WORK on the UK’s first eco-town in Bicester has officially started.

Developer A2Dominion confirmed yesterday final legal agreements and testing at the site were taking place ahead of bulldozers rumbling on to the land in mid-March.

In December, the firm secured 51 acres of farmland off the B4100, Banbury Road, for the first phase of 393 homes – 30 per cent of which will be affordable – an energy centre, eco business centre, pub, shops and school.

The Oxford Times:

  • An artist's impression of the development

Work on the energy centre – which will pump heat through underground pipes to homes – will start in July, and construction of the first homes should be under way in August.

Project director Steve Hornblow said he hoped the first show homes would be available for people to view from early 2015.

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A total of 94 homes will be built in the initial stage and the first occupants are expected to move into the first homes in April next year.

Homes will be carbon neutral, with solar panels to generate electricity, water harvesting facilities, triple glazing and better insulation to keep the buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer months.

Mr Hornblow said: “The feeling here is that A2 Dominion is proud to announce it has started work on the first eco-town in the UK.

“There will be some activity on site in the coming weeks, but the big machinery will be going on to site in mid March. It is very exciting.”

Mr Hornblow said there had been a lot of interest locally in the homes and from people as far afield as Cambridge and London.

He said: “We are confident there is a demand there for these type of houses. It’s becoming more prevalent that people are taking more of a view on where their energy is coming from, the cost of producing it and the cost of energy bills.


The Oxford Times:

  • An artist's impression of the development

“We want to approach sustainable living realistically, providing people with the tools to benefit from a real community environment, reduced home running costs and access to the latest green technologies.”

A2Dominion’s group chief commercial officer and deputy group chief executive, John Knevett, said: “NW Bicester will be an example to future developments in establishing sustainable new communities in the UK.

“We will create an outstanding living environment, which will provide exceptional quality of life for residents, without compromising the needs of our future generations.”

The Oxford Times:

  • Another artist's impression of the development

A masterplan for the entire site is expected to be submitted to Cherwell District Council during the spring.