Located three miles south of Bedford Wixams is a new town being developed on a 750 acre brownfield site. It is mostly within Bedford Borough but partly in Central Bedfordshire. The development is situated between the Bedford to Ampthill road to the west and the A6 to the east. The plan includes four village settlements around a town centre with commercial space and civic and leisure amenities.
The brownfield site was formerly known as the Elstow Storage Depot, which in World War Two was a Royal Ordnance Factory for the filling of munitions. After the munitions factory closed in 1946 the site was used for industry. A number of auctions of vehicles took place there during the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1969 the site became part of the Central Electricity Generating Board and there were plans for a power station to be built there but this wasn’t carried out. In the late 1980s the site was proposed as a possible place for the burial of low grade nuclear waste by Nirex. The anti-nuclear protest against the proposal attracted the full support and backing of the County Council and the argument was eventually won on the grounds that the environmental and health risks of shallow dumping were unknown. Our Summer 2015 newsletter includes an article about protest in Bedfordshire which features this anti-nuclear dumping campaign. See references CS/ LA and PL/NIX for more details. The successful completion of the campaign was marked with a memorial by the side of the Bedford to Ampthill road. This memorial has been incorporated into the western edge of the Wixam’s development.
The need for more housing led to the proposal of using the site for a new town. At first this was called Elstow Garden Villages but this was later changed to Wixams. See X881/7/E5 for some original promotional material and images.
The name Wixams derives from the name of an ancient hundred of Wixamtree near to the new town, although the development is actually located in the ancient hundred of Redbournestock.
Construction began in 2007 with residents moving into the first village, Lakeview, from 2009. The first village was originally included in the civil parish of Wilshamtead but a new civil parish was formed in 2015. Villages Two and Three are situated in the parishes of Houghton Conquest and Stewartby.
The first primary school, Lakeview school, opened in 2009. Wixams Tree Primary school opened in September 2017. Wixams Academy opened in 2017 as a co-educational secondary school and sixth form.
The village hall opened in Lakeview in 2013 and is managed by members of a local community trust.
A purpose built retirement village for the over 55s opened in 2019.