Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

Supermarket backs Bicester plans

A new deal is being negotiated to keep alive hopes of building a new town centre for Bicester.

The 70m project which stalled in the financial crisis included plans to build a new superstore, restaurants, cinema and library.

A report to Cherwell District Council says the supermarket chain Sainsbury's is still keen to support the project.

Sainsbury's has offered to buy out the developers involved but is demanding exclusivity to protect its investment.

The report says refusal would delay the scheme and cause problems because Sainsbury's now owns much of the land involved.

Cherwell District Council, Stockdale Land and Sainsbury's say they are optimistic that a deal can be reached.

"Our commitment is to revitalise Bicester through the redevelopment of the town centre," said Councillor Norman Bolster.

"Now that we have, in principle, a new development agreement with our partners we are confident that work can start in the near future," he said.

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