Bicester Heritage has unveiled Bicester Motion – its masterplan for the creation of the UK’s first automotive resort, which will celebrate the past, present and future of automotive culture and technology development.
Separated into eight zones, the planned 444-acre development will cater for a huge variety of sectors, including: leisure, experience and tourism, as well as automotive engineering and technology businesses. By bringing these sectors together, Bicester Motion aims to redefine business-to-consumer engagement through unrivalled customer experience in a unique and holistic environment.
The development aims to bring a larger percentage of the 29 million visitors that travel to Oxfordshire every year to Bicester. With tourists spending £1.82 billion across the area and £7.6 million at Bicester Village annually, Bicester Motion is a perfect opportunity to draw-in even greater interest to the location with a GVA estimated in the region of £100m per annum when the masterplan is delivered.
Bicester Motion’s masterplan has been embraced by the UK’s Department of International trade and will be presented by the governmental department and Bicester Motion at the world leading real estate, conference and networking event MIPIM in Cannes this month.
Having successfully developed the concept of a Centre for Excellence, experience and community for the historic automotive sector, Bicester Heritage (which occupies just 5% of the site) will now become a component of a larger landmark development named Bicester Motion. This expansion will ensure that the historic airfield location it calls home will fulfil its original and continued purpose as a focal point for cutting edge technology with an ambition to become one of the country’s top 20 tourist and leisure destinations.
The new resort hopes to offer leisure, culture and tourism experiences within one ‘go to’ destination. Consisting of multiple zones, the Bicester Motion concept comprises of the recently announced 344-room hotel, spa and conference development (which received unanimous planning approval from Cherwell District Council at the end of 2018), and an additional 770,000 feet of operational business and leisure accommodation site wide.
One such zone of Bicester Motion’s development programme is to restore a former quarry site and former industrial areas into the Bicester Reserve. This ecology-led health and wellbeing zone aspires to utilise the site’s currently inaccessible natural areas and offer access to a new country park complete with footpaths, cycle paths and lakeside lodges ideal for family use.
The potential construction of inimitable Motor Vaults as a community of private gallery-style garages for car storage with accommodation, will allow owners to use and maintain their vehicles in a beautifully designed and discreet location.
Nestled in to the WW2 airfield’s boundary, these car storage structures will sit adjacent to the current Bomb Stores, a fitting tribute to an area also purpose built as a storage solution, but also close to the current supportive campus of over 40 industry specialists as well as test circuits.
Land abutting the Bicester ring-road is earmarked for Bicester Motion’s Future Automotive Speed Technology hub, or F.A.S.T. Zone. Once refurbished, the existing perimeter track, The Radial, will also become an attraction within its own right, promoting use of the disused airfield site.
Bicester Expo, an aspiring cutting-edge exhibition centre based in the former WW2 C Type Hangars, will provide significant venues for conferencing, automotive events and leisure opportunities.
By partnering with both blue-chip and cutting-edge businesses, the generation of new skilled jobs and financial contribution to the local and wider economy stand to benefit the area immensely. Offering new amenities and experiences, this development hopes to ensure cohesive links to Bicester town centre, Bicester Village and the Ox-Cam ‘technology corridor’.
In its entirety, this carefully-planned low-density development will be dedicated to driving experience and the demonstration of high-tech engineering as well as health, wellbeing, events, accommodation and aviation. With a potential investment total of £300m-plus Bicester Motion hopes to develop the existing site into a state-of-the-art all-encompassing facility where automotive business, engineering and tourism can flourish.
Dan Geoghegan, chief executive of Bicester Motion, commented: “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.”
“Being around 90 minutes from 50% of the UK population makes the Bicester Motion location second to none, furthermore Oxfordshire receives 27.6 million visitors per annum. Of those, 7 million visitors head to Bicester Village a stone’s throw away, with arguably the most desirable national and international demographic to the automotive industry.”