Council approves pilot scheme to reduce vacant town centre properties

Plans to reduce vacant town centre properties and boost economic growth have been given the go ahead by Cherwell District Council.

On Monday, 6 March Cherwell’s executive approved a report outlining proposals to award business rates incentives to bring empty properties in the centres of Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington back into use.  

The report proposes a two-year pilot scheme to support these town and village centres and their existing businesses by offering a Business Rates Incentives Scheme, focussed on ensuring properties which become vacant are brought back into use as soon as possible.

Cllr Ken Atack, lead member for financial management, said: “Cherwell is fully committed to sustaining the economic growth of the district. The aim of the scheme is to help reduce empty properties, to increase the diversity of the town centres and offer an incentive for new or expanding businesses looking to locate in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington.”

Business Rates, also known as National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR), are a form of tax payable by owners and occupiers of commercial properties in accordance with the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

Until April 2013, Business Rates were collected by Cherwell and passed to central government who redistributed them nationally. With the localisation of business rates from April 2013, councils were given more flexibility including the ability to reduce the business rates of any local ratepayer under a local discount or incentive scheme.

The pilot scheme will provide an incentive of 50 per cent business rates relief for up to two years to new businesses occupying vacant premises within designated areas.

The scheme will come into effect from 1 April 2017. To be eligible for the incentive the property must have been vacant for at least six months.

The scheme will be open to all businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 to £50,000, except those which are specifically excluded in the eligibility criteria.

For further information, please contact Geni Hotchkiss, Business Support Unit Manager, on 01327 322170 or geni.hotchkiss@cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk

Bicester is becoming a hot bed for new and existing businesses that want to grow.

“Bicester is becoming a hot bed for new and existing businesses that want to grow. We’ve got a great location, excellent business networks and access to high quality investment opportunities.”
2016-09-24T12:44:28+01:00
“Bicester is becoming a hot bed for new and existing businesses that want to grow. We’ve got a great location, excellent business networks and access to high quality investment opportunities.”

Membership of Bicester Vision has provided the best possible conduit for the military

"Membership of Bicester Vision has provided the best possible conduit for the military to both understand and contribute towards the development and Bicester Town"
2016-12-06T14:46:03+01:00
"Membership of Bicester Vision has provided the best possible conduit for the military to both understand and contribute towards the development and Bicester Town"

Being a member enables us to build a close understanding of the needs of local businesses

“Chiltern Railways provides fast, frequent train services from Bicester North station and the newly opened Bicester Village station to London, Birmingham, Oxford and key locations in between.  Being a member of Bicester Vision enables us to build a close understanding of the needs of local businesses and helps us to shape our future growth strategy.”

Stephen Barker, Chiltern Railways
2016-12-07T09:04:34+01:00
“Chiltern Railways provides fast, frequent train services from Bicester North station and the newly opened Bicester Village station to London, Birmingham, Oxford and key locations in between.  Being a member of Bicester Vision enables us to build a close understanding of the needs of local businesses and helps us to shape our future growth strategy.”Stephen Barker, Chiltern Railways

We have a profound interest in the progress of the Town

“The Bicester Chamber of Commerce and Bicester Vision have a profound interest in the progress of the Town and understand that in some circumstances the continual increase in the numbers of houses and businesses will cause disquiet, to individuals and existing business alike. Change is always with us, and both the “Chamber” and “Vision” endeavour to keep the standards from the past while facing, and working, with the challenges of the future.”

Peter Cox, Chairman of Bicester Chamber
2016-12-07T09:07:17+01:00
“The Bicester Chamber of Commerce and Bicester Vision have a profound interest in the progress of the Town and understand that in some circumstances the continual increase in the numbers of houses and businesses will cause disquiet, to individuals and existing business alike. Change is always with us, and both the “Chamber” and “Vision” endeavour to keep the standards from the past while facing, and working, with the challenges of the future.”Peter Cox, Chairman of Bicester Chamber

The primary objective for Bicester Vision is to provide opportunities for job creation

"The primary objective for Bicester Vision is to provide opportunities for job creation and this supports a key commitment within our Local Plan to deliver employment in line with housing. As a designated Garden Town, Bicester is expanding at the pace so it is essential to attract the inward investment and businesses who will be vital to this success. Through our membership with Bicester Vision, we can work with partners and existing businesses to access to additional channels, resources and innovative ideas to help us to achieve our goal as a district of opportunity and employment."

