OF ALL the luxury items unveiled at the opening of Bicester Village's expansion, a 22-year-old umbrella was the star of the show for the town mayor.

Mr Sibley bought along the old brolly he was given during the official opening of the designer outlet in Bicester 1995.

Mr Sibley proudly cut the ribbon to the new designer extension to the Village and his poignant umbrella proved successful in warding off the rain - just.

He said: "It is absolutely brilliant, it is a very special day and follows on from when I attended the formal opening of Bicester Village International Shopping Outlet - as it was known 22 years ago.

"Unemployment back then in Bicester was quite high, and along comes Bicester Village providing 300 jobs locally and now it employs about 4,000.

"Bicester Village has been a catalyst for bringing people in to Bicester and as a town we need to make sure we build on that."

Oxford Mail:

Today's opening unveiled more than 30 new boutiques at Bicester Village after months of work extending the outlet further up Pingle Drive.

New cafe The Secret Garden, luxury sports brand Under Armour and a new-and-improved Polo Ralph Lauren were among those opening in the expanded Village.

As well as Oxford's very own pottery queen Emma Bridgewater opening a shop in the outlet also.

The new shops bring the total to more than 160 at Bicester Village – almost a fifth bigger than before.

The expansion has also brought about 450 new jobs, bringing the total number of people employed at Bicester Village to about 4,000.

Bicester Village business director, Sarah-Jane Curtis, said: "We really are an integral part of the town and it is a partnership we have with Bicester, we have grown as the town has grown.

"We are lucky to have great partners locally at Cherwell District Council and other community groups who have all been very positive in their support.

"We have had our issues with parking etc but worked closely with people locally to resolve it."

The expansion includes an extra 450 parking spaces alongside a host of road improvements locally.

The entrance of the shopping outlet has been improved by widening the junction at Pingle Drive to include two lanes heading in to the village, as well as two lanes out.

A traffic-light led ‘tear-drop’ junction has also been built at this junction, with a hamburger-style roundabout created further up the road in the A41, with synced traffic lights.

It is hoped the works will help alleviate the strain of extra shoppers heading to Bicester Village and avoid problems many residents have experienced in the past.