NEARLY £200,000 has been handed over to help fund the construction of a primary school in Bicester’s new eco-town.

It comes as lead developer A2Dominion today starts work on access and infrastructure before beginning construction of the first phase of the development in north west Bicester.

The initial stage will include 393 zero-carbon homes and facilities such as a shop, eco-pub and community centre as well as the school which will be part-funded through a £3.5m infrastructure fund being provided by A2Dominion.

Karen Curtin, Cherwell District Council’s director for Bicester, said: “With up to 6,000 new homes due to be built over the next 20-30 years it is important to ensure that the facilities are in place to accommodate the early and future residents of north west Bicester.

“One of the most important amenities is the provision of a primary school which will initially accommodate approximately 210 children aged between four and 11.

“The receipt of this cheque is significant as it represents the commitment by all stakeholders to ensure the necessary provisions and funds are made available to guarantee infrastructure is provided at the right time for the future residents.

“We are working with Oxfordshire County Council to ensure a school is provided as soon as possible on the site so children will be able to access local educational facilities for generations to come.”

Of the first 393 homes, 119 will be affordable and these are expected to be completed along with the other facilities in the development within four-and-a-half years.

John Knevett, who is A2Dominion’s group chief commercial officer and deputy group chief executive, said: “It is another major milestone in the construction of NW Bicester’s pioneering development.

“We are delighted to now be on site and able to hand over our contribution to the first new primary school for the town as part of our long term investment in the future of Bicester.”

Each home on the development will be designed to maximise sustainability though insulation, the installation of solar panels on all properties to generate electricity and using a combined heat and power plant to provide heat and hot water.

A2Dominion has also pledged to send none of its waste to landfill during construction.

In 2009 Bicester was one of four sites chosen by the Government to have an eco-town after the more controversial Weston Otmoor site was rejected. The first phase of the scheme was approved in 2011.