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Universal Studios buys Bedford brickworks for theme park plan

Universal Studios buys Bedford brickworks for theme park plan

  • Written by Alex Pope
  • BBC News, Bedfordshire

Image source, International Studios

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Universal Destinations and Experiences said it will take several months before it makes a decision on any plans for a theme park in Bedfordshire.

Universal Studios has said it is “exploring” the possibility of building a theme park and resort on the site of a former brickworks in Bedfordshire.

Universal Destinations and Experiences said it had purchased 480 acres of land near Stewartby.

The company said it was “always looking for new locations around the world” and was in the “early stages of exploring their feasibility”.

Bedford Council Mayor Tom Wootton said he was “excited by the interest”.

A spokeswoman for the company behind Universal Studios said: “We have recently acquired land in Bedford and are in the early stages of exploring its feasibility for a potential theme park and resort on this site.

“It will be several months before we are ready to make a decision to move forward and we look forward to engaging with all relevant stakeholders and the local community.”

“We are always looking for new locations around the world, including Europe, and the UK is an attractive place for a potential project,” the company said in a statement.

“The UK has a large population, creative industries, strong tourism and transport infrastructure in close proximity to other parts of Europe,” a Universal spokeswoman said.

The area was chosen because of its “transport connectivity to London and Europe with more than half the UK population within two hours, including just 45 minutes outside of London.”

He also highlighted its proximity to Luton Airport.

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Many of the buildings in the former brick factories stood empty and fell into disrepair

“We support Bedford’s vision of becoming a thriving place to live, work and visit,” the statement added.

“We take a proactive approach in partnering with local communities and stakeholders (such as Bedford Borough Council) when pursuing potential projects,” the US-based company said.

Mr Wootton, mayor-elect of Bedford Borough Council, said: “Proposing significant commercial investment is of course a positive thing, however these are early days and a lot of detailed work is needed before any decisions are made.”

“We very much welcome and are excited by Universal’s interest and the tremendous potential it has to transform the region.

“We are committed to ensuring any plans are in line with the best interests of our residents.”

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