Karen Curtin, Commercial Director (Bicester) , Cherwell District Council
2016-12-07T09:10:34+01:00
"The primary objective for Bicester Vision is to provide opportunities for job creation and this supports a key commitment within our Local Plan to deliver employment in line with housing. As a designated Garden Town, Bicester is expanding at the pace so it is essential to attract the inward investment and businesses who will be vital to this success. Through our membership with Bicester Vision, we can work with partners and existing businesses to access to additional channels, resources and innovative ideas to help us to achieve our goal as a district of opportunity and employment."Karen Curtin, Commercial Director (Bicester) , Cherwell District Council

The County Council is a key partner in delivering infrastructure for housing and employment growth in Bicester

"The County Council is a key partner in delivering infrastructure for housing and employment growth in Bicester.  Essential to that is the close working across all tiers of government and the private sector to enable all Bicester businesses to prosper and create job opportunities for the community.  The Council has been a founding member and has seen the work of the partnership play an active role in shaping a flourishing Bicester."

Lisa Michelson, Locality Manager , Oxfordshire County Council
2016-12-07T09:30:32+01:00
"The County Council is a key partner in delivering infrastructure for housing and employment growth in Bicester.  Essential to that is the close working across all tiers of government and the private sector to enable all Bicester businesses to prosper and create job opportunities for the community.  The Council has been a founding member and has seen the work of the partnership play an active role in shaping a flourishing Bicester."Lisa Michelson, Locality Manager , Oxfordshire County Council

Bicester Town Council has been part of Bicester Vision since its inception

"Bicester Town Council has been part of Bicester Vision since its inception and are pleased to be able to work alongside the  business community and all tiers of local government to make Bicester the ‘go to’ place for business opportunity."

Sue Mackrell, Bicester Town Council
2016-12-07T09:44:43+01:00
"Bicester Town Council has been part of Bicester Vision since its inception and are pleased to be able to work alongside the  business community and all tiers of local government to make Bicester the ‘go to’ place for business opportunity."Sue Mackrell, Bicester Town Council

Through our work with Bicester Vision we are able identify the development needs of the town

“Ziran Land and its predecessor Stockdale Land has found that working closely with the business community of Bicester has enabled us to successfully develop Pioneer Square Shopping Centre and now to develop Franklin House, which was completed in 2016.  The growth of Bicester enables us, through our work with Bicester Vision, to identify the business, retail and leisure development needs of the town and to work closely with the business community to provide these.”

John Liggins, Managing Director, Ziran Land Limited
2016-12-07T09:47:00+01:00
“Ziran Land and its predecessor Stockdale Land has found that working closely with the business community of Bicester has enabled us to successfully develop Pioneer Square Shopping Centre and now to develop Franklin House...”

Bicester Vision is an effective way for interested parties to collaborate

"Bicester Vision is an effective way for interested parties to collaborate. We have recently worked with Lisa Rawlings at Banbury and Bicester College as being an industry partner for Bicester Technology studio school and supporting them on the curriculum, equipment specification, and funding. As well as facilitating other 3rd Party Logistics firms like DHL to be involved, Solar panel contact via the Low Carbon Hub to support on the building design for sustainable construction."

Steve Thornton, Director UK Logistics & Supply Chain, BRITA UK
2016-12-07T09:49:31+01:00
"Bicester Vision is an effective way for interested parties to collaborate. We have recently worked with Lisa Rawlings at Banbury and Bicester College as being an industry partner for Bicester Technology studio school and supporting them on the curriculum, equipment specification, and funding. As well as facilitating other 3rd Party Logistics firms like DHL to be involved, Solar panel contact via the Low Carbon Hub to support on the building design for sustainable construction."Steve Thornton, Director UK Logistics & Supply Chain, BRITA UK