BICESTER’S bid to become the site for the country’s first green bank is gathering support.

Town MP Tony Baldry sent a letter backing the bid to host the bank saying the town’s eco status and strategic location meant Bicester was the perfect choice.

In 2009 Bicester was selected as one of four sites for an ecotown and over the next 30 years 5,000 homes are expected to be built at farmland in North West Bicester.

Earlier Cherwell District Council submitted an application to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to be considered and was announced as one of 32 towns and cities on the shortlist.

Others bidding for the bank include London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

The Government says the Green Investment Bank, GIB, would play a key role in its move towards a green economy.

Its first priority would be to encourage private firms to invest in initiatives such as offshore windfarms, energy from waste and recycling projects.

The move could also create jobs.

Mr Baldry’s letter said the whole of Bicester was becoming a showcase for ‘green investment’ He said: “A showcase sustainable building could be built for the GIB to enable the bank to operate efficiently.

“Bicester’s strategic location between London and Birmingham and Oxford and Milton Keynes will not only help the GIB and its ability to recruit and retain staff, it will also visibly become a sign the Government is leading by example in investing throughout the country.

“By virtue of its efficient rail and road networks, skilled workforce and access to green companies from universities and research facilities at Science Vale, GIB would become integral to the country’s economic growth.”

Norman Bolster, Cherwell District Council’s lead member for estates, said: “This would fit perfectly with eco-Bicester’s aims.

“We must remember we are up against some big hitters but we’ve put forward a very strong case and we’re in with a chance.”

Business secretary Vince Cable, said: “I want to set up the bank as soon as possible, so it can start accelerating investments in these key sectors.”

Mr Cable is expected to make a decision next month.