Bicester Heritage this week unveiled ‘Bicester Motion’, its masterplan for the creation of the UK’s first automotive resort, with an ambition to become one of the country’s top 20 tourist and leisure destinations.
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.
As Bicester Motion launches across 444 acres, the new resort hopes to offer leisure, culture and tourism experiences within one destination. Consisting of multiple zones, the Bicester Motion concept comprises of the recently announced 344 room hotel 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.
As a unique, holistic experience, Bicester Motion seeks to become a UK top 20 tourist attraction that offers a destination for one million tourists many of whom already visit Bicester on day trips, and a further 30+ businesses providing over 2,000 skilled jobs to the area. Embracing the location’s inherent history and existing business success, Bicester Motion will provide world class leisure facilities, employment and business opportunities at a leading automotive-focused development unlike any other.
Bicester Motion aims to be the first experiential automotive resort where visitors can become fully immersed in the breadth of our automotive culture, from existing on-site historic vehicle specialists through to future electric and autonomous technology. This 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.
Bicester Motion aspires to include a brand experience centre offering driver experiences on both road and off-road courses with restaurants and cafés, offering activities for the whole family. Close to the brand centre, the aim is to transform the dilapidated quarry 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 breaks.
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. This planned new centre of excellence will be a thriving home for automotive ‘tech’ development, demonstration and education.
Providing an introduction to the future of the automotive movement is central to Bicester Motion’s concept and where else in the UK is it possible to experience future vehicles in conjunction with our motoring history, past and present? The existing perimeter circuit, The Radial, once refurbished will offer visitors the chance to experience these vehicles in a controlled environment as well as learn skills.
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’.
“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,” said Dan Geoghegan, Chief Executive of Bicester Motion. “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."