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New £80m business park plans revealed
PLANS were last night unveiled for a new £80m business park in Bicester set to create 1,500 jobs.
The 50-acre business park – called Network Bicester – aims to provide space for major employers in manufacturing, distribution and research and development.
The park would be built on land allocated for employment use at the junction of the newly-opened perimeter road Vendee Drive and Howes Lane.
It follows hot on the heels of the announcement that the expansion of Tesco and Bicester Village should kick-start the development of a 500,000sq ft Bicester Business Park near the A41.
The news was yesterday given a cautious welcome by politicians and business leaders in the town.
Bicester MP Tony Baldry said: “A lot is happening in Bicester which is very exciting.
“It is one of the fastest growing towns in England and it is really important we do as much as we can to find space for jobs.
“One of the considerations is that if Bicester is expanding then what direction is it going in and what impact will it have on local communities such as Chesterton which is a few tree lines away.
“It is up to Cherwell District Council to address these concerns.”
But Ben Jackson, chairman of the Bicester Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is very welcome.
“We have already identified Bicester needs 200 acres more of development and employment land to make sure business growth matches residential growth.
“It is not too much as there are almost 5,000 homes being built and there needs to be one job per household, so we are getting there.”
The new development will be close to the new Kingsmere Village site where 1,600 homes are due to be built and will also be close to Chesterton.
The site would be developed with up to 800,000 sq ft of buildings with units ranging from 80,000 sq ft to 200,000 sq ft.
An application for outline planning consent is expected to be submitted to Cherwell District Council in early June.
The plans have been revealed by property developer Albion Land.
Director Simon Parsons said: “Bicester is regularly on the ‘hit list’ for many major employers but that disappears when there is nowhere for them to go.
“Some companies such as car parts supplier First Line have moved to Banbury from Bicester because they can’t expand locally.
“But now we are already talking to some big names looking to move to the new site.”
Bicester’s growth has already seen supermarket chain Aldi opening its doors in Launton Road, following hardware firm Wilkinsons, which took a prime town centre spot, and Lidl.
A Premier Inn hotel is also waiting for planning approval on land at Kingsmere. And Unipart Automotive is set to move its operation from Cowley to Bicester later this year.
Construction of the new £70m town centre, is under way and expected to open next summer.