Town centre revamp is all running to plan

The Oxford Times: An aerial picture showing the scale of the development between Manorsfield Road and Sheep Street An aerial picture showing the scale of the development between Manorsfield Road and Sheep Street

BICESTER’S £70m town centre redevelopment is on target as its owners work to attract “high quality” stores to the town.

The skeleton of a new Sainsbury’s supermarket, a seven-screen cinema, shops and car park is now in place.

Work is continuing on the brickwork, windows and walls.

This week, joint project partners Cherwell District Council and supermarket giant Sainsbury’s confirmed the retail units and refurbished shops in Crown Walk are about to be marketed.

Meanwhile Vue Cinemas, which bought out Apollo Cinemas earlier this year, has applied for a premises licence to run the Bure Place cinema.

Work has started to repave Crown Walk, off Sheep Street, which will link into the new development.

The flooring in the 50,000 sq ft supermarket is due to be laid in the next fortnight.

A total of 15 new units and smaller kiosks will be put on the lettings market, along with refurbished shops in Crown Walk.

Tim Watkins, Sainsbury’s regional development executive, said: “These new retail units are a central part of the biggest single investment in the town centre.

“Both Sainsbury’s and the council are really looking forward to welcoming some exciting new retailers.

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“We have already had a number of expressions of interest and we hope to be able to make more announcements.”

Norman Bolster, Cherwell’s lead member for estates and the economy, said: “Work is progressing well and the buildings are really taking shape.

“I think anyone visiting Bicester will be impressed by the scale of the development and the level of investment being pumped into the town centre.

“We are now at a stage where we can begin to market the smaller retail units. There are already some great stores in Bicester and our aim is to ensure that those opening in Bure Place will complement the existing retail offer, encouraging shoppers along a circular route through the town centre.”

Vue’s licence application includes provision for live entertainment, the sale of alcohol until 2.30am and late night refreshments.

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