Bicester’s 23 Pioneer Regiment is to be honoured with an entire town centre redevelopment.
The new town centre shopping area, including a Sainsbury’s supermarket, seven screen cinema and six new retail units, is to be named the Pioneer Centre.
The naming was suggested by Bicester Town Council and agreed by development partners Cherwell District Council and Sainsbury’s.
Lt Col David Clouston, commanding officer 23 Pioneer Regiment RLC, said: “The regiment feels both humbled and proud that the people of Bicester have honoured us by naming the new development the Pioneer Centre.
“The 23 Pioneer Regiment RLC has a long-established relationship with the town, recognised by the Freedom of the Borough bestowed upon us in July 2006.
“We feel at home in Bicester and are extremely grateful to everyone for making us so welcome and part of this thriving community.”
The news comes just months after it was announced the 600-strong regiment, which has had a presence in the town for 70 years, is to be disbanded.
Work on the Bicester town centre redevelopment is scheduled to be completed next summer, before the town says a final farewell to the troops.
Bicester Town councillor James Porter, said: “We’re absolutely delighted the new part of the town centre is going to be named the Pioneer Centre. It reflects the long-standing and excellent relationship we have had with 23 Pioneer Regiment.”
Steel structures of the new town centre buildings is in place and work is progressing on brick and stonework. The concrete floors of the new cinema and retail units are complete. The retail units are in the process of being marketed and further details about occupants will be announced in due course.
Norman Bolster, Cherwell’s councillor for estates and the economy, said: “I for one am proud to have the new town centre development associated with the Pioneer Regiment, showing appreciation for the efforts of our brave troops.”
Tim Watkins, regional development executive for Sainsbury’s, said, “I can’t think of a more appropriate name for this development, it is great that the Pioneer Regiment will be honoured in this way.”