AFTER years in the pipeline, Bicester’s multi-million pound town centre redevelopment got underway this week.
Preparations began on Monday, with contractors moving equipment onto the redevelopment site to the rear of Sheep Street.
Part of the car park has already been closed, but major works are not due to start in earnest until Monday, June 30.
All work is set to be completed by the summer of 2013.
Councillor Norman Bolster, Cherwell District Council member for economic development, said: “We have worked extremely hard to get this scheme off the ground and it is very gratifying to see preparations being made for work to start.
“This is a very exciting time for Bicester and we want to make sure everyone has a chance to be involved in the development of their town.
“There will be difficulties but there will also be plenty of opportunities to make the next couple of years a positive experience with a fantastic end result.”
Work had been put on hold to help shopkeepers over the Christmas and new year period.
A seven-screen digital cinema is one of the highlights of the scheme.
Other key elements will include a large Sainsbury’s supermarket, new shops and restaurants, car parking and a new bus station.
Around 600 jobs are due to be created.
The project is a joint venture between Cherwell District Council, Sainsbury’s, and developers Stockdale Land.
Councillor Richard Mould, chairman of Bicester Town Council’s planning committee, said: “I think it’s brilliant to see it actually progressing.
“We saw the start last year with the movement of the stream, and this will confirm that Bicester is moving forward.”