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1,900 Bicester homes approved

Cherwell District Council has resolved to grant outline planning permission for a major residential redevelopment of two Oxfordshire sites owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).18 Apr 2013

The scheme will involve the demolition of existing industrial buildings on two sites at Upper Arncott and Graven Hill in Bicester to create 1,900 new homes as well as a local centre including a school, a community hall, shops, public open space and a MoD warehouse. Under the proposals, 30% of the new homes would be affordable.

The Council's planning officers said in their committee report (72-page / 438KB PDF) that the Council accepted that it cannot currently demonstrate that it has a five year housing land supply as required by the National Planning Policy Framework. They said that the Council recognised the proposed contribution towards affordable housing as a material consideration in favour of the proposal.

The report said that the Council considered that any potential impacts of the development could be mitigated and secured through suitable planning conditions and an appropriate Section 106 agreement. It said that negotiations on these were "progressing".

The Treasury published an Operational Efficiency Programme in 2008 in which it identified the option for the MoD to withdraw from the Graven Hill site in phases and redevelop the land at Upper Arncott to provide a "specifically designed, fit for purpose" logistics hub.

The Council said that construction of the scheme is not expected to start until 2015.