Bicester Eco homes’ first residents expected in springtime

The first residents of Bicester’s 6,000-home eco settlement are set to move in this spring.

A report for Cherwell district councillors said the first 97 homes on the development, off Banbury Road, were almost complete.

Construction started in May 2014 and developer A2Dominion has said all the homes have been sold.

The report said: “Feedback has indicated that sales are above industry averages and are going well.”

It came as plans to open a primary school at the site have been delayed by a year.

The White Horse Federation will operate the school and has appointed a headteacher, the report said.

But it said: “The school was originally being targeted for opening in 2016 but there has been insufficient pupils for this year and therefore OCC and the Department of Education have agreed that the school should open in September 2017.”

Building work on a second tranche of homes is set to start later this year – developer A2Dominion was given planning permission to build 393 homes at the ‘exemplar’ site – it is hoped they will be complete by the end of 2016. Plans for a local centre including an eco pub, shops and a community hall, as well as an eco business centre have been approved and building work must be under way by the time the first 250 homes are finished.

Meanwhile, Cherwell council has teamed up with a string of organisations including the University of Oxford, Forest Research and Bioregional to find better ways to plan green infrastructure in Bicester such as parks and wildlife habitats.

Cllr Barry Wood, Cherwell’s leader, said: “We recognise the importance of green space in creating high quality neighbourhoods and therefore are really pleased to be part of this project which will help ensure that high quality green infrastructure is provided within the town and that networks of green infrastructure are maintained and expanded as the town grows.”

• Last week, the Government announced two estates in Oxfordshire, Barton Park, in Oxford, and the Bicester eco town, would have fast food-free zones near schools, virtual GP visits and dementia-friendly streets.