RAF Bicester Conservation Area no longer “At Risk”

Bicester Heritage is thrilled to be informed that – after a mere 18 months of ownership – English Heritage has removed the conservation area of the former RAF Bicester from the Heritage At Risk Register. Considered by English Heritage to be one of their top ten priorities in the South East of England, the ex-RAF site was added to the Register in 2008: it was thought to be the most ‘at risk’ of all MOD bases in the country.

Owing to a close relationship with English Heritage and Cherwell District Council, Bicester Heritage has worked tirelessly since taking control at Easter 2013 and is proud to report that they are well on their way to returning the site to its former glory. As a result of this hard graft, the programme of works at Bicester Heritage has been held high as a national exemplar of constructive conservation in early 20th century military architecture.

The freshly restored buildings of the UK’s best-preserved WW2 bomber station are in many cases being used for their intended purpose once more. The RAF’s charismatic 1926 Lubricant Store will once again serve as a national headquarters for heritage motor oils and the Engine Test House is now the home of vintage Bentley specialist, Kingsbury Racing, rebuilding evocative 4.5 litre engines on the original RAF workbenches.

Across the 348 acre estate, many specialists have based themselves at the unique project which has swiftly established itself as a centre of excellence, geared to supporting the £4.3 Billion historic motoring industry and its aviation brethren.

“The former RAF Bicester site is one of our top ten priority sites. Following some recent changes in ownership, and the hard work of the local authority, we are delighted to be able to remove the RAF Bicester conservation area from the Register, as it is no longer at risk from inappropriate development. We are now working with the owners of the former Technical Site to begin conserving the scheduled structures…” – Clare Charlesworth, Principal Adviser, Heritage at Risk.

“We’ve seen great progress this year at important sites like RAF Bicester in Oxfordshire… We are pleased to say, however, that we have had several successes in removing historic sites from the Register this year as we and our many partners take care to keep attention focused on heritage at risk.” Dr Andy Brown, Planning and Conservation Director for English Heritage in the South East.

“The removal from the At Risk Register is the most significant public endorsement so far of Bicester Heritage’s vision and guardianship; we have benefitted hugely from the informed support and encouragement of English Heritage and Cherwell District Council’s Design and Conservation Team.” – Daniel Geoghegan, Managing Director of Bicester Heritage.