Plans for 290,000 sq ft of technology buildings and a David Lloyd Club in Bicester, have been approved by Cherwell District Council.

Developer Albion Land says the scheme, Catalyst Bicester, is a new style of development in response to demand from technology, advanced manufacturing and high-performance engineering companies and will create up to 1,750 new jobs, while helping reduce out-commuting from the town.

The 15.8-hectare agricultural site was allocated for knowledge and technology uses in Cherwell District Council’s adopted Local Plan and the consented scheme includes a range of stand-alone hybrid technology buildings and the new health and racquets club, all within landscaped grounds which will include an ecological wetland reserve.

The plans mean closure of Wendlebury Poultry Farm and construction is planned to start later this year with the first buildings due to be available from mid-2021.

The site is south of the town, off the A41near Bicester Avenue retail centre.

Buildings will be largely two-storey and include offices, laboratories, R&D, high tech and manufacturing space. Individual buildings are likely to range from 9,000 sq ft to 30,000 sq ft but larger occupier building requirements for 100,000 sq ft plus, can be accommodated. 

The new buildings are designed to have ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating.

Simon Parsons, director of Albion Land, said: “This news is great for Bicester and the community as we will be creating a mixed business community for technology focused businesses, both local to Bicester and those seeking to be in the area within The Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

“This will be our fourth major project in the town, and we are excited to see this new employment space alongside the new David Lloyd Club that will benefit residents and the future economy.

“Bicester has a strong workforce, is brilliantly connected and offers companies significant combined rent and business rates savings compared to similar south-east buildings.

“Catalyst Bicester will be a new community with well-designed buildings so companies and people can thrive in the town.”

Bruce Gardner, new openings director for David Lloyd Leisure, said: “Bicester is a booming area and so this new club will be a welcome addition to our growing portfolio of 100 clubs in the UK .

“We hope to start work early next year, with a view to completing it in 2022, and once open, it will offer the local community a range of premium family-friendly health, wellness and racquets facilities and a warm and friendly club environment.”

Cornish Architects is the masterplanner and architect, Quod is the planner, David Tucker Associates is the transport planner, Tyler Grange is biodiversity and arboriculture consultant, re-form is landscape consultant, KAM is project manager and Bailey Johnson Hayes is providing engineering consultancy.

The lettings agent is Brown & Co, Colliers International and VSL.

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