A vision of Bicester as best place to be

The Oxford Times: Karen Curtin Karen Curtin

BICESTER’S new champion Karen Curtin has set out her vision for the future of the town.

Miss Curtin, 39, who took on the role of Cherwell District Council’s Bicester director in October, said top of the agenda is making Bicester the “place to be – to work, rest and play” – for current and future residents.

Miss Curtin, the council’s former head of finance, will dedicate all her time to guiding the development of the town.

In the past few months she has been getting to know the town and some of its prominent movers and shakers.

The role was created to oversee massive planned expansion across the town over the next 20 years.

Thousands of new homes are planned, including the North West Bicester eco town, business parks and major transport links.

Over the next few months, she plans to create a list of things people want for the town.

Miss Curtin said: “I’m going to be Miss Bicester.

“The key thing about the role is making sure the growth that is coming is delivered.

“But at the same time as we are creating demand, we want to make sure the residents who are already here have got a place where they are happy to continue to live.

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“We want to make sure that there is a good mix.

“It’s about promoting Bicester. It’s a marketing role as well as a project manager role. It’s getting things to happen.

“That’s what I pride myself on, getting things done.

“I have delivered big projects in the past. I want to make Bicester the place to be, to work, rest and play.”

Already on her radar is developing the town’s sports facilities – in addition to the planned sports village at Kingsmere – and finding new burial land.

In a presentation to town councillors last Monday, Miss Curtin said she would act as the conduit between Bicester and key stakeholders.

Councillors told her residents must benefit from the town’s expansion.

Les Sibley said the town council should have a greater say in how developer funding is used.

He said: “If development is taking place in Bicester surely Bicester should have a say in where that money is spent.”

Nick Mawer said: “There has to be real benefit of this development for people of Bicester. It’s not just about sustainability for the district council.”

And James Porter said infrastructure in the town needed to keep pace with development.

Miss Curtin is also heavily involved in plans for the eco-town scheme, the town centre regeneration and housing on an MoD site at Graven Hill, near Bicester.

Cherwell is putting together its plans for the Mod site, and a recommendation whether to buy Graven Hill is expected to be made to its executive in either February or March. The site has approval for 1,900 homes and the UK’s largest self-build estate is planned.

To contact Miss Curtin, call 01295 252535 or email karen.curtin@ cherwell-dc.

gov.uk

What is planned for bicester

6,000 home eco town.
Proposed 1,900 self-build project developed by Cherwell District Council, as well as industrial space
Second phase of the town centre regeneration, community building, hotel, shops and library
Expansion of Bicester Village and relocation of Tesco
More than 2,000 homes planned for the Kingsmere estate. Work has begun.
Rail improvements on the Oxford/Bicester line and new Bicester Town Station
Re-opening of the East West rail link via Oxford, Bicester and Milton Keynes to Cambridge
Business parks planned for Howes Lane and land off the Oxford Road, A41, creating thousands of jobs
Redevelopment of RAF Bicester
Improvements at junctions nine and 10 of the M40

Comments (1)

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1:50pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Severian says...

It's very telling that the woman who has vowed to "fight for Bicester" was photographed in Banbury, where no doubt she will be based and where almost all decisions about the future of Bicester are taken.
It's very telling that the woman who has vowed to "fight for Bicester" was photographed in Banbury, where no doubt she will be based and where almost all decisions about the future of Bicester are taken. Severian

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