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Fighting for the future of Bicester
BICESTER’S new champion, Karen Curtin, has set out her vision for the future of the town.
This week Miss Curtin, 39, who took on the role of Cherwell District Council’s “Bicester Director” in October, said top of the agenda was making “Bicester the place to be – to work, rest and play” for both current and future residents.
Miss Curtin, the council’s former head of finance, will dedicate all her time to guiding the development of the town.
In the past few months she has been getting to know the town and some of its prominent movers and shakers.
The role was created to oversee massive planned expansion across Bicester over the next 20 years.
Thousands of new homes are planned, including the North West Bicester eco-town, business parks and major transport infrastructure.
Over the next few months she plans to create a list of what exactly people want for the town.
Miss Curtin said: “I’m going to be Miss Bicester.
“The key thing about the role is making sure the planned growth is delivered.
“At the same time as we are creating demand, we want to make sure the residents who are already here have got a place where they are happy to continue to live.
“We want to make sure that there’s a good mix.
“It’s about promoting Bicester. It’s a marketing role as well as a project manager role. It’s getting things to happen.
“That’s what I pride myself in, getting things done. I have delivered big projects in the past. I want to make Bicester the place to be, to work, rest and play.”
Already on her radar is developing the town’s sports facilities – in addition to the planned sports village at Kingsmere – and finding new burial land.
In a presentation to town councillors on Monday, Miss Curtin said she would act as the conduit between Bicester and key stakeholders.
Councillors told her that residents must benefit from the town’s expansion.
Les Sibley wanted the town council to have a greater say in how developer funding is used.
He said: “If development is taking place in Bicester, surely Bicester should have a say in where that money is spent.”
Nick Mawer said: “There really has to be some real benefit of this development for the people of Bicester. It’s not just about sustainability for the district council.”
And James Porter said infrastructure in Bicester needed to keep pace with development.
Miss Curtin is also heavily involved in the Graven Hill project, the eco-town scheme and the town centre regeneration.
Cherwell is undergoing due-diligence at the MoD site and a recommendation on whether to buy Graven Hill is expected to be made to its executive in either February or March.
The site has approval for 1,900 homes and the council proposes to create the UK’s largest self-build estate.
To contact Miss Curtin, call 01295 252535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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