportunities for residents should always be welcomed, there are some potential concerns which could be raised regarding the building of these units. We have outlined a few issues below which the public might want to consider.

    Obstructed Views

    The three units are planned to be built on land which is currently open space and offers views across the Marston Vale. If built, these warehouses will be highly visible when entering Wixams via The Causeway, to residents as they move within the village along Brooklands Avenue and Bedford Road, and the biggest impact would be to those whose homes look directly onto the site. The closest unit will be within 90 metres of the closest home and will be over 18 metres tall.

    G-Park View From Brooklands AnnotatedRelated articles:

    Building Design

    The style of the proposed warehouses matches many huge warehouses around the country such as near Junction 13 of the M1 and is designed to reduce its impact from a distance. When compared to the brand new houses, the greenery on Bedford Road and the nearby lake, this type of building will dominate the landscape and significantly impact the visual appeal of this part of Wixams.

    Privacy

    The offices of Unit 3 are alongside Bedford Road, this means any home visible from the building will be overlooked by workers in those offices.

    Traffic and Road Usage

    All the units and warehouses listed above are accessed from the A6 via The Causeway. In the last few weeks there has been a significant amount of damage to this road and the main roundabout to Bedford Road possibly due to the increased HGV use since the opening of the B&M warehouse. There have also been comments made by the public regarding the noise made by HGVs accessing the industrial area at night. As more units are planned and built these issues are going to get worse.

    If you are experiencing problems with lorries or HGVs you can report this to Bedford Borough Council using the following page: www.bedford.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/roads-and-pavements/lorry-issue/

    Road Safety

    The areas around Brooklands Avenue, Fisherwood Road and Bedford Road towards Elstow are often busy with pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers. The more vehicles using these roads the less safe these areas become.

    Noise and Light Pollution

    With the existing and planned warehouses in Wixams being mainly for distribution it’s likely that we will see a huge number of HGVs travelling around the north of Wixams spewing a lot of pollution. The proximity of this site to residential areas including the Wixams Retirement Village means that pollution levels in that area will certainly be made worse, causing damage to the environment and posing a health risk to wildlife and residents.

    With 24/7 operating hours there will also be an increase in the light projected externally from the warehouses toward neighbouring homes.

    House Prices

    The Causeway is one of the main access points into Wixams and will be the route taken by many when visiting Wixams to view properties. Along with the existing warehouses such as B&M and in Wilstead Industrial Park, these three units might change the initial impressions of potential house buyers and may dissuade them from buying, negatively impacting property prices.

    Empty Warehouses

    It’s unknown at this stage whether there are already businesses lined up to fill these three new units. However, the three units currently being completed adjacent to Seasons were built without planned tenants. There are other warehouses in the Borough which are built and remain empty, such as next to the A421 towards Junction 13 and the A428 near Kempston.

    By planning in this manner the decision as to what types of businesses might invest in Wixams is being made by the landowners not by businesses themselves. There are already concerns that the Borough is being covered in warehouses as well as the areas close to Junction 13.

    Warehouse Jobs

    The typical jobs made available in warehouses are picking and packing along with administrative and other associated roles. Picking and packing jobs are normally low paid with current market rates at around £17,000 per year for full time employment. With the average house prices in Wixams being over £300,000 (source: www.zoopla.co.uk/house-prices/wixams/) it’s less likely that many of these jobs will be filled by residents. This would mean that employees will need to travel into Wixams from elsewhere and Wixams’ residents will be forced to seek employment outside, causing more congestion, noise, damage and pollution.

    Business Incubator Units

    It was originally planned that Wixams would be built with a set of 16 Business Incubator Units which are designed to help startup companies. These units typically offer a set of facilities including office space, a phone line and broadband internet connection, meeting rooms and also experts to support new business owners. These facilities are often offered for free for a period but are typical cheap to rent after the free period finishes. The units planned for Wixams were to range in size from 25-100 m2.

    To help with the meeting of a schools funding gap, the requirement to build the incubator units was removed, meaning startup businesses in Wixams are not able to take advantage of these facilities (source: Planning Application 15 03039 S106). There are no plans to offer a replacement for the incubator units which would help local businesses to get started and to help them build successful enterprises.

    How to Take Action

    This application is now closed.

