Existing site forms part of 444-acre development, aimed at creating a brand new motoring destination for the UK
If it seems like it wasn’t that long ago that we brought you news of Bicester Heritage’s planned expansion, it wasn’t. Back in December we reported on the site’s intention to create new showroom, workshop, office and apprenticeship facilities in 70,000 square feet of new buildings adjacent to the existing WW2-era hangers. Things seem to be escalating rather quickly in Oxfordshire, though, with a full materplan dubbed ‘Bicester Motion’ having now been unveiled.
Under the proposals, Bicester will become an “automotive resort”, a destination not just for classic car enthusiasts but a “showcase for motoring past, present and future, with a focus on innovation, community and experience.”To that end the 444-acre site will gain a Brand Experience Centre, providing on- and off-road driver training as well as autonomous vehicle demonstrations; a Future Automotive Speed Technologies (F.A.S.T) hub, containing “cutting-edge businesses”; a private car storage and entertainment space dubbed The Motor Vaults; an events and conferencing destination in the form of Bicester EXPO and Bicester Reserve, a health and wellbeing zone complete with country park and lodges. That’s all on top of the existing historic motoring facilities and already-announced New Technical Site. Crikey.
The scale of the plans is matched seemingly only by the size of Bicester’s ambition. Once complete, the resort is aiming to become one of the country’s top 20 tourist and leisure destinations. With Bicester Heritage currently occupying just five per cent of the overall site, there’s certainly plenty of room, and apparently plenty of investment, to expand the scope of its operations. Fans of aviation shouldn’t worry, though, as the proposals include the continued running of the location’s historic airfield.
Explaining the thinking behind the expansion, Dan Geoghegan, Chief Executive of Bicester Motion, said: “The automotive industry is in a fascinating state of flux owing to changing customer habits and requirements, alongside the technology shift in drivetrains and autonomy. Bicester Motion will enable both new and existing manufacturers to interact more effectively with their clientele. It will help build those relationships in a revolutionary way by providing an immersive environment that offers a lifestyle experience beyond just cars on tracks or visiting a showroom. The automotive world is changing, and we plan to offer a first-of-its-kind resort that will have multi-generational appeal.”