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Terry Farrell’s reworked eco-town approved

Terry Farrell has won consent for the first phase of its reworked plans application for an eco-town at Northwest Bicester

Cherwell District Council granted detailed planning permission for 393 new homes and a renewable energy centre as part of the NW Bicester Eco development - largest Code 5 and zero carbon scheme in the country.

Backed by P3Eco and A2Dominion, the proposals were submitted by planning consultancy Barton Willmore. The approval includes outline consent for new employment, retail, social and community facilities as well as a site for a primary school.

Terry Farrell, who reworked the proposals following criticism from CABE (see below) said: ‘Phase One will kick-start a much larger initiative to transform Bicester into the UK’s first Eco Town, attracting the investment, education and skills that will turn the town into a hub for the UK’s emerging green economy and deliver long-lasting benefits for the whole town and wider area.’

The permission unlocks a £6million cash injection from the Homes and Communities Agency in the delivery of 119 affordable homes as part of this initial phase of development.

Previous story (AJ 26.04.2011)

Terry Farrell’s reworked eco-town submitted for planning

Backed by P3Eco and A2Dominion, the initial scheme which was submitted for planning in November last year came in for heavy criticism from CABE (see below). The design watchdog claimed the ‘eco-credentials were limited’ and ‘fell short of the mark’.

The designs have now been reworked and the consortium maintains the planning application will be the largest in the UK to meet zero carbon standards code five. The application will form the first ‘exemplar’ phase of the proposed development.

Farrell, said: ‘Northwest Bicester is a pioneering project, integrating new development of the highest eco standards into an existing town, requiring a steep learning curve for both the professional team and local authorities.  

‘The standards for the exemplar are set high and we are confident that we will achieve them.  I feel very passionately about the idea that eco towns should be about rethinking our existing towns.’

The plans for Bicester, the first of four proposed eco-towns championed by the previous government, were unveiled in 2009.

Terry Farrell and Partners' amended masterplan for an eco-town at Bicester in Oxfordshire

Terry Farrell and Partners’ amended masterplan for an eco-town at Bicester in Oxfordshire

Previous story (AJ 16.03.11)

CABE: Farrell’s Bicester eco-town ‘fall short’

Terry Farrell and Partners’ plans for an eco-town in Oxfordshire ‘fell short of the mark’, according to CABE’s design review panel

The plans for Bicester, the first of four proposed eco-towns championed by the previous government, were unveiled in 2009 and a detailed first phase including 394 houses and an ‘eco-pub’ was submitted for planning earlier this year (see story below).

But the design watchdog attacked the initial proposals stating that it was ‘disappointing that the eco-credentials of the scheme are limited and that there is little deviation from the standard suburban housing model’.

The CABE review said the streets layout was ‘interesting’ but criticised low housing density, adding that this would ‘militate against the principles of the EcoTowns Planning Policy Statement (PPS) principally greater resource efficiency and the reduction of car use’.

It added: ‘For the exemplar site, we would expect to see a proposal that captures the essential aspirations of an eco-town: the current proposals fall short of that mark.’

Developers P3Eco said: “The masterplan is in a state of continuing evolution having regard to a wide range of considerations including comments from CABE and others.”

Response from Gary Young of Terry Farrell and Partners

NW Bicester is a pioneering project, integrating new development to PPS1 standards into an existing town, requiring a steep learning curve for both the professional team and Local Authorities.

Work is continuing in close collaboration with the planning authority on a redesign of certain elements of the Exemplar for a resubmission in April, with particular emphasis on how the Exemplar fits within the emerging masterplan. These are complex issues bringing together expertise from many parties.

The team have been very happy to take on board all comments including those of the CABE design review panel, who have asked for greater clarification of how the high standard of eco credentials stated in the planning submission are being delivered.

We will be keeping CABE in touch with progress and appreciate their comments and their assistance to achieve the Eco Town criteria for Bicester. The standards for the Exemplar are set high and we are confident that we will achieve these and achieve even higher standards with the emerging masterplan.

Work is already progressing on site at in the centre of Bicester on the ‘Demonstrator House’ being built at The Garth to Passivhaus standard and an eco community centre extension.

Previous story 11.01.2011

Farrell submits Bicester eco-town

[FIRST LOOK] A ‘green’ pub is part of Terry Farrell and Partners first phase plans for a new eco-town at Bicester in Oxfordshire

Submitted to Cherwell District Council, the hybrid application seeks to establish an ‘exemplar’ for further development in the area.

Detailed consent is sought for 393 homes plus a 400m² energy centre.

The practice has also applied for outline planning for a nursery, community centre, retail units, an 1,800m² ‘eco-business’ centre, a primary school and a 190m² eco-pub.

Farrell explained: ‘I feel very passionately about the idea that eco towns should be about rethinking our existing towns.

‘The [North West] Bicester eco development has enabled us to do just that. It is one of the most important and exciting projects in the UK today and a model for sustainable development in this country.’

Project lead P3Eco expects to win planning within 22 weeks of the application. Ian Inshaw, chairman of P3Eco Bicester, said:  ‘We are really looking forward to getting the Exemplar phase started and delivering real benefits to the residents of Bicester and the surrounding communities.’

Terry Farrell and Partners' masterplan for an eco-town at Bicester in Oxfordshire

Terry Farrell and Partners’ masterplan for an eco-town at Bicester in Oxfordshire

Readers' comments (3)

  • Although there are small concessions within the layout of this development to prioritise pedestrians over cars - this type of housing will still appeal to people who own cars and its geographical position and an apparent lack of any meaningful public transport means its 'eco' credentials are bogus.

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  • Looks a very odd proposal - surely to minimise people using cars the layout should be more concentrated not strung out over two sites with a tenuous link as shown

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  • I wonder what an "eco-pub" is?

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