Nearly £1.5 million has been awarded to Bicester to fund the first stage of delivering 13,000 homes and 21,500 jobs under its new Garden Town status.
Following Cherwell District Council’s succecssful bid for the town to obtain Garden Town status, the government has now confirmed it will award a total of £1.47 million to fund the necessary feasibility studies, which will guide the delivery of homes, jobs and supporting infrastructure as outlined in the council’s submitted Local Plan.
Councillor Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “This grant and the awarding of Garden Town status does not change the plans we had for Bicester, it simply gives us the funds and capacity to deliver them sooner.
“It will enable us to ensure the jobs, infrastructure and transport provisions are delivered alongside the homes to ensure the current and future residents of Bicester are supported in all aspects of their lives.”
The grant funding will be used to fund studies looking at issues such as green spaces, transport links and the possibility of a new motorway exit south of junction nine.
The findings from the study can be used to support additional bids for funding or capital grants to accelerate the work. Throughout the process Cherwell will work collaboratively with Bicester Town Council and Oxfordshire County Council.
The 13,000 homes will be delivered in two phases. The first will be in line with the Local Plan, which outlined the delivery of 10,000 homes at north west Bicester, Graven Hill and south west Bicester between 2014 and 2031.
The remaining 3,000 homes will then be built after the end of the Local Plan timeframe from 2031 onwards.
If new brownfield sites are identified in the future then this could result in the delivery of more homes.
Improved transport links include faster rail times on journeys travelling to Oxford and Milton Keynes through the East West Rail project.
Mr Wood added: “With so many large scale developments happening around Bicester, including Graven Hill, Kingsmere and North West Bicester, we want to ensure that they complement each other and the town’s existing residents.
“This funding will enable us to do just that by providing us with the means to look at the town and expansion of Bicester as a whole rather than in separate, disjointed chunks.”