Bicester Councillors Call For Local Involvement in Market Square Revamp

23 Feb 2024
Councillors Pruden and Wheatley in Bicester's Market Square

Liberal Democrat councillors at Bicester Town Council are calling on Cherwell District Council (CDC) to make the Market Square regeneration an open process with local residents, retailers and landlords part of the decision making process.

Recently, councillors discovered that CDC’s Bicester Town Centre Working Party has no direct representatives from local retailers, residents or landlords.  Of the 23 members, only one is connected with the town centre businesses and that is indirectly.  Many others are property developers, consultants and Value Retail.  Following the demise of the Bicester Chamber of Commerce, there is no body that represents the voices of our town centre retailers.

Councillor Rachel Mallows (Bicester North) said: “Cherwell seem unable to make up their mind what their Market Square strategy is.  Officers and councillors have made contradictory statements and released artists impressions that they later claimed were incorrect.  It is essential that local retailers are allowed to return to being members of the Town Centre Working Party so that they can have a direct role in decisions that affect their businesses.  There must be a top-down review of this process and the participants".

Councillor Mallows has spoke with many local retailers
Councillors have spoken with many local retailers. Pictured: Rachel Mallows with Tracey Aldridge of The Fat Zebra.

Councillor Alisa Russell (Bicester South) commented: “Cherwell does not have a good track record with projects.  We have seen several of their projects fall short.  For example the failure to protect land for a London Road level crossing replacement and the decade long delay for a new town cemetery to name just a few.”

Councillor Nick Cotter (Bicester South) added: “I would like Cherwell to look at thriving town centres such Thame, Brackley and Towcester to understand that simple solutions are sometimes better.”

Discussions with Cherwell District Council continue.

Lib Dem Prospective Candidate for Bicester North & Caversfield, John Willett in Market Square
Lib Dem Prospective Candidate for Bicester North & Caversfield, John Willett in Market Square