Councillors have approved a £160,000 deal for a new eco cafe in Garth Park, bringing the project a giant step closer to reality.
The New Factory, based in Milton Keynes, has been chosen to build and deliver catering at the high-tech eatery on the former Eco Bicester demonstration house site adjacent to Bicester Town Council’s offices.
Richard Mould, chairman of BTC’s policy committee, said: “It was a unanimous vote and everybody is extremely excited about what it can offer.
“The park is so well used and the location of the cafe is close to the children’s play area.
“It is a very good package, it basically means we will pay for the building and they [The New Factory]will lease it back from us.”
The timber building will be prefabricated and assembled on site. It will seat about 90 people and is set to showcase new green technology. Bicester-based manufacturer Zeta will install l lighting and solar panels, while heat generated by cooking and food preparation will be recirculated into the central heating system.
The scheme includes plans for new public toilets using rain and recycled water.
Mr Mould said the new cafe would be a vital step towards Garth Park achieving Green Flag status, which it has so far missed out on because of the decrepit state of the existing toilets and the current lack of on-site catering in the park.
He added: “We wanted to reflect the green credentials of Bicester and some of the technology in this building could be installed in people’s own homes.”
Mr Mould said there were plans to open up an artisan bakery in the cafe, while a separate meeting area will be available to hire for weddings and events.
Joint-owner of The New Factory, Tom Shea, said the project would aim to be as environmentally friendly as possible. He said: “We are looking forward to getting on site as soon as possible, hopefully by the back end of the year. Building the cafe on site cuts building time enormously and means we can be more economical with our materials.”
A planning application is expected to be submitted to Cherwell District Council this summer.