Oxford MailUPDATE: Bicester Village gets expansion approval (From Oxford Mail)

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UPDATE: Bicester Village gets expansion approval

Oxford Mail: Bicester Village development director Chris Harris Bicester Village development director Chris Harris

PLANS to expand Bicester Village and its Tesco superstore were approved yesterday after councillors hailed its bid to ease traffic congestion in the area.

Cherwell District Council’s planning committee unanimously approved two planning applications for the Pingle Drive shopping complex.

They said the plan to move Tesco and expand Bicester Village in its place will lead to much-needed road improvements.

But Sainsbury’s warned the plans threatened the future of its planned store in the town centre.

The scheme will see a Tesco built on a field opposite Bicester Village that would be double the size of its superstore next to the outlet shopping park. It would feature a petrol station and 600 parking spaces on the site, on the south of the A41.

The current Tesco would then be demolished to make way for 28 new shops in a move that would expand Bicester Village by 23.8 per cent.

Road changes include traffic lights at the main A41 Bicester Village roundabout, two lanes in and out of the complex and widening Pingle Drive.

The committee said the road improvements will pave the way for a new business park at the site, to create 3,000 jobs.

Bicester Village development director Chris Harris said the changes will “get rid of all the Tesco traffic” and the work would provide a 600-space park-and-ride.

He said: “Our proposals form an important part of providing both the road infrastructure and services in terms of additional places for people to shop.

“But what is most exciting for me is the ability to provide high quality employment opportunities within Bicester.”

Sainsbury’s chief financial officer John Rogers said: “It is quite disappointing to be sitting here defending the investment we have made in the town centre.”

He said it was “staggering” that planning officer Rebecca Horley backed the scheme and stated “it is not going to have an impact on the town centre”.

Her reports recommended councillors back both schemes.

Mr Rogers said approval would mean trust between the firm and the council – a partner in the town centre redevelopment – will have “severely broken down”.

Work began on the town centre store a year ago.

Oxford’s Westgate Centre also objected, saying the city should be a “primary centre” in Oxfordshire.

Mr Rogers said: “It would be very difficult if the proposal was accepted to continue with the fit out of our store.”

But Tesco corporate affairs manager Simon Petar said: “Our plans have significant widespread local support.”

And Charles Shouler, chairman of Bicester Town Council’s traffic advisory committee, said the plans were a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to solve the traffic problems.

Both plans will be referred to the Government as they are a departure from council policies on future development.

Paul Vickery, planning consultant for Sainsbury’s, said: “We are disappointed and are going to consider our options.”

Mr Petar said Tesco wanted to begin work as soon as possible but could not give timescales. No shop names have been announced for the new Bicester Village units.

Comments (9)

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12:15pm Fri 4 Jan 13

steve1955 says...

GOOD
To all those who will now moan and gron about the decision remember it is all about choice we can choose where we want to shop now that the council have not succumbed to the threats from sainsburys the decision should be made by the planners based on what is good for everone not just a few,
Like it or not Bicester village has put the town on the world map not the town centre in any shape or form
By the way i have never and will never got to the village not my scene
GOOD To all those who will now moan and gron about the decision remember it is all about choice we can choose where we want to shop now that the council have not succumbed to the threats from sainsburys the decision should be made by the planners based on what is good for everone not just a few, Like it or not Bicester village has put the town on the world map not the town centre in any shape or form By the way i have never and will never got to the village not my scene steve1955
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Rob-25 says...

It is all about choice and now we are finally about to realise that we stab Sainsbury's in the back. I am absolutely certain, had they known earlier Tescos move would be approved, they would have withdrawn from the developement. I think its a scandalous decision which will see more empty shops as well as the new retail units not being filled? As for the traffic that side of town, well I'm sure the new set of traffic lights will fix that? And unless you shop at Bicester Village why would anybody be pleased we are now on the world map. I honestly can't see how it has improved daily life for those that dwell in Bicester one bit? I am sure the old argument of job creation will spring up, but the hours and pay the majority of people receive working there are scandalous!
It is all about choice and now we are finally about to realise that we stab Sainsbury's in the back. I am absolutely certain, had they known earlier Tescos move would be approved, they would have withdrawn from the developement. I think its a scandalous decision which will see more empty shops as well as the new retail units not being filled? As for the traffic that side of town, well I'm sure the new set of traffic lights will fix that? And unless you shop at Bicester Village why would anybody be pleased we are now on the world map. I honestly can't see how it has improved daily life for those that dwell in Bicester one bit? I am sure the old argument of job creation will spring up, but the hours and pay the majority of people receive working there are scandalous! Rob-25
  • Score: 0

8:50pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Elephant101 says...

