The Importance of Place to Business…
The population of Bicester continues to grow and it is essential that the infrastructure of the town keeps pace. This is a message the Chamber has consistently and constantly delivered since the growth in the 1980s when the population doubled with very limited such improvement.
Bicester is being heralded for embracing Eco, Garden and Healthy town status. Initiatives that should bring sustained, consistent and appropriate support in the creation of a true community. The philosophies underpinning all three initiatives are mutually inclusive and should deliver a stronger heart and soul for the town and the surrounding villages.
This is important to business for a number of reasons:
Any business looking to move to, or start up in, a location wants to see a good supply of suitable places to move into and equally important have a high degree of certainty that their labour force will;
Without one, let alone all, of the above then a location struggles to attract new employment opportunities and, equally as importantly, to retain existing ones.
Bicester now has a good supply of land designated for employment use, although to protect this the updated Strategic Local Plan needs to be completed sooner rather than later. This should be a holistic document that delivers on all of the above points, co-ordinates the three initiatives previously listed and protects, enhances and maintains the heritage of the town. As part of this the open, non-residential nature, of Queens Avenue should be protected from opportunist residential development, as should inappropriate areas in neighbouring villages such as Caversfield.
The matter of the London Road level crossing should be resolved with closure an unacceptable option as this would effectively strangle the traditional town centre, further ‘separating’ the new developments of Langford Village, Graven Hill and the forthcoming Redrow Homes development from the ‘old’ town. It would also remove an auxiliary emergency access/egress to and from Bicester Village.
Bicester needs an effective traffic system that truly connects the peripheral growth with the existing town and has the capacity to handle the likely long-term increases that will accompany the town’s growth – along with a town centre that is attractive both aesthetically and in terms of the mix of shops.
The Chamber will be watching and keeping all involved on their toes as the independent voice of the business community.
We would welcome enquiries to join and help us in being the consistent and constant voice for businesses in the town.
Peter Cox – Chairman Bicester Chamber