PROPOSALS to build an ‘experience quarter' featuring a wide range of activities at a former airfield in Bicester could be approved today.

Bicester Motion has been developing a 444-acre masterplan for the creation of the ‘UK’s first automotive resort’ at its site at former RAF Bicester, home to Bicester Heritage.

Plans were submitted to Cherwell District Council last year to build an ‘experience quarter’ which would be at the heart of the site.

It would feature e-karting and 4x4 tracks in the former Stratton Audley Quarry area of the grounds.

Banbury Cake: Concept image of Bicester Motion's Experience Quarter. Pic: Bicester MotionConcept image of Bicester Motion's Experience Quarter. Pic: Bicester Motion

Bicester Motion also wants to reuse the existing perimeter track on the airfield to provide a 3.1km circuit that can operate a 1.3km and a 1.5km loop.

It would also have a 600m mini loop and low friction training surface area where guests of all ages can learn new skills behind the wheel.

The proposed tracks are motorsport-inspired, but are not designed to cater for multi-car racing events and are designed to drive training, time-trials and testing as well as demonstration and experience activities, enabling brands to showcase new and exciting technologies to the public.

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Planners recommend the district council approve the project, but people who live next to the grounds say it will mean more cars on the site and therefore more noise.

Banbury Cake: Proposed track plan submitted as part of Bicester Motion's planning application. Pic: EdgarsProposed track plan submitted as part of Bicester Motion's planning application. Pic: Edgars

Paul Snell, who lives in Caversfield, said: "The noise is already significant when they use the current practice track. It's very difficult to be outside and not hear the constant drum of cars. This development would make that unbearable on a regular basis."

Bicester Motion said it has worked with Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council officers to 'ensure that residential amenity is protected'.

Experience Oxfordshire has expressed its support for the project, saying it will have a huge positive impact on bringing more tourists into Bicester and Cherwell.

Banbury Cake: Bicester Motion: A visualisation of the interior of Bicester Bicester Motion: A visualisation of the interior of Bicester

Hayley Beer-Gamage, Chief Executive Officer of Experience Oxfordshire said in a letter of support: "The development offers a landmark opportunity to Bicester to become a world leading destination for automotive and aviation culture.

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"Currently only five per cent of visitors to the Cherwell area stay overnight, with the significant factor here being that there is not enough to do locally to keep them in the Cherwell area – this proposed development could significantly improve dwell time in the locality and increase overnight stays in the area."

Permission will be decided at the Cherwell planning committee meeting today at 4pm.

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