What a stich-up! Bicester council has betrayed Sainsburys in a way that is an embarrassment to the town, not to mention putting the entire town centre development at risk. I feel ashamed of what our council has done here, it's really low. Bicester was being given the rare opportuntiy to become a thriving town centre for the first time in years, and in the depths of a recession too, but now it will deservedly revert to being known as Tesco-Town. What a great shame. When the Chinese change their tax system so that it's no longer worth the Chinese coming to Bicester, we will be left ringing our hands at an opportunity lost to give our town centre real substance.
What a stich-up! Bicester council has betrayed Sainsburys in a way that is an embarrassment to the town, not to mention putting the entire town centre development at risk. I feel ashamed of what our council has done here, it's really low. Bicester was being given the rare opportuntiy to become a thriving town centre for the first time in years, and in the depths of a recession too, but now it will deservedly revert to being known as Tesco-Town. What a great shame. When the Chinese change their tax system so that it's no longer worth the Chinese coming to Bicester, we will be left ringing our hands at an opportunity lost to give our town centre real substance. Elephant101
  • Score: 0

9:16pm Fri 4 Jan 13

carfax cabby ox1 says...

Just think about all those yellow stickers in Sainsbury's at 5.30 in the evening, the shop will be heaving.
Just think about all those yellow stickers in Sainsbury's at 5.30 in the evening, the shop will be heaving. carfax cabby ox1
  • Score: 0

6:06pm Sat 5 Jan 13

IanEast says...

And how long before the Bicester southward sprawl meets up with the Oxford/Kidlington northward sprawl and we can all camp out in the perfect never-ending traffic jam on the lovely new 32-lane highway between?
Signed, someone who has better things to do than drive and shop …
And how long before the Bicester southward sprawl meets up with the Oxford/Kidlington northward sprawl and we can all camp out in the perfect never-ending traffic jam on the lovely new 32-lane highway between? Signed, someone who has better things to do than drive and shop … IanEast
  • Score: 0

10:25pm Sat 5 Jan 13

Elephant101 says...

Agreed Ian. And for some reason, despite the Chinese shoppers forming about 60% of Bicester Village trade, noone in the local papers or the council every seems to take note of relevant news stories coming out of China. e.g. 1) Luxury goods are highly taxed in China and that is why Bicester Village is attractive to the Chinese. This could change at any time. 2) The Chinese leadership recently announced that it would no longer be socially acceptable for Chinese business people do practice luxury gift-giving to oil business networking. And these are just two minor stories coming out of China that I've noticed recently in the media without paying any particular attention.

So I ask myself if Bicester is balancing on a great big bubble as precarious as the housing market was pre-2008. If it is, then with this dicey strategy we could lose everything overnight and end up like Bracknell, with little to show for ourselves but endless hairdressers punctuated by charity shops (sorry Bracknell, but the only difference in our fate seems to have been J9 of the M40 which in turn created Bicester Village, which is heavily reliant on Chinese luxury consumers). What Sainsburys promised us was substance, without it we will remain a ring donut.
Agreed Ian. And for some reason, despite the Chinese shoppers forming about 60% of Bicester Village trade, noone in the local papers or the council every seems to take note of relevant news stories coming out of China. e.g. 1) Luxury goods are highly taxed in China and that is why Bicester Village is attractive to the Chinese. This could change at any time. 2) The Chinese leadership recently announced that it would no longer be socially acceptable for Chinese business people do practice luxury gift-giving to oil business networking. And these are just two minor stories coming out of China that I've noticed recently in the media without paying any particular attention. So I ask myself if Bicester is balancing on a great big bubble as precarious as the housing market was pre-2008. If it is, then with this dicey strategy we could lose everything overnight and end up like Bracknell, with little to show for ourselves but endless hairdressers punctuated by charity shops (sorry Bracknell, but the only difference in our fate seems to have been J9 of the M40 which in turn created Bicester Village, which is heavily reliant on Chinese luxury consumers). What Sainsburys promised us was substance, without it we will remain a ring donut. Elephant101
  • Score: 1

12:03pm Sun 6 Jan 13

Severian says...

