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East of England Liberal Democrats

Back on Track! Mayor Announces Plan to Bridge Funding Gap and Deliver Wixams Station

September 11, 2018 9:00 PM
Originally published by North Bedfordshire Liberal Democrats

Dave HodgsonMayor Dave Hodgson has stepped in to rescue the planned station in Wixams after the failure of the toothless planning deal to deliver the long-planned project

Mayor Dave's Executive is set to approve the inclusion of the project in the Council's capital budget, following the publication of proposals this week.

The original planning agreement did not make the delivery of a station a condition of the development, instead including a contribution from the developers comprising less than half the estimated cost. It was intended that the rest would be funded nationally. However, the Government has failed to back the project.

Mayor Dave Hodgson has therefore stepped in to ensure this long promised facility is delivered for Wixams. Following background work to determine the cost and develop the design of the station, the Council is proposing to fund the remainder of the cost, with the cost of borrowing the funds to be recovered in full by income received through fares.

Commenting, Mayor Dave said: "This is a crucial facility for Wixams and we cannot let this station just be lost to the community. I know from speaking to local residents just how important this is for so many people. That's why, while it isn't the job of councils to build railways stations and that was never intended in this case, I am stepping to make it our business. We will make sure residents get the station they were promised."

"The station should have been made a condition of the development back when planning permission was awarded. It wasn't, and in the absence of progress previously, we're acting to make Wixams station a reality."

There is still more work to be done on getting all the plans and approvals in place. However, Mayor Dave's commitment means that for the first time, funds for the full cost of the station have been identified.

The station will be served by the Thameslink line, including services to and from London.

The original plan never envisaged or intended at any stage that the council(s) would be involved in the delivery of the station at all, beyond their regulatory planning roles. However, with no funds forthcoming from Government and the project stalled, the Council is therefore set to step in and bridge the funding shortfall, on the basis of recovering the costs from fares.

The proposal to include the project in the Council's Capital Programme will be considered by the Mayor's Executive at its meeting on Wednesday September 19th.