March decision on buying army land for homes

Bicester Advertiser: Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, right, with Prime Minister David Cameron Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, right, with Prime Minister David Cameron

COUNCILLORS are expected to make a decision over whether to buy surplus Ministry of Defence (MoD) land at Graven Hill, by March.

Currently Cherwell District Council is going through a due-diligence process to buy the site in Bicester and create the UK’s largest self-build estate.

The MoD was given planning approval to build 1,900 homes at the site, as well as a school, shops and land for businesses last April.

It was also given permission to build a 70,400-square metre warehouse to consolidate Bicester Defence Storage and Distribution operations.

A report for the council’s executive to consider says: “Due diligence is continuing with good progress being made on the various work streams and both parties (CDC and MoD) are working towards the end of the financial year as target date to achieve exchange of contracts.”

It is understood the council plans to use some of its reserves and loans to pay for the multi-million site.

Previously the council had raised concerns that tank transporters could start driving through the planned new estate when 1 Close Support Regiment moves to St David’s Barracks, also at Graven Hill, by 2016.

But Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said there had been a “miscommunication and misunderstanding” by the council.

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The executive will meet to discuss the report at 6.30pm this evening at the Cherwell District Council, Bodicote House, Banbury.

Comments (1)

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2:35pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Severian says...

As someone who lived on a self-build estate (although on a much smaller scale) this could be a very exciting development for Bicester.

This is anything but a trivial project, but the idea that people could be trained to build themselves a house which they couldn't afford otherwise would be very great news.

1,900 though is an enormous amount of property to build - I suggest the council build some for sake for profit, and use those costs to offset the self-build costs, making the affordable homes even more affordable. I look forward to the decision with interest.
As someone who lived on a self-build estate (although on a much smaller scale) this could be a very exciting development for Bicester. This is anything but a trivial project, but the idea that people could be trained to build themselves a house which they couldn't afford otherwise would be very great news. 1,900 though is an enormous amount of property to build - I suggest the council build some for sake for profit, and use those costs to offset the self-build costs, making the affordable homes even more affordable. I look forward to the decision with interest. Severian

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