Bicester Heritage has been highly commended by the Royal Town Planning Institute at their Awards for Excellence in Planning for Heritage and Culture.

Since 2013, Bicester Heritage has carefully restored the derelict former RAF Bicester Aerodrome to create the first Centre of Excellence for historic motoring enterprise in the world. Based at the UK’s best-preserved WW2 RAF Bomber Station, Bicester Heritage has gone from a standing start just seven years ago, to the national focal point for a £8.8bn per annum industry, with over 45 specialist businesses based in fifty refurbished 1920s and 30s buildings. Now at capacity, Bicester Heritage has just completed a landmark extension to the historic site, sympathetically constructing the first new buildings at their location in eighty years.

The judges commented: “Bicester Heritage has demonstrated a collaborative approach to achieve long term protection and use of a challenging site. Its economic success and catering for a specialist industry benefits the local community and local workforce. The status of the scheme as a National Exemplar of Constructive Conservation is noteworthy. The economic impacts are impressive and the cluster concept is transferable on a national level. It’s clear that planning has made a central contribution and early dialogue and engagement with key stakeholders, and the use of a Heritage Partnership Agreement, provided a great foundation for

the success of this project. The judges were particularly impressed that the project facilitated over 1 million meals being provided to front line health workers during the first national Covid-19 lockdown, showing how embedded the project already is in the wider community.”

With stiff competition, Bicester Heritage was shortlisted alongside the winner, The Illuminated River project, one of the world’s’ most ambitious public art installations set on the Thames in London and The Liver Building, Liverpool’s iconic centrepiece.