DESPITE early reservations against proposals to demolish Bicester’s former Magistrates’ Court so that flats can be built in its place, some people have now expressed their support for the project.

Developers GG Oxford Investments Limited want to knock down Waverly House on Queens Avenue and build a three-storey block of 48 apartments.

ALSO READ: Old Magistrates' Court could be demolished and turned into 50 flats

The locally listed building has been empty since its closure in 2016, with Homes England taking ownership of the property.

Bicester Advertiser: Old Bicester Magistrates' Court. Pic by Richard CaveOld Bicester Magistrates' Court. Pic by Richard Cave

The site was put up for sale last year and calls had been made from residents and Cherwell District councillor for Bicester West Les Sibley for it to be converted into a multi-use venue for the community.

But fears that it could be turned into housing came to fruition when a consultation was held in June and a planning application was submitted to Cherwell District Council in August.

However a host of letters of support have been sent to the council in favour of the proposals which would see 13 one-bedroom and 35 two-bedroom flats.

People say building more homes in the town is needed, particularly for first-time buyers, and that unused space should be used.

Bicester Advertiser: Illustration of flats at former Bicester Magistrates' CourtIllustration of flats at former Bicester Magistrates' Court

ALSO READ: Plans to demolish Bicester's old magistrates' court are submitted to Cherwell council

Daniel Camp, from Bicester, said: “I can only see building new homes in the area as a good thing as it helps the younger generation get on the property ladder and if you can make use of wasted space then it's a no brainer really.”

Thomas Gubbins, from Bicester, said: “We need more houses in the area, and I think we need to make use of some of the old, unused buildings in the town centre as well.”

Another supporter Serina Ashton said: “There's still a need for more homes to be built to accommodate a fast-growing population, and I don't see why you wouldn't want to build on derelict sites.”

The development would have no car parking spaces for residents, instead it will be a ‘low-car’ development with just eight parking spaces for visitors.

Two will have electric car chargers and two will be disabled parking spaces.

ALSO READ: Calls for old Bicester magistrates' court to turn into museum or music venue

Bicester local Alan Bickley previously expressed how much he opposed the idea of the old court being knocked down for more housing.

Bicester Advertiser: Alan Bickley wants the old Bicester Magistrates' Court to be turned into a music venue. Picture by Ed Nix.Alan Bickley wants the old Bicester Magistrates' Court to be turned into a music venue. Picture by Ed Nix.

He is surprised people support the plan.

He said: "It makes me wonder if those people realise what trouble Bicester has had with the lack of civic amenities over the years.

"Personally I don't buy the whole housing shortage thing. It's meant that Bicester - like many other towns - has been turned into a huge building site and the houses being built are ones that I could never afford."

The plan is to go to the planning committee on March 10.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or 01865 425 445.