Flitwick regeneration moves a step closer
Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive has today (April 4) chosen a preferred option for progressing plans towards the regeneration of a major brownfield site in Flitwick town centre.
The site, which is adjacent to the railway station, was purchased by the Council with the specific objective of enabling a regeneration scheme to proceed.
Council officers have been working on proposals for the site, and on the adjacent station forecourt owned by Network Rail, that would have a major impact on the town centre. New retail facilities and homes would be provided alongside major improvements to transport infrastructure through the creation of a public transport interchange centred on the railway station and improvements to car parking facilities.
The scheme would create between 100 and 200 jobs and provide much more of a focal point for the town centre, which is currently divided into different areas by the railway line.
The proposal for an interchange seeks to better integrate bus services with the rail timetable in order to provide station users with an alternative to traveling to the station by car. Major improvements to the public realm in and around the station, including access improvements for pedestrians and cyclists would also be required and delivered as part of the scheme.
The Council has been working with a broad range of parties including Network Rail and the train operating company Govia Thameslink Railway in order to enable a regeneration scheme in this location. As part of this ongoing work the Council has also secured interest from a major national retailer as a potential anchor tenant.
Council Members today approved a programme of further work to develop a scheme ahead of engagement with residents, tenants, wider town centre businesses and property owners, development partners and investors during this coming Summer.
Jason Longhurst, Central Bedfordshire Council Director for Regeneration and Business, said: “In 2015/16, Flitwick train station accounted for more than three times the journeys per capita (114) than the three most southerly stations in the county, combined (36), so a plan to improve this area could transform its potential in terms of transport, retail, jobs and homes.
“While we have made good progress to date, we are in the early stages so there is much work still to do. This will include developing and discussing our proposals with the local community before a full public consultation in the summer and then further consideration by the Council’s Executive in the autumn on the preferred scheme and method of delivery.
“And any improvements would be delivered as part of a broader investment plan for the town centre, which includes our Market Town Regeneration Fund investment of almost £1million in improving Flitwick High Street which is being delivered as part of a partnership with Flitwick town centre.”
Image shows one example of what a transport interchange could look like