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. Commercial Noise Impact Assessments
  6. Voices from the Community
  7. Link Road Proposal
  8. Stay Informed
  9. Green Lane Traffic Chaos
  10. HGV Parking at Wixams Retirement Village
  11. Wixams Parish Council Highways Proposal
  12. Pavement Parking Ban Consultation
  13. 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.

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.

Commercial Noise Impact Assessments

When submitting their planning applications for commercial developments the applicants are required to submit noise impact assessments. This assessment is meant to describe, using data, how the plans would likely impact the community including the site itself and any traffic the development would bring.

We have reviewed the noise impact assessments for the commercial developments in Wixams to see how the developers expected their sites to impact residents and we found the following:

  • B&M:Our assessment has therefore indicated that the increase in noise from road traffic relating to the proposed development will be ‘barely perceptible’ to the residents in Wixams.” (17/03048/MAR V28A, pg. 12)
  • Aldi:…the nearby roads (the A421, A6 and The Causeway) have, subjectively, a relatively high level of traffic, including HGV movements, which makes impacts due to changing levels of road traffic less likely.” (17/02657/MAR V19A, para. 5.4.1)
  • Three Units at Wilstead Ind. Park:The calculations shown in Section 7 above indicate that all activities at the proposed new development will give rise to conditions that would achieve a BS 4142 condition of ‘low impact’ at the nearest existing and proposed dwellings at all times of the day and night.” (18 00956 MAF V26, section 8.3)
  • G-Park:For road traffic noise, the proposed development is expected to cause a maximum increase in average noise level of 0.4 dB LA10,18h. This increase will barely be discernible and is not expected to cause an adverse effect.” (19/01137/MAO V32A, para. 6.9)

Only the B&M unit has been opened so far yet residents have already described the impacts from the HGVs and cars crossing The Causeway as being much more significant than the impact assessment determined. With plans for a total of 13 new warehouses/units to be operational in Wixams it’s clear that Bedford Borough Council’s planning department have also not considered the cumulative impacts of the traffic all using The Causeway for access.

We have contacted the planning department to raise these issues but they have simply explained that The Causeway is “designed to carry between 13,000 – 18,000 vehicles a day” and have not replied to our point that the cumulative impacts have not been adequately considered.

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.

Continues Below


Stay Informed

We have been supporting the community by engaging directly with Bedford Borough Council to raise these issues and get them to take action.

If you would like to be included in our correspondence please enter your email address in the box below (please note this is a separate list to the one at the bottom of the page).

  • We will only enter your email into the BCC field, so no one will see your details.
  • We will not share your details with anyone else.
  • You can be removed from this list by just replying to us to let us know.
  • The full list will be deleted once these matters are resolved.

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.

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.

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. We will update this page when the consultation has been published.

Pavement Parking Ban Consultation

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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iOS Course Featured Image

iOS App Development Course

If you want to learn a new skill, take up a hobby or even change your career, then perhaps learning mobile app development will interest you. We’ll soon be running a free iOS App Development Course open to all residents in Wixams which will be held weekly in the evening in Lakeview Village Hall.

Topics

App development is a huge subject so we’ll be covering all the topics needed to get you started and the know-how to take it further if you wish.

Some of the topics we will cover:

  • Introduction to the Swift programming language
  • More programming techniques
  • Introduction to Xcode (the tool used for building iOS apps)
  • Building user interfaces
  • Downloading content from the internet and displaying it
  • Saving data
  • Using libraries to enrich your app
  • Debugging (finding & fixing bugs)
  • Introduction to Android development

Entry Requirements

To take part in this course you must be at least 16 years of age and have a Mac laptop you can bring to the course and use in your own time. Not everyone has a Mac but unfortunately this is a must for iOS development to run Xcode.

Experience in programming is not essential but will be helpful. If you have no programming experience you might be asked to do some extra learning in your own time, we can recommend some videos which will help.

How to Apply

Please email us at community@wixams.org for more information and to reserve your place.Please let us know if you have programming experience and any related qualifications.

Due to the social distancing restrictions in place in the village hall the course will be limited to 14 people so book early to avoid disappointment. Because of this limit we will also prioritise those people with programming or technical experience, please contact us and we can discuss this further.

Please note: The course will not start until the current ‘Rule of 6’ restrictions are removed.

Halloween Competition Diary Flyer

Halloween Decorations Competition 2020

Wixams has already become famous for celebrating Halloween in style so last year we held a decorations competition to award the ‘Scariest House in Wixams’ for helping to make Wixams such a fun place to be. Our winners received a massive hamper worth £100 and a trophy to proudly display for years to come.

