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"Too much warehousing" scuppers Bicester scheme

"Too much warehousing" scuppers Bicester scheme

Albion Land’s plans for 570,000 sq ft scheme at Bicester have been turned down because it includes too much warehousing.

Cherwell council refused permission for the development on a 23-acre site at Howes Lane after a dispute about the proportion of industrial/manufacturing floorspace – which they wanted to see higher than the logistics floorspace.

The current application envisaged 70% warehousing (B8) and 30% for industrial/manufacturing (B2). Councillors also wanted to see more office space (B1). There were also concerns about traffic.

The decision by councillors overturned a recommendation to approve the scheme from the council’s planning officers. Officers had offered support for logisitics.

A last-minute update to councillors said: “Officers also accept that when considered on its own merits, this proposal is predominantly B2 and B8 uses with B1 uses being ancillary to these. If the requirements of Policy Bicester 1 is applied solely to this application, as opposed to the site as a whole it does not accord with Policy Bicester 1 that states the employment development sought is within Use Classes B1 with limited B2 and B8.

"However, officers consider that the proposal accords with the main thrust of Policy Bicester 1 and that there are good planning reasons to support it. The type of employment has been shown to meet a market demand, by a reputable firm Colliers International. There is no evidence to demonstrate that there is a demand for larger-scale B1 development.”

The report added: “The logistics sector is acknowledged as important in the UK economy and within the Adopted Cherwell Local Plan, which notes that the Council will support the logistics sector recognising the jobs it provides and the good transport links that attracts it.”

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