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Racing chief reveals scheme for RAF base
Buy this photo » Adrian Reynard with the proposal he has submitted to the Ministry of Defence for the future development of RAF Bicester
FORMER motor racing boss Adrian Reynard has unveiled multi-million pound plans for the future of RAF Bicester.
Mr Reynard, 61, confirmed he was one of four shortlisted bidders vying to buy the former bomber airfield off Skimmingdish Lane.
If successful, the businessman says he will use his life savings to create an aviation and motorsport heritage centre on the 348-acre site.
Many of the buildings date back to the 1920s and 1930s, Under his proposal, Bomber Command Heritage (BCH), Chiltern Classic Aircraft and Bicester Gliding Club would all be involved in the project.
Units at the site would also be rented to local start-up businesses, who would pay a lower rent in return for restoring the buildings they lease.
Leisure facilities such as indoor go-kart racing and paintball wars are also on the cards.
Mr Reynard said: “My bid is based on the fact that this site will cost tens of millions of pounds to restore over a long period of time.
“I’m funding this out of my life savings, because I think it’s a really worthwhile thing to do.
“I would like to give something back to Bicester. The town has been very good for me for 40 years and I’m ready to put something back.”
Mr Reynard founded Reynard Motorsport in 1973 at a former undertaker’s premises in St John’s Street, which is now the site of the Reynard Court flats.
He said: “The aviation heritage objective is to attract as many operators as we have space for, while understanding that the airfield continues with gliding operations.
“However, that’s only part of it. The other thing Bicester is famous for is motor racing.
“So my plan would be to turn many of the buildings into a motor racing live museum.”
It would be housed in the former air station’s old motor maintenance area and would include a display of classic cars from the 1920s to 1940s, as well as modern racing cars.
Father-of-four Mr Reynard said: “I don’t plan for a static museum, I want it to be a live museum with aircraft being worked on and flown, and heritage racing cars worked on and driven around the perimeter track. This is a long-term restoration “The object is to transform this site into the same appearance it was in the 1940s as a Second World War RAF base.
“It may take 10 to 20 years to fulfil all the expectations.”
He said the immediate concern was to prevent the original RAF buildings from any further deterioration.
There has been interest in his project from the RAF Museum at Hendon, in London; the Historic Aircraft Association, and Cranfield and Oxford Brookes universities.
A trust would be set up to oversee the project, with four main aims: preservation of the buildings, an aviation museum, a motorsport heritage centre and support to start-up businesses and young people gaining employment.
It is understood the Ministry of Defence could select a preferred bidder by Christmas and complete the sale before the end of the financial year next March.