• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Outrage at housing plans near community centre in Bicester


Oct 4, 2022

People are welcoming plans to upgrade a well-used community centre but are concerned about the residential units that come with it.

Cherwell District Council have submitted a planning application to demolish Bicester East Community centre, off Keble Road in Bicester, and replace it with a new bespoke community hall along with six residential units.

The new community centre would comprise a meeting room, kitchen, toilets, a main hall with storage and a covered external area.

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Additionally, the proposal seeks to build six new dwellings in a mix of two or three bedrooms.

The applicants said the existing site area can accommodate the proposals without affecting the open space or playing fields already on the site.

Also stressed is the fact that the existing sports court, external fitness equipment and play equipment will be retained with only the play equipment position being reorganised.

However, some constraints have been recognised, including the limitations on public rights of way to enter the site, the presence of a nearby nursery and the site’s close proximity to residential estates.

Some people have showed support for the plans.

Beatrice Foster made a statement of support on the planning application: “I am thrilled this area of Bicester is getting a decent facility.

“As a hirer of the old hall, it has served its purpose. The enhanced space and high ceiling of this new one, plus the separate meeting room will make it an invaluable asset for community events.

“The new houses will fill a previously ugly piece of tarmac and help with the housing shortage.”

However, a number of people living in these surrounding estates, and who use the existing community centre, are sceptical about the building of more houses.

Steve Archer commented: “There does not seem to be enough parking for those using either the nursery of the community centre.

“It is likely the residents of the new builds will take some of the few parking spaces there are.

“This will lead to more cars parking on the road, which is already congested, and that gets a lot of pedestrians, including schoolchildren using the nearby secondary school.

“We have witnessed a few close calls in my short time living on this street, where children have been crossing the road between parked cars.”

Another commenter, Barry, said: “My objection is purely to the residential units as these will restrict parking in an already busy street.

“The centre is used widely and at present for the normal functions there is almost sufficient parking.

“Assuming these same functions will continue it seems that there will be less space for them to park, which forces on-street parking and issues for residents.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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