Despite the current Coronavirus pandemic we believe celebrating Halloween and bringing some positivity to our community is crucial so we’re pleased to announce we have partnered with the Wixams Events Team and we’re going to run another decorations competition for 2020!

The Prize

We want to encourage and reward your fantastic ideas for Halloween as they make our community stand out and bring joy to everyone walking and driving by. This year we’ll be awarding the winning home with a trophy and hamper donated by Budgens in Wixams worth around £100.

How to Enter

To enter, all you have to do is decorate the front of your house. On All Hallow’s Eve, our judges will make their way through all of Wixams to see whose house stands out the most. The judges will start from around 5pm and will hopefully finish by 8:30pm, so please don’t start taking your decorations down until at least that time.

Please be aware that the judging will be carried out remotely so our judges might need to take photos of your house.

Halloween Decorations Pumpkins
Halloween Decorations Welcome
Halloween Decoration Cats
Halloween Decoration Ghost
Halloween Decoration Ghosts
Halloween Decorations Window
Halloween Decoration Door
Halloween Decorations Pumpkins Halloween Decorations Welcome Halloween Decoration Cats Halloween Decoration Ghost Halloween Decoration Ghosts Halloween Decorations Window Halloween Decoration Door

Staying Safe This Halloween

The Government have not yet issued guidance for Halloween but it’s clear that the nature of trick-or-treating means people would be putting themselves and others at an increased risk of contagion. We are asking that all residents follow Government guidance on how to stay safe this Halloween, please make sure to be mindful of others and maintain social distancing whilst making your way around Wixams. We will be adding more links to this page when guidance is published.

Please note: The competition will be cancelled if the Coronavirus outbreak continues to rise and the Government announces another lockdown.

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

Community Shopping Club Logo

Community Shopping Club

Community Shopping Club Logo
The Wixams & Wilstead Community Shopping Club has been set up to help support those in both communities who are required to self-isolate during the time of the Coronavirus outbreak. The club aims to coordinate a set of volunteers who are willing to carry out shopping or prescription collection on behalf of those in isolation.

Due to the very real risk of spreading the virus we have put together a comprehensive system which minimises human contact. It might seem excessive at first but we have considered the needs of everyone involved as best we can.

Prescription Collections

Along with shopping we will also collect prescriptions upon request. Please contact us as per the instructions below.

If your prescriptions are normally delivered from Wilstead Pharmacy you do not need to contact us, we are working closely with the pharmacy to support their normally delivery service.

Client Instructions

To request help from the Community Shopping Club, please contact us using the details at the bottom of the page, email is preferred.

When contacting us for help please ensure you include the following information:

  • Type of help required/shopping list.
  • Full name.
  • Address.
  • Phone number.
  • Email address if possible (unless sent by email).

If you can use a Click and Collect service we urge you to do so. That will make the process much easier for everyone involved.

For shopping requests please follow the guidelines below:

  • We prefer shopping lists to be sent by email, either in text format or as a photo/scan.
  • You will be asked to pay us a deposit which will be a rough estimate of the value of your order.
  • Make sure your list is legible.
  • Add quantities, weights or volumes where appropriate.
  • Please keep your list to items which can be purchased from a large supermarket.

The volunteer will contact you directly to check the details of your request and to arrange drop off. Please note that the volunteer may not be able to purchase your shopping from your preferred supermarket.

We will take payment via bank transfer, if you do not have online banking we ask that you contact someone you trust and ask if they can pay on your behalf. We will be able to take cheques if this isn’t possible.

Registering for Priority Home Deliveries or Click & Collect

In recent weeks the big supermarkets have added more priority slots for home deliveries and Click & Collect. Instructions are below to get started with registering for online shopping but if you need extra help we can assist with this, please email us at shoppingclub@wixams.org

Tesco

Dedicated shopping hours at Cardington Road in store for the elderly and vulnerable customers every Monday, Wednesday & Friday 0900-1000.

To register for on line shops do so via this link: secure.tesco.com/account/en-GB/register

Once you have registered, if you are vulnerable and have either no available help, a disability, unable to drive or are shielding then ring 0800 9177359 to register for Home Delivery priority slots.

Sainsbury’s

Dedicated shopping hours in store for the elderly and vulnerable every Monday, Wednesday & Friday 0800-0900.

To register for on line shops do so via this link: www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/LogonView/Identifier

If you are in the vulnerable category and have already received a NHS letter confirming this you can ring Sainsbury’s on 0800 028 8327 to register for priority slots. If you have yet to register you can self-register via the Government website: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable

Waitrose

Every day the first hour in store is for the elderly and vulnerable only.

