Calls for a bridge to replace level crossing in Milton Keynes

The Caldecotte site
The Caldecotte site

Land could be set aside to build a new bridge to replace a level crossing in the Bow Brickhill area of Milton Keynes.

Traffic delays are set to increase when the East West Rail project eventually leads to an increased number of train services on the Marston Vale line between Bletchley and Bedford.

The Draft Caldecotte Site C Development Brief says that currently there is just one passenger train per hour each way between Bedford and Bletchley on weekdays and Saturdays.

This means the level crossing gates are closed for up to 15 minutes per hour. Freight train journeys during off-peak times mean longer closures.

Those closures already cause “notable queues” of traffic on Brickhill Street on both sides of the level crossing when the gates are closed, and also along Station Road into Bow Brickhill, particularly during the morning and afternoon/ evening rush hours.

The number of passenger trains on the railway line is due to double in 2024 when the East West upgrade is complete, leading to longer closures of the level crossing.

Now Milton Keynes Council is considering what it wants to see done with a grid square of land in Caldecotte. They say hotels, homes, and shops could form part of the future.

The i’s are being dotted and the t’s crossed on a masterplan for what the council wants to see done on 4.7 acres of land at the junction of Brickhill Street (V10) and Caldecotte Lake Drive.

The site, known as Caldecotte Site C, used to be with the Communities Agency, but is now owned by Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP), which was set up and owned by Milton Keynes Council.

A Draft Development Brief for the site received comments from 14 respondents, including five regarding the Bow Brickhill Crossing.

They include Walton Community Council, Cllr Martin Petchey, and three residents. They argue that land should be safeguarded for a bridge crossing at the Bow Brickhill level crossing.

MK Council’s planners responded: “Feasibility work has been undertaken which suggests that a bridge could be constructed on the existing line of Brickhill Street, without encroaching on the development site.”

They can add a reference to the potential of safeguarding land along the line of Brickhill Street for a future bridge crossing into the planning documents. Thay also add that Network Rail has no current plans for a bridge.

Planners have also ruled out the possibility of the land at Caldecotte Site C being used for future employment purposes.

Cllr Mick Legg, MK Council’s Cabinet member for customer services, is due to decide whether to carry out a formal six week consultation on the Revised Draft Caldecotte Site C Development Brief at a meeting on Tuesday, (February 12).