Gateway to central Bedfordshire via Flitwick interchange

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A £4.8m transport interchange in Flitwick town centre is designed to provide a gateway to Central Bedfordshire.

Work on the bus and rail hub is due to start in August, having cleared its final hurdle with approval by Central Bedfordshire Council’s executive.

The development either side of Steppingley Road is seen as a “critical element to the wider regeneration of the town centre”, and is expected to be completed by December.

A revised layout for the interchange on land next to Flitwick railway station was agreed by CBC’s development control committee last week.

The project would be linked into “the operation of the railway station, providing combined bus and rail departure information”, according to Conservative Caddington councillor Kevin Collins.

“All of these elements will positively change how the station is viewed, accessed, and travelled to and from by local residents and visitors,” he told the executive.

“Network Rail continues to develop separate proposals for step free access to all platforms at the railway station,” said councillor Collins, who’s the executive member for planning and regeneration.

“The planning approval was subject to the conclusion of a formal consultation period, which has ended now with no material further comments.

“I expect the formal decision notice to be issued imminently.”

The interchange is being funded from a mixture of CBC capital investment, section 106 planning contributions and grant funding from the government’s getting building fund (GBF), according to a report to the executive.

“The GBF was secured after a competitive bidding process, with a January 31st 2022 deadline for spending this,” said the report.

The total funds are:

  • CBC capital investment £2,449,965;
  • section 106 developer contributions £167,000;
  • GBF funding £2.219,035, making a total  of £4,836,000.

Conservative Flitwick councillor Charles Gomm agreed, saying: “This is a welcome scheme for the town and Central Bedfordshire.

“Its completion will improve the connectivity of rail and buses locally, and hopefully regenerate the bus services which currently aren’t carrying as many passengers as they could.

“I look forward to it starting and finishing.”

Conservative Flitwick councillor Neil Bunyan said: “Every ward member is in favour of this and we look forward to work starting as soon as possible.”

Conservative Ampthill councillor Paul Duckett said, after “years and years” to reach this stage, “we’ve got to grips with it and have delivered an excellent scheme.

“The people of Ampthill, who use the station or go shopping in Flitwick, will really welcome this.”

The proposals originated within the Flitwick town centre master plan, which was adopted in 2008, added the report.

“This plan envisaged a mixed-use redevelopment, including residential, retail and commercial uses, and parking involving large parts of Flitwick town centre, with an interchange and improved Flitwick railway station at its core.

“The site on which the interchange is to be built is owned by the council and Network Rail.

“Full step free access to all platforms at the station is due to be delivered by 2024, and will include a new footbridge and lifts to all platforms.”

Councillors unanimously approved four recommendations, including a process to appoint a construction partner for the work.