To register for on line shopping for Home Delivery or Click & Collect do so via this link (minimum shop is £60 for Home Delivery and £40 for Click & Collect): www.waitrose.com/ecom/serviceselection?wrint=1-GLP-bookslot

Once you have registered, if you are vulnerable and at home shielding then please ring Customer Services on 0800 188884 to register for priority slots.

Morrisons

We haven’t been very successful in navigating Morrison’s on line grocery shopping, but they are offering home delivery of either Vegetarian or Meat food boxes for £35 each and Family Meat boxes for £45 via this link:  www.morrisons.com/food-boxes/boxes

Volunteering Instructions

If you would like to volunteer, please contact us using the details further down the page, email is preferred. We will use the steps below to register you as a volunteer:

  1. We will reply to your email and send our Volunteer Guidelines.
  2. Read the guidelines and complete the included declaration form.
  3. Contact us when you are ready.
  4. We will knock on your door to collect the form (we won’t come in), we will need to check a form of ID and we can answer any question you have at that time.

The last step is important, we will personally meet every volunteer as the protection of the clients is crucial.

Please note, for security reasons we are asking that volunteers pay for shopping themselves and they will be re-reimbursed from our own bank account once the receipt had been sent and delivery confirmed. We have recommended that Click and Collect services are used where possible which simplifies the process.

Contact Details

Please contact us by email or phone (email is preferred):

shoppingclub@wixams.org

07929 656674 Mon-Fri 9am – 6pm

Stay Informed

We will be updating this page as we get new information and using our Facebook page to share updates:

fb.me/CommunityShoppingClub

 

G-Park Birds Eye View - Annotated

G-Park Planning Application – UPDATE 7

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.

We have been supporting the community by engaging directly with Bedford Borough Council to raise these issues and get them to take action to prevent this from happening.

If you would like to be included in our correspondence please enter your email address in the box below (please note this is a separate list to the one at the bottom of the page).

  • We will only enter your email into the BCC field, so no one will see your details.
  • We will not share your details with anyone else.
  • You can be removed from this list by just replying to us to let us know.
  • The full list will be deleted once this matter is resolved.

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.

Instructions for responding to this application.

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.

Instructions for responding to this application.


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

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 🎅🏻

Spring Bulb Planting Morning – UPDATED

UPDATE – Please skip to the bottom for some recent photos of our spring flowers in bloom

With around 80 people taking part in our Spring Bulb Planting Morning, we’re very pleased to say that this project was an even bigger success than we had dared hope for. There were a wide range of ages, from toddlers right up to our lovely friends from the Wixams Retirement Village; it was wonderful to see different generations working together to make sure the bulbs were happy in their new homes. In the spring we’ll see the fruits of our work when those beautiful flowers start to bloom and add a splash of colour to Wixams.

We had some great comments from parents and the kids seemed to really enjoy the experience. Gardening is very rewarding, it can also be therapeutic for some, so we hope to have inspired a few of our residents to enjoy nature at a very young age.

There are some important Thank Yous down below but a special thank you needs to go to Karin who planned the whole thing and shared a huge amount of gardening advice, in order to give this project the best possible chance of success. Karin is a very hard working lady and she gave up a lot of her own time on this project and did the most physical work in the prep sessions.

We’re incredibly proud to say that this event was even featured in the Bedford Independent!

You can have a have a read about this project below or skip to the bottom for some wonderful photos from the event.

Preparation

There was a lot of preparatory work required to get this project off the ground. Over the last few months a few members of the Wixams Gardening Group have been meeting fortnightly to prepare the areas for planting. This started with a lot of weeding, removing of dead shrubs and we then moved a lot of the grasses from the areas next to the Village Hall to create a nice border. Finally, the day before the event we met one last time to loosen the soil and to dig out the holes for the bulbs to go in.

You can see some great before and after shots of the prep work on the Wixams Gardening Group page.

The event

We invited everyone to arrive at 10 am whereupon we gave them a little brief, some instructions and then sent them off to our 5 planting areas where they got stuck right in, rather enthusiastically in some cases! In the holes they added some compost, then the bulbs, more compost on top and finally they filled the holes back in.

There were 5 main areas in which we worked:

Spring Bulb Planting Map
Map of the 5 areas where we planted bulbs

In areas 1-3 we planted tulips and daffodils in alternating (hopefully) rows, daffodils in area 4 and crocuses in area 5.

Altogether we planted around 1000 bulbs!

Some thank yous

The event could not have gone ahead without some very busy people giving up their time to help us. As well as the thanks to Karin, huge thank you also goes to Adriana for her help on the prep sessions, ordering the bulbs and for creating the lovely fliers and content for the Wixams Newsletter. We’d like to thank everyone else who has helped preparing the ground for this event, including a special mention to Curly for his hard work and positive spirit.

