I’ve just got back from a public exhibition at the Littlebury Hotel in Bicester by some developers calling themselves Albion Land, who are proposing to build what is essentially an industrial estate/distribution centre on greenfield land that is laughably earmarked for Eco Bicester. If I don’t count the auto-email facilities offered by the various campaign websites, tonights joke of an exhibition (if a dangerous joke) has prompted me to write to my MP about it, copied here…

Firstly, I am all for appropriate development in Bicester and improving the employment opportunities in the town, however this proposal is quite simply the wrong development, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

There is already an existing proposal to move the main Tesco store across the road as part of a business park on land next to Bicester Avenue. This is an excellent location for office development. There is also land off Launton road and surrounding the large DHL building that would be a good location for other industrial/storage distribution. I also understand the MOD would like to sell some of the land near to Graven Hill – and this would be perfect for industrial use as there would be possibility for it to use the existing rail tracks in that area.

The site off Howes Lane that Albion Land are proposing to develop is situated on the far side of Bicester from the town centre and much of the traffic would be coming in from the M40 at Junction 10 and through Middleton Stoney, or through the middle of Bicester from Aylesbury. People working at this site would also drive into Bicester at lunchtime, whereas other sites would be within easy walking distance.

From talking to the representatives from Albion Land tonight I conclude that:

  • they have not bought the land
  • they do not have outline planning permission
  • they have little or no local knowledge of Bicester (they were unable to answer several simple questions that I would have expected them to know the answer to)

This land is already earmarked for the Eco Bicester development but the company seem to have little concept of what is expected of an ‘eco’ development beyond that of building warehouses to the latest design constructions. Where is the Eco in encouraging the transport of goods by road on roads that are not designed for those kind of vehicles?

Furthermore, if development is to take place on the Howes Lane land it should only be after other suitable sites have already been used as part of the continued growth of Bicester.

I am writing to you to request that you oppose this development at every opportunity in favour of more appropriate developments that will actually enhance the future of Bicester as a market town in Oxfordshire.

Of course I’m not expecting the Right Honourable (sic.) Tony Baldry to do anything – he’s a true blue and just as dim – and probably in bed with tweedledum and tweedledee at Albion Land…