North West Bicester history

The vision for the development of Bicester into a town with better facilities for everyone has emerged since 2007. The following timeline is the journey that has been taken by residents, businesses and local authorities in that time.

Diagram showing history of NW Bicester


July 2007

Eco-towns are proposed by Government

In July 2007 the Government launched the Eco-towns Prospectus 2007 (.pdf format, 603Kb) together with a housing green paper. The aim was to invite local authorities to make bids for funding for large scale zero carbon eco-towns that promoted eco-friendly living as well as high quality design and architecture.

October 2007

Developers and local authorities propose locations for eco-towns

In October 2007, 57 bids were received from developers and local authorities. These bids went forward to a cross governmental review across a number of government departments, plus the statutory consultees such as Environment Agency and Natural England.

April 2008

Western Otmoor shortlisted as a potential site for an eco-town

In Aprill 2008 Western Otmoor was one of 15 short-listed sites in a proposal by Partridge Holdings Ltd. At the same time the standards for eco-town developments were indicated in a government paper Eco-towns – living a greener future (.pdf format, 1.7MB).

July 2008

Two reports on the eco-town expert panel published indicating where each location needs improvement.

Eco-towns – living a greener future (.pdf format, 1.7MB) published, indicating improved standards and further detail on the shortlisted locations. SEA and appropriate assessment scoping reports published.

November 2008

Eco-towns PPS and draft sustainability appraisal and habitats regulations assessment published. This contains our suggested alternative at north west Bicester. Consultation closed on 30 April 2009.

December 2008

Concept of eco town NW Bicester investigated

In December 2008 Cherwell District Council commissioned independent consultants Halcrow to establish whether the concept of an eco town at NW Bicester is practical and viable.

January 2009

Impact of an eco-town at Western Otmoor investigated

The local authorities commissioned Impact studies to find out how an Eco-Town at Western Otmoor of 15,000 homes would effect the surrounding villages and towns. The studies were as follows:

  • Socio economic study of the impact of the Weston Otmoor eco town
  • Water cycle study
  • Landscape and landscape assessment
  • Ecological study

As a result of these studies local authorities agreed that the impact on Bicester and surrounding villages would be detrimental and so they opposed this proposal in a letter. The letter highlighted concerns raised by the town, district and county councils, particularly in respect of transport.

The studies and letters can be downloaded from the Cherwell District Council website.

In promoting NW Bicester we placed some caveats on our support, summarised in the Ten Point Plan for Bicester (.pdf format, 95Kb).

July 2009

Planning policy standards were published and set a framework for the future development of NW Bicester.

November 2010

Phase 1 Exemplar planning application for the first 394 homes submitted by A2Dominion to Cherwell District Council.

May 2014

Phase 1 Exemplar start on site.

May 2014

Masterplan submitted by A2Dominion.

March 2015

Resolution to grant planning permission for 2,600 houses on the masterplan site.

Ongoing - applications submitted for determination

Details of the applications submitted to Cherwell District Council for determination can be found on the Outline Planning Applications page.