Work on Bicester Village's new £3.5m Park & Ride facility at the corner of Vendee Drive and the A41 has still not started one month after Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, David Nimmo-Smith proudly announced in the Bicester Advertiser that;
"...the problems have been resolved and the park-and-ride will start to be built next month. We anticipate it to be ready by the busy Christmas period which will be good as we all know what happens. There just is not enough car parking for such a successful shopping outlet as Bicester Village.”
The plans had been originally granted permission back in 2013 however they have been delayed by unspecified and undisclosed 'legal' issues. If the car park had been finished as was intended by Christmas 2014, it would have gone a long way to solve the gridlock 'Black Friday' caused for the residents and businesses of Bicester and the surrounding villages.
Black Friday 2014, was the first time Bicester Village opened until midnight. Having advertised the event widely, the discount shopping mall was overwhelmed and underprepared by the
response which caused seven miles of tailbacks onto the A34 and M40. The resulting chaos caused mass disruption for the people and businesses of Bicester as well as scenes of overcrowding
and arguments between shoppers inside the complex.
Some may ask why those 'pesky' legal issues were suddenly cleared after almost two years of impasse between Value Retail and Oxfordshire County Council. Could it be that Bicester Village's
planning permission for a 23% expansion was to be reviewed by Cherwell District Council and the Park & Ride scheme was a condition for the approval? Permission which was dutifully
granted by your Council on 16th April (Bucks Herald).
However as our photographs clearly show, even one month after David Nimmo-Smith's announcement, no work has been attempted and is clearly visible, crops are growing on one section of the site. Farmers are business people and they tend not to waste resources ploughing and sowing land that is about to be built upon.
When will work on this important facility start? And when will our Councillors cease to be taken in by developers promises and instead demand to see actions?
the silence of david nimmo-smith
Despite BicesterTAG contacting David Nimmo-Smith via email on several occasions he seems extremely shy to talk with us.
David, as an elected representative of Oxfordshire County Council who claimed £23,147.89 in allowances (2013-14) and member of a council who voted themselves a 19% pay rise in these times of public sector austerity please can you find the time to send us an email at least: bicesterTag@gmail.com, it is only polite.
As part of a planning application in 2013 to allow additional parking, Bicester Village's owners Value Retail had to consent to building a park and ride facility. The new car park situated between the A41 and Vendee Drive features 580 car parking spaces, 60 cycle parking spaces, cycle shelter, bus laybys and shelter, fencing, landscaping, attenuation pond and drainage ditch, pedestrian walkways, height restriction barriers and security lighting and cameras