Vision of the final phase

Bicester Advertiser: An artists impression of how the new building will look An artists impression of how the new building will look

THIS image is the first glimpse of what Bicester’s £5m new civic building could look like.

The development is the second and final phase of the £70m town centre redevelopment.

It includes a 53-bedroom Travelodge Hotel, a Bicester office for Cherwell District Council, a library, as well as office and retail units over the Franklins Yard car park.

For the first time, Bicester Local History Society will have a permanent display area within the library.

The proposals, put forward by Cherwell District Council, will go out to public consultation on Thursday and Friday, January 16 and 17, at the Pop In Centre, Pioneer Square, in Manorsfield Road, between noon and 6.30pm.

A planning application is expected to be submitted in February, and, if approved, work could start in May. It would take about a year to complete.

Cherwell’s estates and economy chief, Norman Bolster, said: “The Bicester Community Building is the final stage of the town centre regeneration project.

“We have worked hard to strike a balance, so the new building will complement and enhance both the modern Pioneer Square development and Bicester’s Old Town, while providing a hub for services and business.

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“While we are satisfied this project will achieve these objectives, we want to encourage as many residents, traders and visitors to see the plans and give us their views, so we can be confident this new building will meet the needs of the community it has been designed to serve.”

The five-storey building will face the Wesley Lane/Wesley Square and Pioneer Square.

The ground floor will include offices for solicitors Brethertons and Cherwell District Council, as well as a restaurant and shops.

The first floor will house the new library, including space for the history society, and further office space – some also occupied by Brethertons.

The Travelodge will take up the third and fourth floors.

There will be no new parking spaces, as the building has been designed to use the town’s existing car parks. Bob Hessian, chairman of Bicester Local History Society, said: “From the society’s point of view, it’s great news. It’s the start of a bigger and better presence for us.”

He said the society hoped to work with the library to integrate some of its items — mainly pictures, postcards and documents, into a reference section in the new library, as well as display items about the town’s history.

A Travelodge spokesman said: “We look forward to finalising arrangements with the council as quickly as we can, and so we can open a new hotel in the heart of Bicester.”

l The plans will also be available at the council’s office in Market Square until January 31. To comment online, view: consult.cherwell.gov.uk/ public/bcc

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