Help shape UK’s first eco-town

Wheat ripens on farmland earmarked for the proposed North West Bicester eco-town.
Wheat ripens on farmland earmarked for the proposed North West Bicester eco-town.
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Bicester people have a very real opportunity to shape the future of the country’s first eco-town, according to project developers A2 Dominion.

Last weekend A2Dominion welcomed around 400 people to a public consultation on the ground-breaking scheme to build around 1,000 homes to the north west of Bicester.

Residents were invited to give their feedback on ‘conceptual’ proposals and also have an input into what format green spaces and community facilities should take.

Steve Hornblow, project manager, said: “It was a chance for the public to view these initial ideas and start to make comments on what they thought of those ideas.”

The consultation, held on Friday and Saturday at Pioneer Square, in Bicester town centre, allowed residents to view the draft masterplan. This plan sets out the ‘skeleton layout’ of what will become the UK’s first eco-town.

Mr Hornblow explained: “The masterplan is stating, in principle, where the major roads are, where the employment centres are, where the village hubs will be, where the schools will be.

“It’s setting the basic principle of where everything goes so we can understand what people would like to see at this stage, so we can get the basics right before we move onto the more detailed planning.”

Comments already received were mostly positive, said Mr Hornblow, but there had been some concerns highlighted about ‘strategic transport’ issues and maintaining the high level of sustainability throughout the project.

The public has until January 2 to complete a questionnaire on all aspects of the site.

A2Dominion intends to use this feedback to make any amendments to the masterplan before submitting it to Cherwell District Council in spring of next year.

Bicester was designated as an eco-town site by the Government in 2008. The NW Bicester development aims to be the UK’s first project built to the highest environmental and sustainability standards.

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