Welcome for extra pubs and eateries in Bicester town centre

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Plans to boost the number of restaurants in Bicester’s new town centre were given the go-ahead on Thursday last week.

The developers of the new town centre had asked for permission to allow bars and restaurants to use some of the units earmarked for shops and offices.

At the meeting of Cherwell District Council’s planning committee last Thursday, development team leader Bob Duxbury said the change would affect the units nearest the doors of the new cinema.

He said there had already been interest from businesses keen to open restaurants or cafes in the units.

“We see this as being quite complementary to this town centre area,” added Mr Duxbury.

Before the plans were approved unanimously, Councillor Lawrie Stratford said he was encouraged by Mr Duxbury’s comments, adding: “We don’t need any more estate agents, we need something a bit more customer-friendly.”

The units, which had been earmarked for shops and professional or financial services, can now become restaurants or cafes, drinking establishments such as pubs and bars or hot food takeaways.

Planning officers said there were relatively few people living nearby, and that the units would be a good location for pubs and restaurants.

Ben Jackson, president of Bicester Chamber of Commerce, said: “The town centre needs an eclectic mix of unit occupiers.

“Increasing the range and scope of the units would be great.”

He added: “Empty units are no use to anyone, quite frankly, and will put people off the town centre.”