Business park ‘will bring in 1,500 jobs’

Aerial shot of the new �80million business park, Network Bicester, at the junction of Vendee Road and Howes Lane
Aerial shot of the new �80million business park, Network Bicester, at the junction of Vendee Road and Howes Lane

PLANS for a new £80million business park for Bicester, which could create more than 1,500 jobs, have been unveiled this week.

Developer Albion Land announced its proposals for a 50-acre site at the junction of the new south west Bicester perimeter road, Vendee Drive and Howes Lane, which will provide 800,000sqft of space for businesses in manufacturing, distribution and research and development sectors.

Called Network Bicester, the site has been earmarked by Cherwell District Council for employment uses and is close to the new Kingsmere development.

Albion Land director Simon Parsons said: “The development would bring a much-needed boost to Bicester’s economy. Bicester has been overlooked by major employers recently due to the lack of available employment land in the town. Large employment based requirements have instead focused on new developments in towns such as Banbury, Milton Keynes, Abingdon and Warwick.”

An application for outline planning consent is expected to be submitted to Cherwell District Council in early June.

Mr Parsons said the town had ‘suffered’ in recent years because ‘it has not been able to offer viable relocation options to large, modern employment occupiers’ and if the business park was approved, it would go some way to addressing that.

He added the firm had already spoken to several local and international companies which were interested in the development.

Responding to the announcement on the Facebook group for the Bicester Business Network, Ben Jackson, chairman of the Bicester Chamber of Commerce, said the new business park was much needed.

“If Bicester is to have up to 9,500 more houses it must have growth in the employment spaces or options available and this could deliver that.

“If it happens it will once again raise the profile of the town as a place for businesses to come to and increase the interest in existing commercial property. As a retailer once said to me, shoppers come where there is choice and choice means competition. I want more choice in Bicester, then the shoppers will come - same rules apply.”

According to the Cherwell Local Development Framework, the town needs to make itself more attractive to new businesses, particularly high tech companies. It also says some of Bicester’s employment areas need rejuvenation with a greater range of employment space required.