Innovative technology cluster could bring new jobs to Bicester

Plans to expand the existing business activities at the former RAF Bicester to create a “world leading” centre for motoring excellence have come a step closer to reality. 

Published: Friday, 17th July 2020

On Thursday 16 July, an online meeting of Cherwell District Council’s planning committee approved outline planning permission for the new development. The applicant, Bicester Motion, wants to add to its existing motor heritage facilities with a new innovation and technology centre, geared towards the future of the motor industry. 

The new buildings would bring up to 21,994 square metres of additional floor space to the site, to allow businesses to showcase their research and technology to the public.

Cllr Colin Clarke, lead member for planning, said: “The existing Bicester Motion facility already supports hundreds of jobs, and we would expect this further development to bring many more, building on Bicester’s firm ties to the motor industry.

“We look forward to scrutinising the proposal further, but at this stage, all the indications are that it would be a high-quality environment for workers and visitors, boosting Bicester’s economy whilst protecting the site’s historic identity as a former RAF airfield.

“While this application looks towards to the future of the motor industry, it will also need to respect the historic and natural environmental context of the site. We have also sought independent advice on the impact of the proposal on the existing gliding activities at the airfield. The council is supportive of gliding continuing at the airfield, and the expert advice is clear that gliding would be able to continue there should this new development go ahead.” 

The new employment buildings would serve a mix of uses, including offices, storage, display and sales.

The outline planning permission is subject to conditions, including a legal agreement covering planning obligations such as improvements to local roads, and renewable energy plans. A “reserved matters” application, detailing the design and layout of the buildings, will need to be received and determined before work can begin.