Oxford

Plans for 2,600 Bicester 'eco-town' homes green-lit

An artist's impression of how North West Bicester might look Image copyright A2Dominion
Image caption Further plans for 3,500 more homes have yet to be approved

A 2,600-home expansion to the UK's first "eco-town" has been given the green light.

Permission to add to the development, in Bicester, Oxfordshire, will make the project the largest of its type in the UK, it is claimed.

Cherwell District Council granted permission for the zero-carbon homes, in addition to 393 already under construction.

Further plans for 3,500 more homes have yet to be approved.

Plans for the development, on the north western side of the town, include a new school, road network, and 250 care apartments for the elderly.

Planning committee vice chairman Colin Clarke described the project, which includes roof solar panels on all properties, as "unique".

'Desperately needed'

"It's by far the largest project of its type anywhere in the UK," he said.

"It's very aspirational...the idea is to make sure the whole estate looks after itself."

Mr Clarke said the locations of green spaces, football pitches, a "desperately needed" burial ground, and the realignment of the A4095 still needed to be discussed in detail.

Work on an initial batch of 393 homes began last April and is expected to be completed within four-and-a-half years.

Of those, 91 are set to be built by the end of 2015, with the first residents expected to move on-site in the late summer.

The council said it hopes to complete all phases of the development by 2031.

Image copyright A2Dominion
Image caption Construction of the first phase of the development began in 2014

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