See below for a list of frequently asked questions about Wixams Station. About the public engagement Why are you undertaking a public engagement? Bedford Borough Council is undertaking a non-statutory public engagement on its plans for Wixams Station, before submitting applications for planning permission in Summer 2022. The purpose of the public engagement is to share details of Wixams Station and provide an opportunity for the local community, businesses, and other stakeholders to share their views while the plans are still being finalised. We are inviting people to provide their comments on the plans for Wixams Station by completing our online response form on our Wixams Station page. Alternatively, you can provide feedback by emailing WixamsStation@bedford.gov.uk or by post to: Wixams Station Major Projects Borough Hall Cauldwell St Bedford MK42 9AP Public engagement feedback will be welcomed until 24 July 2022. What will happen with my feedback? All comments must be submitted in writing by completing the online response form or by email/post by 11.59pm on 24 July 2022. After this date, we will review all the feedback we have received and where necessary refine the plans and supporting information ahead of the submission of applications for planning permission. As part of the planning applications, we will submit a Statement of Community Engagement (SCE). This will describe how the local community, businesses and stakeholders have been engaged in the plans for Wixams Station and how this feedback has informed the outline proposals. A summary of the SCE will be added to the project website at www.bedford.gov.uk/WixamsStation. There will be a further opportunity to provide feedback on the applications for planning permission once they have been submitted as a statutory part of the planning process. This will be undertaken by the Local Planning Authority, Bedford Borough Council. Scheme development and delivery Who is funding the scheme? The scheme is funded by developer contributions and Bedford Borough Council. Who is delivering the scheme? The scheme is being delivered by Bedford Borough Council with support from the rail industry. When will Wixams Station open? Bedford Borough Council’s ambition is for Wixams Station to open to passengers by the end of 2024. Will East West Rail impact the delivery of Wixams Station? No, the delivery of Wixams Station is independent of the East West Rail project, which is being delivered by the East West Rail Company. East West Rail is still in its development phase, but its ambition is to connect Cambridge and Oxford by rail, with services calling at Bedford Midland. To stay up to date with the East West Rail project or for further information please visit East West Rail’s website. Whilst Wixams was identified as being on a possible route in earlier options, it is no longer situated on the route options consulted upon in 2021. Information about the station Where is Wixams Station? Wixams Station is located in Station Quarter, at the western boundary of Wixams. What facilities will be provided at the station? The station will provide: two platforms with seating and shelters station building including toilets, waiting room and coffee shop landscaped public realm footbridge with stairs and lifts parking including electric vehicle charging, blue badge and cycle passengers drop off/pick up provision for taxis/bus stops ticket purchasing facilities real-time information boards cctv audio frequency induction loops You can view a plan of the proposed station here (JPEG). Will there be a shop? The plans for the station include a dedicated space for a coffee shop. What is happening with the ‘Station Quarter’? The ‘Station Quarter’ refers to a wider area within which Wixams Station will be located. Outside of the station footprint (the railway corridor including the station building, footbridge, platforms, car park and access) plans for development are being bought forward by L&Q Estates. We understand the current proposals include retail, offices, and residential buildings. Getting to and from Wixams Station How can I get to and from the station without driving? Bedford Borough Council is investing in active travel at this location and is keen to encourage those travelling to and from the station to walk, cycle or travel by bus where possible. The flat landscape of Wixams makes it ideal for walking and cycling and with Wixams Station located within 2km for all residents, you are no more than a 25-minute walk or 10-minute cycle journey from the station. We are also creating facilities at the station to enable and encourage active travel including secure cycle parking and bus stops within the station drop-off area. How many car parking spaces are you providing? The car park will provide parking for up to 350 cars. Five percent of the spaces will be allocated parking bays for users with reduced mobility and five percent for electric vehicle charging points. The number of parking spaces has been informed by car parking demand assessments and is in line with national guidance for car parking standards. In addition, the station will provide secure cycle parking. The details of the secure cycle parking are yet to be determined and are likely to be subject to a planning condition requiring details to be submitted and approved before installation. Will there be a charge for parking? Yes, a charge is proposed for parking at this location. How much will parking cost? The tariff is yet to be determined. Will there be a residents parking discount? There are no plans for a residents' parking discount. Bedford Borough Council is investing in active travel at this location and is keen to encourage those travelling to and from the station to walk, cycle or travel by bus where possible rather than by private car. How will you stop station users from parking on the adjacent roads? Bedford Borough Council is considering the measures that will be required to prevent overspill parking on surrounding roads. These measures will be the subject of a separate consultation. Will the station be accessible? The station is being designed in line with Department for Transport guidelines on accessible railway stations to provide step-free access. Amongst the facilities at the station the following make it easier for those with accessibility requirements to use the station: tactile paving accessible toilet covered seating on the platform and a waiting room in the station building footbridge with stairs and lifts to provide access between the platforms blue badge parking passengers drop off/pick up provision for taxis/bus stops real-time information boards audio frequency induction loops for station announcements Will there be help for disabled passengers to get on/off the train? The station and train services calling at the station will be operated by Thameslink. Thameslink has an assisted travel scheme ‘Passenger Assist’ that helps passengers with disabilities as well as older people who need a little extra help using their services. You can find more information about Passenger Assist on the Thameslink website. Trains and services How many trains will call at Wixams Station per hour? The station will be served by up to four Thameslink trains per hour, in each direction. What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on the proposals and are people using rail? On 18 April 2022, the Office of Rail and Road announced that passenger numbers were at 80% of pre-COVID-19 levels and are continuing to rise. As a result of the pandemic, the project team has undertaken financial modelling at various levels of future anticipated usage for the station, the business case for its development remains strong in a post-COVID world. How much will train tickets cost? The price of tickets has not been determined yet. Construction of Wixams Station When will construction start? Early enabling works will start on site later this year, this will mainly be site clearance and surveying. Construction of the station is anticipated to begin in Summer 2023, subject to necessary consents being secured. How will you manage the impact of construction? Details of how construction will be managed to mitigate the environmental impacts (including noise, vibration, dust, and traffic) will be subject to a planning condition. There will be out-of-hours construction at this location because we are building a station on an operational railway line. The contractor will keep neighbours informed about planned working arrangements so they are aware of and can plan for any disruption. Every effort will be made to ensure that the impacts on residents and businesses are kept as low as possible during daytime, night, or weekend working.