Universal Studios reveals more details over proposed new theme park in Bedfordshire

Universal runs theme parks in America, Japan and Singapore. Credit: Universal
Universal runs theme parks in America, Japan and Singapore. Credit: Universal Destinations & Experiences

Universal Studios has begun engaging with the public over its plan to build a theme park in Bedfordshire.

The company has purchased around 480 acres of land just south of Bedford, between the villages of Kempston, Wootton, Stewartby and Wixams.

They also have the option buy a smaller parcel of land to the southwest, taking the total proposed site to around 700 acres.

Universal Destinations & Experiences has five theme parks around the world, in America, Japan, China and Singapore.

It is now deciding if Bedfordshire could be the location for its sixth resort and its first in Europe.

Universal has suggested it will seek planning permission directly from the Government, via a special development order (SDO).

If it goes ahead, construction could take around five to six years.

Universal says its firs theme park in Europe could be built in Bedfordshire. Credit: Universal Destinations & Experiences.

A public consultation into the plans is underway, with people able to have their say until Friday 3 May.

Public engagement events are being held today in Kimberley College, Stewartby, and another will be held in Bedford College on Tuesday.

An information pack with more details about the proposal has been released to the public.

In it the firm says: "The UK is a very attractive market for a new theme park experience with its large population, creative industries, strong tourism, transportation infrastructure, and links to Europe.

"In 2023, the UK welcomed 38 million tourists, and this number is growing. These visitors are expected to spend approximately £34 billion annually, supporting a wide range of valuable employment opportunities across several sectors.

"Our parent company Comcast Corporation has a strong presence in the UK, with NBCUniversal International and Sky’s headquarters both based here."

In total the site of the proposed theme park would be around 700 acres. Credit: Universal Destinations & Experiences

The site includes the former Kempston Hardwick brickworks, as well as some fields to the south, none of which form part of the Green Belt.

Universal says the area is already allocated for development by the council through the proposed Local Plan.

They add that its location is convenient for fast rail links to London and London Luton Airport. It also has the flat topography that is important for a large-scale theme park resort.

The East West Rail (EWR) project also plans to deliver additional transport improvements locally, specifically improvements to the existing railway between Bletchley and Bedford.

The company added: "This project has the potential to be transformative for Bedford and deliver significant benefits for the UK economy.

"Our developments create thousands of jobs, help to drive footfall to existing local businesses, and unlock major investment into other local enterprises and infrastructure."

Universal has not commented on which rides or attractions could feature at the proposed park in Bedfordshire. Credit: Universal Destinations & Experiences

Universal has not commented on what rides or attractions would be at the park.

The company said: "We recognise the tremendous excitement our theme parks and developments bring, yet it is too early in the process to know the possibilities of featured attractions and experiences.

"Should we proceed with the project, we would confirm these at a later stage."

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