Land to the North of Lords Lane and Land North of Howes Lane. Application Reference: 14/01384/OUT (App1). Application Reference: 14/01641/OUT (App2).
What the applications aim to achieve
With the Masterplan submitted and currently the subject of consultation in terms of becoming a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to the emerging Local Plan, NW Bicester offers the opportunity to create a unique development like no other, providing a comprehensive mixed scheme built to true zero carbon where residents can make sustainable lifestyle choices. It is anticipated that the proposals for this 390 hectares site will take between 20 – 30 years to complete.
Having commenced the Exemplar phase in April 2014, A2Dominion has prepared and submitted two outline planning applications for a further 206 hectares of the Masterplan site. The applications are fully compliant with the Masterplan and provide the strategic infrastructure within them to enable early delivery of the wider vision for NW Bicester. Both applications are controlled by A2Dominion in planning terms:
- OutlineApplication1:NorthofLordsLane(155hectares) – land that lies to the north of the railway line
- Outline Application 2: North of Howes Lane (51 hectares) – land south of the railway line and to the north west of the railway line, including both Aldershot and Gowell Farms
Together these applications are the next step towards the delivery of NW Bicester and in total, encompass 3,500 new homes, forty per cent green space, a range of community facilities including schools, community halls, GP provision, parks, recreation and employment space, making a significant contribution to meeting the District’s need for more homes and jobs as set out in the Local Plan. Combined with proposals in Application 3 for the A4095 NW Strategic Link Road, A2Dominion will provide the supporting transport infrastructure and associated mitigation measures that will help underpin the wider scheme.
What’s actually proposed within these applications?
The two Outline Applications will provide the following within the two identified parcels of land:
- Up to 3,500 true zero carbon new homes, with 30% affordable, including ‘extra care’ apartments for the elderly with supporting facilities
- Twotwo-formentryprimaryschoolswithplayingfields, and an extension to the Exemplar primary school
- Oneuptoeight-formentrysecondaryschoolwith playing fields
- Two dedicated local centres with convenience stores, cafés, pub or restaurant facilities and small shops with dedicated parking, these could include, a drycleaners, a cycle shop, a butchers or a bakers
- Commercialandbusinessspacewithamixofmulti- occupied office units, local business units such as dentists, vets or hairdressers , workshop or light industrial units, these could include some engineering, innovation and high-end technologies
- Two community halls and community rooms for outreach services
- Dedicated play areas incorporating semi-natural and adventure play areas
- A country park
- A woodland burial ground
- Village green with a multi-use games area
- A junior recreational sports pitch and also a pavilion and changing room facilities
- A community farm
- A network of allotments
- A place of worship
- Superfast broadband to all homes and businesses
- Water conservation and recycling facilities
- Sustainable urban drainage systems and attenuation pools to mitigate flood risk
- A network of direct and leisure walking and cycling routes connecting into the towns network
- A high quality and frequent bus service integrated with the existing bus loops
Planning obligations in the form of S106 contributions for each application are at an advanced stage and are being finalised working in partnership with CDC and OCC.
Applications Q & A
A2Dominion has worked up this project in partnership with CDC, OCC and BTC over a number of years and recognises the strategic importance of the site for Bicester as a whole. This section seeks to address questions which the team understands have been raised to date.
Q. Will the homes really be true zero carbon?
A. All homes will be built to true zero carbon as per the original Policy Planning Statement 1 (PPS). A2Dominion is committed to creating a true zero carbon community, meaning that through the choices made regarding the energy sources, building fabric and even the appliances in each home.
Q. What is the indicative mix of homes contained within the two applications and how does this reflect current and expected future housing needs?
A. The mix of homes for the applications has been worked up in collaboration with Cherwell District Council and is complemented by extensive external market research and population modelling. A2Dominion aspires to deliver up to 30% of new homes as affordable, with a target tenure split of 70:30 rented to intermediate. Provision will be made for a range of housing types from 1 bed flats to 2/3 and 4/5 bed homes. Extra care apartments providing independent accommodation and lifestyle for the elderly will also be provided in Application 1.
Q. How and who will hold responsibility for the management of the significant amount of open space that is included within the whole eco-town?
A. It is proposed that all functional green space, such as the Country Park, sports pitches, cemetery, play areas and the like are offered up to Cherwell and funded through planning obligations under the S106 both in terms of setting out and maintaining, with the non-functional green space being managed over time through service charges.
Q. Who will hold responsibility for ensuring the delivery of the vital supporting services like the nurseries and local shops etc? Have discussions already started with potential operators to ensure these services can swiftly be provided?
A. Provision of the social and community infrastructure will be secured through the s106 agreements and planning conditions by A2Dominion and other participating developers. The schools will be provided through OCC with the applicants providing land and financial contributions. The community facilities will be provided by A2Dominion and participating developers and offered to the Council or occupiers as appropriate.
A2Dominion are in the process of researching thoroughly the market for the commercial areas and a robust plan for phased delivery will be agreed with Cherwell once the project gets to a reserved matters stage within the planning process.
Q. When are the schools expected to be delivered and what conditions are being made around this?
A. The school delivery timetable has been provided by OCC and this is based upon population modelling which identifies what schools are needed and when based on triggers which relate to the numbers of homes built. This information has been worked up in partnership with OCC who can provide further details of these triggers.
Q. What employment provision and job opportunities can we expect to see in Outline Applications 1 & 2?
A. Outline Applications 1 and 2 include provision for a mix of employment opportunities in the proposed local centres. The local centres will include a mix of retail, office, workshop and community space, sufficient to provide for over 400 jobs in the Application 1 area, and over 300 in the Application 2 area. The office and workshop space will be in units of different sizes, but focused primarily on the needs of small firms: provision for larger firms will mainly be made in the proposed business park in the SE corner of the site, which is not part of these Outline Applications. The business space will be marketed to firms in target sectors, particularly those involved in environmental goods and services, and also to those providing local services to the resident population of NW Bicester and surrounding areas. A number of long- term construction jobs will be created throughout the build out and approximately 650 new residents are also likely to undertake part or all of their jobs from home.