The year in Bicester started off with the news, welcomed by many, that planning on the new McDonald's had been approved.

Some residents had been clamouring for a local outlet of the fast food giant for years, albeit alongside concerns from others.

The new year also bought recognition for the longstanding former chief executive of Cherwell District Council Sue Smith.

Ms Smith made the New Years Honours list and received an MBE for services to local government after almost 40 years in the business.


This month saw the former St Edburg's Primary School get a fresh lick of paint from local arts charity OYAP and developers U+I and Adalta Real.

The former school building is now used by the charity for community events on a temporary basis.

February also bought about the first chance for residents to see plans for the new 600-pupil school to be built at Kingsmere.

The plans hoped to have the new school opened by September 2019 but delays since have put this date back a year.


Worries seeped in this month over fears for the future of the Bicester Foodbank and its rising costs.

The charity appealed for support from the local community as rental and running costs were taking over and managers struggled to keep everything going on piecemeal donations.

Meanwhile it was good news for another fledgling charity which hopes to build a new day support centre for adults with learning difficulties.

Rachael and Ian Hunter, who are hoping to build the Alexandra House of Joy in honour of their daughter, were gifted land worth close to £1million to build the new centre.


AN anonymous donation also overwhelmed the team at recycle and upcycle charity Bicester Green after they were targeted by burglars.

The group were struck over the Easter holidays, their base broken into and their till stolen. But in the months to follow they fundraised and a final anonymous donation helped them back on their feet.


The start of summer also brought shades of red and gold to north Oxfordshire's political map, as Labour and Lib Dems managed to win seats on Cherwell District Council at the local elections.

Overall, however, Cherwell remained 'solidly blue' in the words of Cherwell District Council leader Barry Wood.

In the same month the council was forced to back out of its partnership with South Northamptonshire District Council over the latter's financial crisis.

Cherwell instead picked up ties with Oxfordshire County Council and is working at the partnership plans still.


Once again, the summer saw thousands of petrolheads fill out Bicester Heritage amid the classic cars and air displays.

The annual Classic and Sports Car Show in association with Flywheel was dubbed a huge success and promised to return for 2019.

The month also saw the new plans for services on the M40 close to Junction 11 rejected.

Proposals would have seen a petrol station, service area, HGV parking, offices and warehouse built but there were concerns over there being 'no proven need'.


The summer saw victory for campaigners after a government inspector rejected a developer's bid to build on one of Bicester's last wild havens at Gavray Meadows.

Gallagher Estates launched a planning appeal after being refused planning for hundreds of homes to be built, but the inspector was not convinced.

July also saw one of the first of what was to become a long summer of field fires in the area sparked by a record-breaking heatwave, and many calls from firefighters to be careful with open fires.

In just one incident, hundreds of metres of green space in Caversfield were devastated by the field fire believed to be caused by a discarded cigarette.


Champion cheerleaders celebrated in Bicester in August after bagging a trophy for representing the UK.

Bicester ECU wowed judges in the Netherlands for the European Cheerleading Association's European Cheerleading Championships to be crowned third best team competing.

It was also ready, teddy, go in August as hundreds of children joined the annual Teddy Bears' Picnic staged by Bicester Town Council.

The sun shone bright and families enjoyed facepainting, ice creams and the annual best-dressed teddy competition.


This month saw a familiar face for many in Bicester perform in front of millions on ITV's The X Factor.

Singer Jaqueline Maynard, from Marsh Gibbon, wowed judges including Robbie Williams and Simon Cowell and got through to the six-chair-challenge.

A decision was also revealed after months of waiting as the Department for Transport announced its 'preferred corridor' for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

The £3.5bn highway, although the route is still not clear, was revealed as being built within an area stretching from Didcot, around Oxford - bypassing the city either to the south-east or north-west - then through Bicester and land to its south east and towards Aylesbury and Bedford.


Radical changes were announced in October about the future of GP surgeries in Bicester.

The area falls within plans from Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group that propose to combine health services into two locations to create 'hubs' for healthcare.

Another shock announcement came this month when it was revealed Bicester Village owners Value Retail had taken control of Oxford Road Sports Ground.

The ground had long been under threat of development for retail site St Edburg's Walk, but it was announced that the outlet now had taken on the contract and not yet decided on the grounds future.


Bicester, once again, stood proudly together this month to remember the fallen in what was believed to be one of the town's biggest ever Remembrance Sunday services.

Thousands of people turned out to mark the centenary of the First World War's conclusion.

The long-awaited opening of the Bicester McDonald's also happened in November, albeit with less fuss than expected but queues of excited customers early on.


This month community group Forget Me Not celebrated their first year anniversary after a year supporting the elderly in Bicester.

The group has been a huge success since opening in helping to tackle loneliness.

Another group celebrating its first very successful year was the Bicester Acts of Kindness Facebook page.

The group encourages kindness and story sharing among residents, but has actually resulted in hundreds of goodwill acts across town. Most recently the 'jingled' project which saw presents left randomly on doorsteps leading up to Christmas.