Kingsmere, South West Bicester


Bicester, Oxfordshire


Bovis Homes and others

Scheme summary

  • Mixed use development in two phases: Up to 1685 dwellings, health village, employment use, local centre, community building, children’s nursery, primary school, secondary school, sports village and new perimeter road
  • Design Code approved in 2008 seeks to provide some certainty and consistency across the whole development. As such is a material consideration when determining applications across the site
  • Emphasis on the built form has been taken from local traditional vernacular
  • Average density across the site is 34dph, the highest density within the central area of the site with lower densities at the southern end
  • Sports pitch provision for this site is greater than general policy requirement as the allocation also sought to address the existing sports pitch deficiency for Bicester
  • A series of open spaces link the development
  • The transfer of land to CDC between the development and Chesterton village will enable a new community woodland to be delivered

Successful design elements

  • Open spaces have successfully combined SUDS drainage, ecology and allow pedestrian/cycle movement through the development and play space
  • Main Avenue has strong built frontages creating a strong defined private/public realm –active frontages promote natural surveillance and street hierarchy creates a sense of place
  • Good use of street trees and strong landscaping to main streets
  • School used as a community facility and was well received by residents
  • Individual parcels tend to work together despite the range of different house builders on site who each have their own interpretation of the Design Code and wish to adopt their own individual house types/styles
  • Good sense of community and the residents generally like living on Kingsmere
  • Hotel is trading at in excess of 90% capacity
  • Bovis achieved a ‘Built for Life Award’ presented to CDC

Lessons Learnt

  • Development hierarchy is less well-defined once away from the primary and secondary streets
  • Integration with the remainder of Bicester and good footpath links to town centre with easy crossing facilities not evident
  • Landmark and marker buildings were identified through the Design Code to aid legibility through the site and emphasise subtle differences between the character areas, difficult to successfully identify these buildings in reality
  • Street design – predominance of on-street car parking and lots of complaints from residents, parking courts not always successful and no frontage access to Primary street creates issues of parking at rear
  • Roads designed to keep speeds down, but residents find speeding an issue
  • Use of timber fencing to public domain and in parking courts
  • Window details and use of false windows
  • Attention to detail – need to monitor development regularly during construction
  • Subtitle : Residential