Plans to transform a town centre from solely a retail space into a thriving, metropolitan community and events hub are becoming more concrete.

Bicester Town Centre is the subject of major repurposing plans to be delivered over the next two years, which may include the introduction of a ‘destination food quarter’, cultural hub for the arts, an atmospheric lighting scheme to make the town more attractive at night, event spaces for local organisations and live performances and a centralised box office and events website.

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The outline plan was conceptualised by Cherwell District Council (CDC) in collaboration with Bill Grimsey, an ex-CEO of major retail brands who now advocates for high streets becoming community hubs rather than retail spaces, along with various other stakeholders in Bicester.

CDC officers have been working on the proposals for three years, and the council’s budget consultation – published last week – now allocates £4.25 million to the regeneration plans.     

Councillor Ian Corkin, Deputy Leader of CDC and Executive Member for Regeneration and Economy said: “A big group of stakeholders have come together and sketched what the future might look like – those involved were very keen to see the regeneration of the town centre.

“The town centre is a lovely space, so the fundamental aspect of what we’re looking to do is repurpose the market into a flexible community area, which means making changes to how it looks and how it’s used.

“There will be a lot of public consultation on this. This whole thing is about the people of Bicester being able to influence their own town.”

A Bicester Motion spokesperson said: “Bicester Motion support this strategy - a strong town centre is important for the future prosperity of the town.”

A spokesperson for Bicester Village said: “Bicester Village is one of 17 voluntary business and stakeholder groups and individuals who formed a task group having attended a Bill Grimsey workshop in 2019.

“Bicester Village continues to support the town centre vision which focuses on a more vibrant town centre and increased connectivity.”

A spokesperson for Bicester Vision said: “It is great news that CDC and Bicester Town Council have pledged to focus on the regeneration of our historic town centre.

“As a fast-growing town and community, we fully support the regeneration of our town centres and high streets that have been under pressure nationally for a few years now.

“In order to bring our community together alongside our amazing Bicester based businesses we will continue to work in partnership with our public and private sector partners to drive positive change within these spaces, for the good of the community.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing:

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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