‘Hugely exciting’ garden city plans impress minister

Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis (left) with Cherwell District Council leader Barry Wood
Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis (left) with Cherwell District Council leader Barry Wood

The government minister for housing and planning has described Bicester’s proposed expansion into a garden city as ‘hugely exciting’.

Brandon Lewis toured the town as he met with Cherwell District Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and A2Dominion - the developers behind North West Bicester.

It was his first visit to Bicester since his appointment earlier this year and since the town was announced as the government’s second garden city.

Mr Lewis said: “The plans I’ve seen for Bicester are hugely exciting, providing the homes we need at the quality we want to see.

“I look forward to seeing how these plans are further developed to help create a whole new community in Bicester.

“It’s impressive to see a local authority with the vision and determination to deliver homes for the future, but also a community that the town can be proud of.”

The MP took a tour of the town to see the key development sites which will provide 13,000 new homes and 21,500 new jobs.

The tour began at the Exemplar site of North West Bicester, which will deliver 393 of the site’s 6,000 true zero carbon homes.

He then travelled to the former Ministry of Defence site at Graven Hill which will be the setting for the UK’s largest self-build housing project of 1,900 homes.

Finally, Mr Lewis visited South West Bicester - known as Kingsmere - which is set to provide 2,468 new homes.

A2Dominion’s project director Steve Hornblow explained the development was currently the only UK scheme which would be true zero carbon and the only UK building site which has pledged to send no waste to landfill during construction.

Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council said: “It was good to have the Minister here to see first-hand what we are trying to achieve for Bicester.

“Garden city status will further enhance Bicester’s credentials as a great place to live, work and play.”