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A FORMER RAF flying base is opening its doors to the public for what is believed to be the first time in nearly a century.

Bicester Heritage, the new owners of the former RAF flying base in Buckingham Road, will allow 100 people in on Sunday.

Managing director Dan Geoghegan said it may be the first time since 1916, when the base was first established, that residents have been able to step foot on the site.

People need to register for the Sunday Brunch Scramble, which will allow people a look behind the scenes of the base as well as to get up close to classic cars, motorbikes, gliders and powered aircraft. Brunch will be served in the Scramble Cafe.

Mr Geoghegan said people will be able to see for themselves the last “intact” bomber station of its period.

He said: “This is the first opportunity for the public to take a look at the former RAF Bicester for almost 100 years since its first establishment in 1916.

“It’s a chance to see the first phase of regeneration and then watch it gather pace and be restored over the coming years.

“People will see how a national heritage asset can be brought back to life with a modern relevance, creating jobs, community interaction and the creation of the first international centre for historic vehicles maintenance and enjoyment.”

During the day the original scramble bell, which would have rang out to call servicemen to their aircraft, will be presented to Mr Geoghegan. It is currently held by 2507 (Bicester) Squadron ATC.

Mr Geoghegan’s vision for the site is to create a historic car and aviation business park while maintaining the historic feel of the base.

The main part of the base was built in 1926 and then extended in 1936. Nothing has been added since.

Regeneration of the site has already begun and Bicester Heritage has spent a further “seven figure” sum to restore five buildings to their former glory.

The parkland area surrounding the site has also been improved.

Phase two, to regenerate 10 more workshops, has started.

The renovation work has focussed on bringing the base back to its 1926 look and feel.

Mr Geoghegan said he and his team spent hundreds of hours researching the original colours, materials and designs for the restoration.

He said: “Over 200 hours went into the research of the correct colours. Plastic gutters have been replaced by cast iron and rotten windows have been replaced with identical ones.”

In 2013 the site was sold to consortium Bicester Heritage for £3.25m.

There will be another chance to go on-site on August 10, and then again on October 5.

To register, email ta@bicesterheritage.co.uk

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