On Friday I mentioned that there were two articles of interest on the front page of my local paper. The online version of this paper seems to be a tad slow on being updated, but today I have managed to find them, and for the benefit of my own records I shall link to them here…

Future options for Garth House

MEMBERS of the public could soon be asked for their views over plans to create a new town hall for Bicester.
Garth House in Launton Road, has for some time been too small to comfortably accommodate the town council, staff and civic functions, and the much-loved old building is in need of structural repairs.

Three options are being put together by a team of architects, and Bicester Town Council’s Garth House working party is due to test the water with an outline planning application next month.

Options under discussion are to redevelop the existing building, add an extension, or to demolish Garth House and rebuild from scratch.

But working party chairman Cllr Debbie Pickford stressed the demolition option was not being pursued at present, and that a consultation with the people of Bicester would be held before any detailed plans were submitted.

She said Bicester, as a growing town, must have a bigger civic building. Cllr Pickford added: “We’re talking about a proper town hall. It could include a lot of other things like a cafe and restaurant, so we can use Garth Park as a crowning jewel, and we need a good building to go with it.”

The different schemes will be put to public consultation once architects have calculated the cost of each option, and if the bid for outline planning permission is successful.

Cllr Pickford said: “It will come down to whatever serves the town the best, and what’s going to be best for the next 100 years.”

* Last Updated: 16 May 2008 4:35 PM
* Source: n/a
* Location: Bicester

What next for school site?

GUIDELINES are being drawn up for developing the site of St Edburg’s School in Bicester following its proposed relocation.
Last year, governors of St Edburg’s CofE School developed a plan to relocate the school to the new 1,500-home housing estate to be built to the south-west of Bicester.

Members of Cherwell District Council are now preparing a planning brief, which
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gives potential buyers and developers information over how they may be allowed to develop the historic Cemetery Road site the school currently occupies if and when the relocation takes place.

“Cherwell District Council is preparing a planning brief for the school site as and when it may be developed,” said Cllr Michael Gibbard, Cherwell District Council’s portfolio holder for planning and housing.

“It will seek to preserve many existing features, if not whole buildings,” he added.

More detail on the planning brief is expected to be revealed in July.
The proposed school relocation, backed by governors, Oxfordshire County Council and the Diocese of Oxford, has not yet been confirmed, but proponents say funding for a new 14-class school is likely to be secured from developers of the new housing estate.

Backers say a purpose-built school would be bigger and easier to access, and have questioned the suitability of some existing Victorian buildings at the Cemetery Road site.

St Edburg’s School is Bicester’s oldest primary school and has around 170 pupils. The relocation, if it goes ahead, would be likely to cause some changes to local primary school catchment areas.

* Last Updated: 19 May 2008 9:35 AM
* Source: n/a
* Location: Bicester