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Former RAF Upper Heyford, Bicester, Oxfordshire

DATE: 01 Oct 2008

A 5 week call-in Inquiry in October 08, January and March 2009 into a massive redevelopment scheme, promoted by the North Oxford Consortium (represented by Martin Kingston QC), for a 505 hectare site at former US airforce base.

During the Cold War, the site was one of the largest US Air Force bases in Europe and most of the military infrastructure remains, including a battle command centre, bomb stores and 56 hardened aircraft shelters. The proposal was for a new settlement of 1,075 dwellings together with associated works and facilities, including employment uses, community uses, a primary school, playing fields and other physical and social infrastructure. In addition to the housing, employment and sustainability elements of the proposals, there were significant conservation and heritage issues, relating to scheduled monuments and listed buildings on the site, which has also been designated a Conservation Area. Graeme was jointly instructed (leading Gwion Lewis) by Cherwell District Council and Oxford County Council. The Councils opposed the scheme because it conflicted with a Comprehensive Development Brief prepared by Cherwell to achieve strategic long term objectives for the site. A large number of related enforcement and temporary planning permission appeals have been adjourned and remain to be determined.

It is generating considerable media interest: the BBCs coveragecan be followed here.