Final phase of Bicester town centre revamp to start in summer

Oxford Mail: An artist’s impression of the development An artist’s impression of the development

WORK on Bicester’s new civic building will start this summer to complete the £70m town centre regeneration.

The £6.5m five-storey building will house Cherwell District Council’s Bicester office, a new library, a 53-bedroom Travelodge Hotel, office and retail or restaurant units.

It will be built over Franklin’s Yard car park, which will close.

The Cherwell District Council planning application was approved by its own councillors on Thursday despite objections from residents.

Objectors said the building was too big, its design inappropriate and that it would change Bicester’s skyline.

Nearby Hunt Close residents feared hotel rooms would overlook their homes “invading privacy 24 hours a day”.

Norman Bolster, Cherwell’s lead member for economy and estates, said: “Almost 12 months on from the opening of Pioneer Square, permission has now been granted for the final stage of this town centre regeneration programme with the Bicester Community Building.

“Its approval marks the end of Franklins Yard car park, but the beginning of a brighter and more prosperous future for the town.

“This decision will enable the use of this site to be maximised to its full potential for the benefit of Bicester.

“Not only will this scheme bring jobs, boost the economy and provide essential community facilities, the addition of the hotel and restaurants will continue to rejuvenate the town outside of office hours, bringing greater activity and vitality.”

The development will also include some of the land at the rear of buildings in Sheep Street, which were made available as part of a land swap.

The quarter-of-a-hectare site is currently used for town centre parking, but there will be no parking within the new construction. Vehicles are expected to use the nearby Sainsbury’s car park, off Manorsfield Road.

Cherwell says the building, which will have eco features including solar panels and a combined heat and power provision and cycle parking, should be completed by summer 2015.

The council’s office will be on the ground floor alongside retail/restaurant units, with the new library on the second floor and offices, and Travelodge on the third and fourth floors.

  • PEOPLE got a glimpse of what the UK’s first eco-town might look like yesterday.

A2Dominion Group is staging a public exhibition in Pioneer Square, Bicester, showing off the plans it will submit to Cherwell District Council later this year. The exhibition is also open from 10am till 2pm at Unit 3, Pioneer Square, today.

The North West Bicester development will create about 6,000 homes and 4,500 jobs. It will be the UK’s first zero-carbon town.

The exhibition shows designs for the first application to be submitted, which will be north of Lords Lane, and features 392 acres that will contain about 2,600 houses. The second application, north of Howes Lane, is where 3,500 homes will be built.

They will be submitted to the council in the summer.

  • BICESTER Village outlet shopping centre has been given permission to build two new shops.

The plans for Pingle Drive will create 961sq ft of extra floor space, according to shopping centre owner Value Retail.

The plans were approved by Cherwell district councillors on Thursday.

Michael Gibbard, the council’s lead member for planning, said: “Expanding the current retail opportunities on offer at Bicester Village will generate both economic and social gains, while continuing to enhance a sustainable location.”

It is not yet known who will occupy the stores.

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