Thanks go to Asan (Tu Plus Tu Photography tuandtu.com) for all the hard work taking and editing the excellent photos. Thank you Paula and Sheila for providing the much needed refreshments and biscuits for our participants on the day. We’d like to also thank our friends from the Wixams Walkers who helped us run the day and showed everyone where they needed to plant the bulbs. The Wixams Community Group would like to send a big thank you to Colin and the rest of the Lakeview Village Hall Committee for funding this project.

Finally, we’d like to thank every single person who came out to take part in this event. By working together we have achieved something wonderful which will make people smile as they walk past our flowers next year.

Free gifts for all participants

The planting didn’t stop at just the event itself, we gave out a small bag of daffodil bulbs to everyone who took part. We hope they’ll enjoy putting them into their own gardens and it will remind them of their contribution to the Wixams community.

Spring Bulb Planting Box of Gifts

There were 66 bags, each with around 20 bulbs inside…

That’s another 1300 bulbs!

Press Coverage

This project has been covered by the Bedford Independent, you can find the story here: www.bedfordindependent.co.uk/wixams-residents-spring-into-action-at-bulb-planting-event/

Photos

Here’s some of the great photos from before and during this event, and of a clever little robin looking for food after everyone had left.

Spring is Here

It’s been a very wet winter and due to the clay soil Wixams is built on we had some real concerns about whether our bulbs would survive. We’re very pleased to show some recent photos and it looks like our flowers are strong fighters!

 

Halloween Comp Winners 2

Halloween Decorations Competition 2019

The very first Halloween Decorations Competition was a resounding success, with dozens of houses around Wixams covered in a wide range of spooky props. We saw many skeletons, spiders, cobwebs, witches (including a set of legs poking out of a cauldron), ghosts, grave stones, light shows and a lot of excellently carved pumpkins. Wixams has already become famous for getting into the Halloween spirit (pun intended) so everyone should give themselves a pat on the back for helping to create a fantastic community-led event.

Some thank yous

We’d like to give a huge thank you to Michelle at Budgens in Wixams for donating the prize for this competition, she was super helpful throughout and Budgens have been very generous. Another big thank you goes to my sister Amanda who did a fantastic job of putting all the prize items into a great Halloween themed hamper. We’d also like to thank Asan (Tu Plus Tu Photography tuandtu.com) who came along with the judges and took some excellent photos for us. Finally, a big thank you goes to the judges who took a few hours of their time to help us select a shortlist and then covered a few thousand steps so we could pick the winner. Thank you Cecilia, Barbara, Saqhib, Trish, Paula, Karin and Adriana 🙏🏼

The prize

We put together a bumper hamper of goodies for our winners, including drinks, chocolates, snacks and more…

Halloween Hamper 2019

The winners also received a trophy, ‘Scariest House in Wixams 2019’, which they can show off for years to come!

And the winner is…

We’re pleased to announce the winning home is the colourful house on Brooklands Avenue. The judges were very impressed by the variety of spooky items on display, lots of cobwebs and the overall impact of the lights display. A big congratulations goes to them and we hope they enjoy their prize.

Halloween Comp Winners 1 Halloween Comp Winners 2

Other contenders

There were a lot of fantastic homes to choose from this year, the judges really were split in deciding the winner. Here are some photos of a few of the other contenders we considered and some other great scenes on display:

Wixams Tree Survey Featured Image

Wixams Tree Survey

The Wixams Gardening Group are currently liaising with Bedford Borough Council’s Tree Officer to try and get the dead trees in Wixams replaced. As the majority of trees here have all been planted in the last decade, we have many more dead trees than you’d find in a more established community.

To help our community with this task we’ve created the map below which we’re adding to when we find new dead trees. BBC have access to this map and they’ve already made a start on replacing some of them.

  • Blue marker – To be replaced
  • Green marker – Replaced by BBC

Would you like to help?

If you see a dead tree on public land near your home which isn’t already marked on the map, please follow the steps below to let us know:

1. Find the tree on Google Maps, right click on the exact spot and then select ‘What’s Here?’.

Wixams Tree Survey Instructions 1

2. A box will appear with some information, click the coordinates. The coordinates in the example below are ‘52.091864, -0.460795’.

Wixams Tree Survey Instructions 2

3. A sidebar will appear, highlight the coordinates and copy them.

Wixams Tree Survey Instructions 3

4. Send the coordinates to us using the contact form (select Wixams Community Group) and we’ll add that spot to the map for BBC to see, that’s it!