More homes for town in 20-year masterplan

Map of the Bicester area in the Cherwell Local Plan modifications. Map by Ordnance Survey PNL-141016-151520001
Map of the Bicester area in the Cherwell Local Plan modifications. Map by Ordnance Survey PNL-141016-151520001

Modifications to the master plan which will shape Bicester and the surrounding area over the next 20 years are set to be approved by Cherwell District Council on Monday.

The government planning inspectorate knocked back Cherwell’s draft Local Plan in June this year demanding it be re-written in line with increased government housing targets based on Strategic Housing Market Assessments (SHMA).

The re-drafted plan went out to consultation to collect the views of stakeholders on August 22, and modifications based on responses to the consultation will be presented to a full Cherwell council meeting on Monday which will decide whether to approve them.

Michael Gibbard, the council’s head of planning, said it is up to councillors whether to accept the amendments.

He said: “I would like to think the Local Plan as modified meets all outstanding conditions of national planning policy.”

The redrafted plan includes an additional 6,050 homes added to the original plan for 16,750 for the district between 2011 and 2031.

This includes 300 homes at Gavray Drive, which is home to rare wildlife meadows.

Proposed additions to sites already earmarked in the original local plan include an extra 200 homes at Graven Hill, an extra 1,100 homes at South East Bicester and an extra 1,600 homes for the former RAF base at Upper Heyford.

The number of homes earmarked for the North West Bicester eco-town has been increased from 5,000 homes to 6,000.

Originally, the plan was for 1,793 homes to be built before 2031, with the remainder to be built after, but this has now been increased to 3,293 homes.

Other major changes include extending employment sites at North East Bicester, Bicester Gateway and South East Bicester.

Groups consulted over the modifications include Bicester Town Council, Bicester Chamber of Commerce, Bicester Vision, South Northants Council, the Highways Agency and English Heritage.

If the district council approves the modifications, the plan will be resubmitted to the Planning Inspectorate on December 9.

A decision will then be made in March on whether the plan meets government standards before it can begin to be implemented.