Tag Archives: Regeneration

NW Bicester

Bioregional Oxfordshire supported the development of the UK’s first eco-town North West Bicester, from 2010 to 2017, through a long-term partnership with lead developer, A2Dominion, and the local authority, Cherwell District Council

The UK’s first eco-town

NW Bicester eco-town is a 6,000-home extension to the market town of Bicester, with highly sustainable, true zero-carbon homes plus workplaces, schools, community facilities and abundant green space.

It is the only development to be built to the original high sustainability standards outlined in the UK’s official government Eco Towns Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 2009. The policy was scrapped in 2015.

Bioregional got involved with the eco-town process in 2008 when our CEO Sue Riddlestone OBE sat on its advisory panel, helping to define the standards for the PPS.

Following this work , Bioregional started working with NW Bicester’s lead developer A2Dominion and the planning authority, Cherwell District Council to help deliver the eco-town.

Working across the traditional planning divide, we took a collaborative approach to understanding the PPS standards and developing the strategies to deliver them.  We provided advice on energy, waste, water, landscape, transport, green space and nature, and employment strategies.

We have also helped deliver sustainability benefits across the wider town by working with the local authority and other organisations. Read more.

What makes a One Planet Community?

Elmsbrook is the first phase of the eco-town, a 393-home One Planet Community. Bioregional helped A2Dominion to prepare an ambitious sustainability action plan using the One Planet Living framework. This action plan was then endorsed by Bioregional in 2012.

Construction of Elmsbrook began in the spring of 2014, with the first residents moving in mid-2016.

With a local office nearby in Bicester, Bioregional Oxfordshire worked with A2Dominion during the  first phase to ensure it fulfils its sustainability promises.

The 393-home One Planet Community includes a primary school, community centre, an eco-business centre and local neighbourhood shops, creating a village feel.

  • All homes are built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 incorporating triple glazing, rainwater harvesting and water recycling.
  • Electricity is generated from PV solar panels on every home (34 square metres per property on average) which, when complete, will make this the UK’s largest residential solar array.
  • Heat and hot water come from the community’s own combined heat and power plant. The ambition is to eventually use waste heat from the existing Ardley energy-from-waste facility nearby.
  • With cycle and pedestrian routes, a bus stop within 400 metres of every home, live timetable updates in each home, charging points for electric vehicles and an electric car club, residents are being encouraged to adopt sustainable modes of travel.

Heart of Hackbridge

Working with the local council and community, we have transformed a run-down local shopping parade blighted by speeding traffic. We’ve helped shopkeepers to make their businesses more competitive and eco-efficient and made the area far more attractive for pedestrians.

Sustainability in suburbia

Bioregional developed and led a partnership bid to the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund to radically improve the suburban local centre of Hackbridge, preparing it for the challenges it will face over the coming years. These include major housing and retail redevelopment of surrounding brownfield sites.

Overseen by a local resident and stakeholder Project Board which we set up, and working across the ten One Planet Living principles, BioRegional has delivered a multifaceted £1.4 million regeneration programme including:

  • Local economic development, working with 23 existing local traders to diversify their offer and cut their energy bills, to prepare for the competitive challenges they face
  • Sustainable business operations, including south London’s first Marine Stewardship Council-certified fish & chip shop and a solar-powered coffee van
  • Community development, including running family events and facilitating a local business network.

We underpinned this with a co-ordinated programme of high-impact low-cost environmental improvements, including:

  • A traffic calming scheme, with a safer highway layout, narrowing the main carriageways and junction, with new informal pedestrian crossing points
  • Transformation of the street setting, by widening of pavements and installing new trees, seats, cycle facilites, rain-gardens, wayfinding, shopfronts and signage
  • Creation of a new ‘Pocket Park’, providing a new entrance to the Beddington Farmlands and emerging Wandle Valley Regional Park.

Five new jobs have been created in local businesses, and one new business has started up. To promote this positive change we organised three community events in the centre attracting more than 1,000 people.

The bulk of the  work was completed in 2014, with the Pocket Park being completed in June 2015. This has transformed a neglected corner plagued by fly-tipping and unauthorised car parking, providing a tranquil green space to sit, chat and relax a few yards from the shops and services.

In the Spring of 2015 we surveyed Hackbridge centre visitors to find out what impact these changes had made. Compared to findings from a baseline survey in 2012, we found visitors were likely to come to the centre, spend more time and money in it, had a better opinion of it and felt the local shops had improved.

The proportion of visitors saying they:

  • visited the shops every day  doubled, from 31% to 63%
  • felt the local shops were either poor or very poor fell from 26% to just 8%
  • spent more than £10 per visit rose from 49% to 58%
  • spent more than 15 minutes per visit rose from  25% to 55%.

About our partners

The London Borough of Sutton took the lead role in the highway engineering aspects of this project. It is the first One Planet Council.

Adams & Sutherland Architecture, Landscape and Urban Design were the project’s designer

Retail Revival were our retail consultants for this project.

Heart of Hackbridge regeneration

BioRegional has developed and led a partnership bid to the Mayor’s Outer London Fund to prepare the suburban local centre of Hackbridge for the challenges it will face over the coming years.

These included major redevelopment of surrounding brownfield sites, and its new role as a district centre in the retail hierarchy of south London.

Overseen by a local stakeholder Project Board and working across the ten One Planet Living principles, BioRegional delivered a socio-economic regeneration programme with community-led consultations including:

  • Local economic development, working with 23 existing local traders to diversify their offer to prepare for the competitive challenges associated with an emerging district centre;
  • Sustainable business operations, including south London’s  first MSC-certified fish & chip shop, a solar-powered coffee van, and a healthier and more family-friendly menu in the local cafe; and
  • Community development, including running family events and facilitating a local business network.

We underpinned this with a co-ordinated programme of high-impact low-cost environmental improvements, including:

  • Safer highway layout, narrowing the main carriageways and junction, with new informal pedestrian crossing points;
  • Transformation of the street setting, by widening of pavements and installing new trees, seats, cycle facilites, rain-gardens, wayfinding, 
  • shopfronts and signage; and 
  • Creation of a new ‘Pocket Park’, providing a positive new entrance to the Beddington Farmlands and emerging Wandle Valley Regional Park.

The  outcomes of the project will be monitored in Summer  2014, but are expected to include safer roads, greater footfall and greater patronage of local busineses. Already 5 new jobs have been created in local businesses, and two new businesses have started up.