Now at capacity with 40 specialists, the next stage in the overall vision of Bicester Heritage as a unique home for automotive past, present and future has been announced to create 70,000 ft2 of brand new buildings to create the ‘New Technical Site’. The exceptional demand for showroom, workshop, office and apprenticeship facilities at the once ‘at risk’ historic site of former RAF Bicester drives the latest phase.
Plans have been unanimously approved by Cherwell District Council’s planning committee for the construction of eight new buildings with a combined total footprint of 70,000 square feet. Named the ‘New Technical Site’, this section shall be the base for an extension to the existing engineering, sales, office and apprenticeship hub, providing much needed space for skilled businesses in the historic motoring arena.
Designed as integral to the historic site, and with access via the existing Main Entrance, each modern commercial unit has been designed to be strictly in- keeping with the historic aesthetic of the existing structures, with large amounts of similar materials resonating with the restored buildings of the historic Technical Site which the new development shall sit adjacent to.
The New Technical Site development will further cement Bicester Heritage as the National Centre for Historic Motoring Excellence, now that the early 20th century buildings of the former RAF Bomber Station have been restored to create the world’s first and only centre for the historic motoring industry.
With the historic Technical Site now at full capacity with 40 tenants, the addition of this development will not only provide further skilled employment but also expand the plethora of engineering, showroom and workshop based skillsets already found on site. The New Technical Site borders Skimmingdish Lane on the north edge of the Bicester ring road, and is integrated to the ‘marina-like’ business cluster of Bicester Heritage.
With unbeatable transport links on the doorstep and class-leading events, the New Technical Site development is a clear commitment to the future of the historic motoring industry.
The news of this latest round of successful planning comes on the back of the unanimous approval for a landmark 344 bedroom hotel, conference and leisure centre at the Bicester Heritage site. The hotel will encourage a wide range of visitors to Oxfordshire across the business and leisure sectors increasing dwell time in the area significantly, as well as bringing in a projected 250,000 visitors per annum and creating an estimated 180 full time jobs. Its scale will put it amongst the top 15 largest hotels outside of London, answering the question of under-supply in the regional hotel sector.
Dan Geoghegan, Managing Director of Bicester Heritage, commented “We have been at capacity for some time and are very much looking forward to being able to welcome businesses wishing to benefit from the ‘Bicester Heritage effect’, providing business synergies as well as a modern-day quality experience that enthusiasts and their families demand”.
“With the impressive growth of a number of existing specialists here, we expect the units to cater for their expansion, whilst also being able to welcome a new cadre of class leading companies. An additional 10 businesses are expected once works are completed.’
Cllr Colin Clarke, lead member for Cherwell District Council Planning, said “The approval of these new buildings is great news for opportunity and growth in our district. Knowledge-driven and led by technology, the businesses based at Bicester Heritage do a great job attracting visitors and providing professional opportunities for local people.
“With this track record in mind, the extension of Bicester Heritage’s technical site onto a disused area of land makes perfect sense. It will mean successful companies already based there can expand without relocating and it supports the wider corridor of motoring and aviation engineering in our district.”
Cllr Debbie Pickford commented “I cannot think of anything that would be more welcome for the Bicester and Cherwell area”, whilst her colleague Cllr Leslie Sibley, said that this project was a “fantastic opportunity for Bicester….we need more developments like this.”