    If you would like to leave comments supporting or opposing the building of these new units you are encouraged to do so using the official channels provided by Bedford Borough Council. Please ensure you include the Planning Application Reference 19/02724/MAR.

    Please read the Council’s guidance on planning application comments: www.bedford.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning-applications/comment-on-planning-applications/

    We also recommend reading the following blog to help you if you’d like to object to this proposal: Martin Goodall’s Planning Law Blog

    By email

    Send your email to planning@bedford.gov.uk

    Online

    1. Visit the planning applications search page: www.bedford.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning-applications/search-plans-page/
    2. Click the button View and comment on planning applications
    3. Enter the Application Reference: 19/02724/MAR and click the Search button
    4. You can review the associated documents under the Documents tab if required (19 02724 MAR V60.pdf is recommended)
    5. Follow the instructions under the Comments tab to create an account and leave your comment
    6. To oppose this application select Object as both the Stance and the Reason for comment.

    By Post

    Write to:

    Planning Services, Bedford Borough Council,
    4th Floor, Borough Hall,
    Cauldwell Street,
    Bedford,
    MK42 9AP

    Community Meeting

    We will be hosting a meeting to discuss this planning application and give extra guidance on how to respond to it on Wednesday 22nd January at 8pm, all are welcome to attend.

    We held a community meeting on 22nd January which was very well attended. The residents were all given an opportunity to share their concerns and to ask questions. The main points identified from this meeting:

    • Please try to respond on as many points as possible to make it more likely your comments will be factored in. You can find the BBC Material Planning Considerations document here: BBC-Material-Planning-Considerations.pdf
    • As part of the wider problems with road usage please suggest an alternative route is found for access to the industrial areas, such as via the road leading to the gravel area, as illustrated here: Wixams-Industrial-Traffic-Possible-Link-Road.png
    • Don’t forget to mention that there should be more provisions for community facilities in the S106. If you could mention skateparks for the teenagers that would be really helpful for an upcoming project we have planned.
    • If you’d like to take this matter further with one of our elected representatives their details are:
    • Cllr. Coombes would like to be CC’d into any correspondence.
    • Don’t forget to encourage friends, family and neighbours to respond by sharing, emailing, texting, tweeting or talking.

    Stay in Touch

    We would like to hear your views on this planning application and others. Please use the Contact page or join our Facebook group to get in touch with us.

    We have taken great care to ensure the contents of this page are accurate, if you find a mistake please contact us so we can rectify it.

    Wixams Christmas Competition Prize

    Christmas Decorations Competition 2019

    The 2019 Wixams Christmas Decorations Competition is now complete and we’re very pleased to announce the winning home further down the page. Every year in Wixams we see a lot of nicely decorated houses and our judges were very impressed by the fantastic array of styles on display this year.

    All the Wixams Community Group projects are led by at least one of our committee members. This project was a joint effort by Cecilia and Karin, well done to them both for their hard work in putting together an excellent competition.

    Some thank yous

    The biggest thank you (again) goes to Michelle and her team at Budgens in Wixams for donating all the goodies for our prize, we could not run the competition without their support and generosity. Thank you again to Amanda for putting together the great Christmas themed hamper for our winners. All the wonderful photos of the houses below were all taken by Asan (Tu Plus Tu Photography tuandtu.com) who gave up a lot of his time to help us, especially because of the bad weather of late. And finally we’d like to thank our judges Barbara, Saqhib, Trish, Margaret and Richard.

    The prize

    Our winners have already received their hamper containing gin, wines, beer, chocolates, a panettone, tea, coffee, snacks and more:

    Wixams Christmas Competition Prize

    The Runners-Up

    We didn’t have a prize for second place but the home of our runners-up was so beautifully decorated we wanted to share it with you. Well done for such a fantastic effort.

    Christmas Decorations Competition 2019 - Runners-Up

    The Winners

    Many congratulations go to this winning home on Brooklands Avenue. You can tell this family love Christmas and when Santa Claus is flying over Wixams, their home will be the first he sees! We are sure this house gives a lot of happiness to the kids that walk by each day. We hope their prize will help make Christmas even more special 🥂

    Christmas Decorations Competition 2019 - Winners

    Other finalists

    Here are some photos of the other great contenders in this competition. We’d like to thank everyone who took part for helping to make our village a fun and festive place this Christmas 🎅🏻