Bicester Town has had a long association with the Military, and with plans for Bicester’s expansion, it looks very much as if the military will continue to contribute towards its shape and feel for some considerable time to come. Traditionally the military capabilities have centred around storage and distribution as, during WW2, it became one of the Army’s key road and rail-served storage sites and a hub for distribution throughout the world. In 2015 the responsibility for managing Defence warehousing and distribution was outsourced to Team Leidos in partnership with Kuehne + Nagel. Naturally, this brings with it change, but the Garrison maintains a continued Defence warehousing and distribution presence in the area.
The military footprint of some 1,000 military personnel and the many civil servants and civilians employed in Defence contracting makes Bicester Garrison a major player in the Bicester community. It is, therefore, reassuring to know that the military and their families continue to enjoy great support from the local community underpinned by very productive links with Bicester Town Council and local businesses.
In broad order, Bicester hosts two Regiments and two Squadrons plus various other military detachments. The major Army presence is Royal Logistic Corps, Royal Engineer and Royal Signals personnel, but there is a spread of individuals from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force as well as other Army cap badges. The community can expect to see a change in military numbers in response to Defence planning which should mature in the next two years.
Coordinating the Defence presence is Headquarters Bicester Garrison based in Arncott, whose Garrison Support Unit provides a range of military support to Garrison units including Infrastructure, Logistics, Security, Administration and Conservation. This enables the units to train, deploy and be successful on operations.
With the introduction of the Military Covenant in Oxfordshire and an increased emphasis on civil-military relations, the military are now more integrated with their local councils and business development leaders than ever before. They are represented at a variety of forums across the county with Bicester being held up as the exemplar in many areas.
The Garrison is keen to develop ever closer links and further integrate itself with local business and the wider community. To do so will benefit both Garrison personnel and contribute towards the development of a vibrant and expanding town. Membership of Bicester Vision is an enabler of that intent.
St. Georges Barracks, Bicester Garrison
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