‘No housing’ for school site

GV of the Kingsmere housing development in Bicester.'110811M-A484
GV of the Kingsmere housing development in Bicester.'110811M-A484

LAND earmarked for a primary school in Bicester should not be used for housing, it was argued ahead of a meeting yesterday.

Bicester members of Cherwell District Council’s planning committee were due to discuss with colleagues whether to grant planning permission for 46 homes on the 3.4-acre plot of land opposite Middleton Stoney Road.

Before the meeting, Councillor Richard Mould, chairman of Bicester Town Council’s planning committee, said: “We certainly recommended that it should not be developed for housing.

“But if it’s not required for a primary school it should be used as amenity land, and could be used as allotments.”

The county council had planned for up to two primary schools as part of Countryside Properties’ new 1,585-home Kingsmere development in south-west Bicester, but decided a second school would be surplus to requirements.

Cllr Mould said the town council had made its position clear.

“From the town council’s point of view, we strongly object to it being developed for housing. We believe it should be returned as amenity land which we are desperately short of,” he said.

Cherwell District Council officers had recommended the plans for approval.

A similar application was rejected by councillors in March, leading to a public inquiry planned for next month.

Councillors had felt it was too early to permit more homes before the housing density, and therefore the need for a second primary school, was known.

Other infrastructure and amenities planned for the site include 40 acres of sports pitches and playing fields, a new neighbourhood centre, a ‘health village’ and a new secondary school.

No-one from Countryside Properties was immediately available for comment at the time of going to press.