doc

PLANS to retain an eco demonstration house in Bicester for another year have been given short shrift by town councillors.

The house in Garth Park, which was originally given two years’ planning permission, was used to show the green technologies that will be installed in properties at the planned 5,000-home eco-town at North West Bicester.

But it has been branded a “blot on the landscape” by local people, who now want it removed.

Cherwell District Council has applied to extend the planning permission of the eco house for another year, from December 2012 when permission ran out.

Bicester town councillors say they want the house removed from the public park soon after the end of May when the lease runs out.

The town council does not receive rent or other payments, nor is it responsible for any utilities.

Chief officer Sue Mackrell said: “In simple terms Cherwell District Council is very well aware the lease arrangement expires at the end of May.

“We are working closely with them, prior to the end of May, to determine the exit strategy of the building.

“Planning permission ran out in December 2012 and it is currently there without permission, but they do have the lease arrangement to cover the period until the end of May. After the end of May they will be there as trespassers technically.”

Conservative councillor Richard Mould said the house was given planning permission because the eco project was still several years away from any demonstration buildings.

He said: “What the building has done is demonstrate to people what’s available and what they can do.

“A number of people have visited and taken up insulation offers and I think it has served its purpose.”

Labour’s Les Sibley said: “Now planning has been granted for the eco town exemplar and the first phase coming on stream, they should be given their marching orders come the end of May. The proper location for this house is where the houses are being built.”

Lynn Pratt, Conservative, said: “It has been a blot on the landscape since day one, it should be on the site where the houses are built.

“People like Kingsmere (developers) have not come along and said can we put a show house in your park. It should be removed as soon as possible.”

Cherwell District Council is expected to make a decision on the application by February 13.

  • A date has still to be set for work to start on the first phase of the eco town, at farmland off Banbury Road, which includes 393 homes, a eco pub and business centre