BICESTER'S Traffic Action Group has stood by its concerns over the impact on traffic a new retail park will bring.

The community group are not convinced the added parking spaces and road improvements will do enough to cater to the expected traffic growth.

It comes as Bicester Town council welcomed the plans for Bicester Gateway retail park - where Marks and Spencer and Next would be built on the edge of town off Oxford Road along with more shops, a restaurant and a gym.

In a meeting, councillor Richard Mould dubbed the proposal 'Bicester's Marmite' and said it is going to split opinion.

He added that although the council believed the town would benefit it understood the worries over the traffic impact as well as the impact on traders in the town centre.

Councillors originally rejected the plans the first time it was submitted in October 2015 but revised plans include a third lane heading inbound plus about 100 extra parking spaces on top of the original 225 which developers Consolidated Property Group say will solve the problem.

Bicester TAG member Gerry Harvey said as a qualified highways engineer the current works being carried out on the A41 will be insufficient by 2024.

He added: "While accepting that Bicester needs store of this calibre we do not accept that this site is the right location given the additional traffic this will bring.

"Should you be minded not to object to this proposal we would remind you that Oxfordshire County Council, as highway authority, did not object to the previous application subsequently refused [at appeal] on highway grounds the Transport Assessment was found to be flawed by three independent consultants."

"We would ask therefore that you seek assurances from OCC that this time they have got it right."

On the other side of the debate are members of the Kingsmere Residents Association, who as neighbours of the proposed site, are supporting plans.

One member said: "We are in favour of the retail park as something really needed in Bicester.

"The Government objective is to make Bicester a Garden Town so this supports that as the population increases and less people will have to travel out of town for shopping.

"I don't see that there will be any problems with traffic because they have increased the parking spaces. Improvements are already being made and since last year we haven't seen any problems."

The response will be put to Cherwell District Council for a decision to be made before April 10.

Consolidated Property Group have submitted a further amendment but the details are not yet known.