The next stage in the vision for Bicester Heritage to become the world’s leading automotive destination will be the addition of a 344-room hotel to the successful Centre of Excellence.
Following unanimous planning approval, this milestone is not only a huge step forward in an overarching strategic vision for the unique destination for motoring past, present and future, but also a vital step in ensuring a sustainable future for the UK’s best preserved WW2 RAF Bomber Station.
Featuring an expansive four-storey atrium, restaurant and bar, courtyard, gym, swimming pool and spa, the hotel will encourage a wide range of visitors to Oxfordshire across the business and leisure sectors increasing dwell time in the area significantly, as well as bringing in a projected 250,000 visitors per annum and creating an estimated 180 full-time jobs. Bicester Heritage has also been highlighted as a key player in the Oxford-Cambridge ‘growth corridor’ and seeks to provide the required business accommodation and high-tech conferencing facilities required for this.
The hotel shall be situated within the 425-acre Bicester Heritage site, 1.5 hours from half of the UK population and within easy reach of major tourist attractions including Bicester Village, Blenheim Palace, Stowe House, Silverstone Circuit and the City of Oxford. Furthermore, the hotel will act as a gateway to the Cotswolds and has been validated by CBRE hotel specialists for this purpose.
In addition, the development is part of an integrated growth strategy for the region and the construction of this landmark hotel, amongst the top 15 largest UK hotels outside London, answers the question of under-supply in the regional hotel sector.
Bicester Heritage is held as a national exemplar for constructive conservation by Historic England, and this conservation-led development will utilise materials inspired by the existing pre-war RAF buildings. The overall design language is in tune with the surrounding buildings, with the structure mimicking the shapes of the existing hangars and built on the same footprint as the 1936 C-Type hangars. It follows the form, orientation and scale of one of the two planned, but un-built, hangars from the pre-war era.
Dan Geoghegan, managing director of Bicester Heritage, commented: “The unanimous approval by the Planning Authority demonstrates the strength of local government support for our vision. It also reflects the high esteem in which Bicester Heritage is held alongside its national importance to the automotive sector.”
“The hotel will be at the vanguard of a new lifestyle-driven masterplan to provide a motoring experience worthy of the modern era.”