Record second quarter for start-ups in Bicester

Bicester town centre development.Steelwork for Sainsburys supermarket going up.'120412M-C168
Bicester town centre development.Steelwork for Sainsburys supermarket going up.'120412M-C168
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Business appears to be booming in Bicester despite tough trading conditions across the country, according to a new report.

The report, produced by company formation specialists Duport, says Bicester has had a record second quarter for new companies being formed.

In total, 98 new companies were formed, the report says, beating the previous record of 80 set in the second quarter of 2003.

Other established firms are in the process of relocating to the town, including Unipart Automotive, which is set to move its headquarters to Bicester in September.

Peter Valaitis, managing director of Duport, said: “Bicester is second to none in terms of location, transport links and business opportunities.

“Setting up a new company here just makes sense, as we can see from the record level of company formation in the last quarter.”

Planned improvements such as the new £70m town centre may be among the attractions for new and established firms.

Rail links are also due to improve over the next few years, with the Evergreen 3 Oxford to London link cutting the journey between Bicester and Oxford to 14 minutes.

And the western section of the East West Rail Link, which will connect Bicester and Oxford with Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire, could be open by 2017.

Councillor Norman Bolster, Cherwell District Council’s lead member for economic development, said: “There is a lot going on in Bicester and it is showing signs of bucking the trend.

“Bicester is now on most people’s maps.

“There is a tipping point in all these things and I think we have reached it. We have got large retailers and businesses interested in the town.”

A draft version of the Bicester masterplan, a new document to guide development over the next 20 years, has just been released by Cherwell District Council.

Duport Associates has been operating in the UK for around 15 years, and registers around 10,000 new companies each year.