NW Bicester deal ‘by end of March’

View of NW Bicester first phase
View of NW Bicester first phase

WORK could soon begin on the first phase of the proposed North West Bicester eco-town following a report that a key legal agreement is set to be signed within weeks.

Plans to build the initial 394-home phase of the 5,000-home eco-town on farmland near Caversfield were approved in principle back in August.

But members of Cherwell District Council’s planning committee would not grant planning permission until an agreement had been signed over developer P3Eco’s contributions to local infrastructure.

The agreement is now set to be signed within weeks, it was reported last Thursday, paving the way for permission to be granted.

Councillor Lawrie Stratford, of Bicester East, expressed concern over the continuing lack of a masterplan for NW Bicester.

He said: “When they came to us, many of us expected a masterplan for the whole site, and many of us were reluctant to give permission for 400 houses on a green field removed from the town.

“We were assured a masterplan was on its way, and Mr Inshaw kept coming up with different dates.

“I was therefore staggered at a meeting in the John Paul II Centre a few months back when we were discussing the Bicester masterplan, a P3Eco rep stood up and blamed the Bicester masterplan for delaying their own masterplan for the site, and almost implying they would have to go back to square one.”

He added: “It reinforces my concerns about how this is being project managed by the developer.”

Tony Walton, a member of the BaECON (Bicester Against Eco Con) group, said the group still hopes to field candidates to fight eco-town plans in the May local elections.

But he said any candidates would have to stand as independents after being told by the Electoral Commission they must register as a political party if they want to use the BaECON name on ballot forms.