‘UK’s first eco-town’ to be built in Oxfordshire


The “UK’s first eco-town” will be built in Oxfordshire – boasting hundreds of new homes. 

North West Bicester Ecotown
North West Bicester Ecotown. Credit: Firethorn Trust.

Property investment firm Firethorn Trust has been granted outline planning permission to bring new housing as part of the wider North West Bicester Ecotown. 

The company wants to build 530 new homes on a 55-acre site to the northwest of the market town in the county’s Cherwell district.   

It follows an appeal process, in which the Planning Inspectorate placed “significant weight on the fact” the new homes would support delivery of North West Bicester Ecotown. 

The wider scheme is the first of its kind in the UK, it is understood. 

North West Bicester Ecotown
North West Bicester Ecotown. Credit Willmott Dixon.

Willmott Dixon’s Homes Division was appointed to the first phase of the development by housing association A2Dominion.   

The £27 million contract involved constructing 91 of the initial batch of “true zero carbon” homes. 

The first phase by Willmott was designed and built using Bioregional’s One Planet Living® sustainability framework, and in 2015 was endorsed as a ‘Leader’ in One Planet Living, one of only 18 developments in the world to achieve this rating.

The planning application by Firethorn details “sustainable infrastructure” to reduce the community’s carbon footprint. 

It also points to the installation of renewable energy sources for the estate. 

The new homes will also address the “diverse residential needs across socio-economic backgrounds”, said Firethorn. 

Forty per cent of the development’s green space will feature natural play areas, retained woodland and meadows. 

The site is owned by Firethorn Trust and forms part of its Living portfolio.   


  • Cherwell District Council 

“As a true zero carbon development, North West Bicester Ecotown is setting the standard for future homes,” said Firethorn director, Marcus Weeks. 

“The recent decision to allow the appeal and grant planning reinforces the considered approach that we take on every Firethorn development project and is a significant step towards realising our vision of creating a modern, sustainable and vibrant living environment, as part of the landmark scheme.”  

Adding: “We are well capitalised and excited to pursue more development opportunities for residential, BTR and PBSA.” 

Firethorn Trust was approached for further comment.  

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