Councillors have approved plans for the new Experience Quarter, a key section in the development of Bicester Motion.

Outline consent for a cluster of buildings of up to three storeys and totalling 22,338 sq m along with circuits and tracks was voted through by 16-1 at Cherwell District Council’s planning committee meeting on January 13.

In addition there will be a smaller satellite zone, known as the Automotive and Aviation Pavilions, which will accommodate 1,692 sq m of space.

The motor and aviation resort at the former RAF Bicester already has consent for a hotel and conference centre and the latest permission is designed to make it internationally recognised as the leading site for sustainable transport product launches and demonstrations.

Activities at the Experience Quarter will include:

  • New driver training and handling tracks
  • Viewing points and walkways
  • Areas for time-trials and testing as well as demonstration and experience activities
  • Demonstration and event areas
  • New walkways and cycleways, allowing visitors to explore on foot, cycle, or scooters
  • Electric karting for children

Councillors initially considered plans to defer the decision, a motion put forward by Cllr John Broad who was concerned that there was not an Environmental Impact Assessment for the whole site. However, it was heavily defeated.

Councillors and a public speaker made representations about noise but Bicester Motion chief executive Dan Geoghegan told the meeting mitigation measures had been taken.

He added: “We are confident that our noise management plan provides sufficient mitigation and management and these have been supported by the council’s environmental officers.

“With our plans for the hotel and our business environment, it is not in our interest to cause disturbance.

“Bicester Motion is a proud member of the community here. Not only does it provide a range of charities and sports clubs with access to facilities, but our community also contributes millions of pounds to the local, regional and national economies.

“And, thanks to the support of Cherwell District Council is responsible for creating an internationally regarded success story.”

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