Wixams station costs have increased by £30m since 2018 and be “only 13 years late”

2802
A similar station to this is proposed at Wixams. Image: Bedford Borough Council
A similar station to this is proposed at Wixams. Image: Bedford Borough Council

The cost to build Wixams Station has increased by £30 million and is due to open in 2026, a meeting heard.

Bedford Borough Council’s Executive heard last night (19 June) that since the council took on the Wixams station project in 2018 it has been progressing the plans to construct a new railway station on the Midland Main Line.

Councillor Graeme Coombes (Conservative, Wixams & Wilstead), the council’s portfolio holder for finance & corporate services, said: “Council officers have worked ceaselessly with Network Rail over the last year to turn plans into reality.

“[But] I’d like to draw the Executive’s attention to a couple of very specific points.

“First of all, there are some additional costs in [the report]. When the council first agreed Wixams Station back in 2018 [there was an estimated] cost of £27 million.

“There are additional [costs] of about £30 million. A lot of it is inflation, obviously, as the project has gone on.  So it’s a lot more money. There are some dates [in the report] which are [Community Infrastructure Levy] CIL money dependent.

“And if we don’t get this done in time we’re at risk of losing quite a bit of this CIL money [from] developers. We don’t want to do that, we don’t want to lose money,” he said.

Councillor Coombes added that an opening date should be in the second half of 2026, “only 13 years late,” he said.

The Executive heard that the plans could be changed if Universal Studios Theme Park is built.

“If the Universal Theme Park project goes ahead, it is undoubtable that we will need a station that has capacity for all of the expected visitors,” councillor Coombes said.

“If Universal is approved, and we hope to hear about that later this year, we will require a much bigger station to be constructed – happily at central government expense.”

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter