Wixams is a new village of 4,500 homes, being created three miles to the south of Bedford and represents the single largest development in Bedfordshire.
The site is centred on the former Elstow Storage Depot (once the site of the largest WWII munitions factory in the world) and is being transformed into a new community consisting of four distinct neighbourhoods providing new homes, jobs, amenities and educational facilities. As part of the early design philosophy, future expansion areas were identified and, in parallel with the main site, we have delivered a further 2.4m sq ft of warehousing in the Northern Expansion Area providing over 1,200 jobs
for the local community.
L&Q Estates undertook the role of master developer, steering this complicated and technically challenging project through from conception to completion. Delivering the quality end product necessary to establish Wixams as an aspirational place to live has required an unwavering strategic vision and vast technical competence.
In total, including the expansion area, Wixams will provide 4,500 new homes, 3,000,000 sq ft of employment and 100,000 sq ft of retail space in addition to four primary schools, a secondary school, 300 acres of landscaped parkland, 15km of cycleways and new play facilities. A key feature is the creation of four landscaped greenways providing a network of public open spaces interlinking each neighbourhood whilst providing the necessary separation to ensure each has its own distinct identity.
The first neighbourhood, known as Lakeview Village, is the first phase of our vision for the redevelopment of this brownfield site, providing 950 homes with 25 per cent affordable housing, a new primary school, village shops, community hall and recreational facilities for residents.
Housebuilding is now well underway in phase 2 (Harrowden Green) and Phase 4 (Willow Park) again enabled by infrastructure installed by L&Q Estates. Design work is now concentrating on the delivery of the social and retail heart of the development in a new town centre.
Since funding Lakeview School, which opened in 2012, L&Q Estates has contributed a further £8.8 million towards the creation of Wixams Tree Primary School and Wixams Academy, both officially opened in October 2017. We have invested in excess of £40 million in infrastructure to date which has included the provision of a realigned and dualled A6, remediation of the former bomb-making factory and extensive ground remodelling, creating a number of lakes which provide a focus for development and further enhance the environment.
Our sale of land to multiple housebuilders, all working to a strict design code, has resulted in the delivery of a high quality new village which sets the standard for the rest of the development. The success of the development has resulted in the local authority allocating further expansion land to the south of the village for future development.
In our experience, the success of new settlements lies not only in good master planning and high quality design but in the appropriate phasing and delivery of quality infrastructure and public realm, which is key to creating community and social cohesion from the very outset.