Apartments to be built on former Banbury college site

Extra care apartments are set to replace vacant buildings unused by Banbury and Bicester College. Picture by John Cairns. L-150113-132640001
Extra care apartments are set to replace vacant buildings unused by Banbury and Bicester College. Picture by John Cairns. L-150113-132640001

Vacant buildings at Banbury and Bicester College are set to be demolished to make way for 78 extra care apartments in Banbury.

Members of Cherwell District Council’s planning committee approved plans to demolish the buildings on the site between Broughton Road and Bath Road at a meeting at Bodicote House yesterday (Thursday).

In its place the college will be replaced with two, three and four storey buildings offering 30 one-bedroom and 48 two-bedroom apartments.

Councillor Michael Gibbard, Cherwell’s lead member for planning, said: “The college buildings have been left empty since the departments were transferred elsewhere so the provision of housing for the older generations does not come at the expense of education for the younger generations. This is a prominent site within walking distance of Banbury town centre, served by bus routes on both the Bath Road and Broughton Road and on the doorstep of People’s Park.

“Gone are the days when extra care apartments used to be tucked away in villages leaving residents isolated. We want to ensure the older generations remain as independent and included as possible by ensuring they have good, strong and accessible links to town centres and all of their amenities. This development ticks all the boxes and we are pleased that such a prevalent site is being brought back into use in such a worthwhile way.”

The application was submitted by Bromford Homes Ownership Ltd and Activate Learning. The site currently has single and two-storey commercial-style buildings which will be demolished to make way for linked blocks of two, three and four-storey buildings to form the extra care residential development.

The 78 apartments will be available for rent, shared ownership and outright sale. In addition to the apartments, the development will also include a central community facility with a meeting space, lounge, dining and activity areas as well as 39 car parking spaces.

In granting permission for the site, members imposed a condition that work must begin on the development within three years of yesterday’s meeting.