Learning shared as Bicester helps councils from across the country prepare for the future

Delegates from 15 councils across England have converged on Bicester to understand more about the projects being delivered in the town.

Published: Wednesday, 2nd October 2019

Some 58 guests, from as far away as Corby in Lancashire and Uttlesford in Essex, joined representatives of councils closer to Bicester, including Buckinghamshire County Council and Oxford City Council, on Thursday (26 September) for a whistle-stop tour of the town accompanied by workshops and guest speakers.

Leader of Cherwell District Council and chairman of Bicester Strategic Delivery Board Cllr Barry Wood was one of the speakers at the event, offering insight into the challenges the town has faced and how creative solutions have been found. 

Commenting after the event, Cllr Wood said: “It might be surprising to some, but Cherwell regularly gets requests from councils up and down the country to visit Bicester and learn a bit more about how we do things. Bicester is a rapidly growing town, but the way in which that development is happening is innovative and unique in many ways.

“From the self-build project at Graven Hill to the eco developments in North West Bicester, it is rare that so many creative schemes occur in the same place. Add to that the community projects such as Healthy Bicester and the supported housing developed by Cherwell, you can understand why other councils are taking time out of their busy schedules to come to Bicester and take home some hints and tips.”

Delegates were given guided tours of the zero-carbon community in Elmsbrook in North West Bicester. Developed by A2 Dominion, each home has been built to high energy efficiency standards with photovoltaic solar panels adorning every roof. They were also shown the newly opened Eco Business Centre on the development, offering a state of the art working space in the first non-domestic building to achieve Passivhaus Plus in the UK.

A further visit was given to Graven Hill, as featured in Channel 4’s Grand Designs – The Street, providing an alternative solution to house building. The site offers owners a plot of land with pre-plumbed services, giving them the opportunity to create their own home from the ground up.