What an awful position Cherwell Councillors were in! They have bent over backwards to give Bicester Village whatever they want no matter what the damage to Bicester has been, but at the same time they have bent over backwards to give Sainsbury's whatever they want. Something had to go wrong and this was it.

At least now we know which are the most important partners.

Personally I welcome a new Tescos, because the one we have at present is appalling at best. Unfortunately I can't see how the new plan is going to relieve the traffic problems at BV - there will be even more visitors, hardly any more parking and more shops. Shoppers at the new Tesco will still have to drive over a blocked roundabout to get there, AND join the BV queue to get out of Tesco.

Looking at the plans it seems that the best route to the new store will be to cut through the new Kingsmere estate. I'm sure the new residents will be very pleased about that!
What an awful position Cherwell Councillors were in! They have bent over backwards to give Bicester Village whatever they want no matter what the damage to Bicester has been, but at the same time they have bent over backwards to give Sainsbury's whatever they want. Something had to go wrong and this was it. At least now we know which are the most important partners. Personally I welcome a new Tescos, because the one we have at present is appalling at best. Unfortunately I can't see how the new plan is going to relieve the traffic problems at BV - there will be even more visitors, hardly any more parking and more shops. Shoppers at the new Tesco will still have to drive over a blocked roundabout to get there, AND join the BV queue to get out of Tesco. Looking at the plans it seems that the best route to the new store will be to cut through the new Kingsmere estate. I'm sure the new residents will be very pleased about that! Severian
  • Score: 0

7:35pm Mon 7 Jan 13

fortunanet says...

Some people seem to forget that Tesco has had a monopoly for the past 10 years that I know of and what have we got from it? Well on Friday petrol was 5p a litre cheaper at Tesco Banbury than at Tesco Bicester. Tesco has not been in any rush to improve either the big store of the town centre store in the past few years. How many times have you seen special offers with no stock on the shelves - I think if I had just put £79 Million into building a new town centre then be told there is going to be a new store then I would be a bit miffed. I would also be interested in who on the Council was pushing it through.
Some people seem to forget that Tesco has had a monopoly for the past 10 years that I know of and what have we got from it? Well on Friday petrol was 5p a litre cheaper at Tesco Banbury than at Tesco Bicester. Tesco has not been in any rush to improve either the big store of the town centre store in the past few years. How many times have you seen special offers with no stock on the shelves - I think if I had just put £79 Million into building a new town centre then be told there is going to be a new store then I would be a bit miffed. I would also be interested in who on the Council was pushing it through. fortunanet
  • Score: 1

9:26am Thu 10 Jan 13

Nick Mawer says...

Personally I am not a supporter of the planned expansion of Bicester Village or Tesco. However, there are a lot of people, especially on the FB Group "I hate Bicester Village Traffic" who are absolutely delighted by this decision. Councillors have been under a lot of pressure to relieve the traffic situation in Bicester, where roads have been blocked by inconsiderate BV shoppers leading to issues for the emergency services, and severe inconvenience for some residents.
Finally Fortunanet - you are being a bit unfair to Tesco, as they have tried in the past to expand, but their last attempt was turned down by the then Secretary of State, as it failed to pass what is known as the "sequential test". As this latest decision is also being referred to the Secretary of State the outcome is still not certain. To pass the sequential test in the past, the applicant needed to show that there was insufficient capacity in the existing neighbourhood.
Personally I am not a supporter of the planned expansion of Bicester Village or Tesco. However, there are a lot of people, especially on the FB Group "I hate Bicester Village Traffic" who are absolutely delighted by this decision. Councillors have been under a lot of pressure to relieve the traffic situation in Bicester, where roads have been blocked by inconsiderate BV shoppers leading to issues for the emergency services, and severe inconvenience for some residents. Finally Fortunanet - you are being a bit unfair to Tesco, as they have tried in the past to expand, but their last attempt was turned down by the then Secretary of State, as it failed to pass what is known as the "sequential test". As this latest decision is also being referred to the Secretary of State the outcome is still not certain. To pass the sequential test in the past, the applicant needed to show that there was insufficient capacity in the existing neighbourhood. Nick Mawer
  • Score: 0

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