There was a double celebration at Kingsmere, Countryside Properties (Bicester) Limited’s development in Bicester on Friday 18th May as MP, Victoria Prentis handed over the keys to the newly built Community and Youth Centre buildings at Kingsmere Village Centre, to Cherwell District Council.  At the same event, children from St Edburg’s Primary School unveiled two beautiful new public artworks created for the village centre.

Victoria Prentis was on hand last October to mark the start on site of the community centre and youth centre buildings and laid the first brick. It was fitting that she returned to Kingsmere to formally hand over the keys of the buildings on behalf of the developer, Countryside Properties (Bicester) Ltd to the leader of the Cherwell District Council, Councillor Barry Wood.

Victoria commented: “The Community and Youth Centres are important additions to Kingsmere, providing places for residents of all ages to meet, socialise and get to know one another. I have watched with great interest as this development has grown and enjoyed being involved in its progress. North Oxfordshire has several development sites under construction and I look forward to watching them grow in the same way.” The residents group that has come together to manage these terrific new community facilities were also on hand to mark the occasion and to enjoy a tour of the buildings.”

Councillor Wood said: “I feel confident that these new facilities will serve as a heart to Kingsmere.  I know that the Kingsmere Community Centre group have great plans for a range of clubs, activities and events here once fully open.  I believe it will provide a popular place for people to come together, meet new friends and neighbours and strengthen the community spirit that will ensure Kingsmere thrives in Bicester.”

Andrew Carrington, Director of Countryside Properties (Bicester) Limited comments: “The handover of these stunning new community facilities marks a further significant marker in the history of Kingsmere.  This community hub is just across the road from St Edburg’s school, a school which has gone from strength to strength over the past 18 months, since opening. The location is perfect for the school, as well as the residents of Kingsmere and the wider community.  I look forward to seeing these buildings come to life!”

Renowned public artist, Suzanne Driscoll, has created two striking pieces of art for Kingsmere. The much-anticipated installations, commissioned by Countryside Properties (Bicester) Ltd, with the support of Cherwell District Council’s arts team, are both situated within the village centre, in the heart of Kingsmere, and provide eye catching landmarks in the village. Suzanne worked closely with the pupils of St Edburg’s Primary School to come up with the creative themes for her artwork.

Suzanne Driscoll comments: “From the start I wanted to create visual treats; artwork that people could step into, walk through and look at from below or from the sides.  With these thoughts in mind my design for the pieces gradually immerged.  Though tall in stature and made from modern materials, the structures have an intimate feel. The larger piece is positioned as a focal point at the centre of a circular seating area and will act as a meeting place, a relaxing area or a zone for contemplation.  It features imagery of the plants that grew on the former farmland at Kingsmere.  These wonderfully intertwined designs embrace Kingsmere’s roots and history for the community.

The second piece of artwork is designed to act as a beacon, leading people into the centre. It stands where the pathway leaves the road, providing a visual feature for the entrance. This smaller piece has a layered roof which acts as a shelter, an umbrella or a canopy and standing underneath it and looking up flying skylarks can be spotted.”

Cherwell and the Kingsmere Community Centre Group will be looking to open the community and youth centres to residents and the wider Bicester community later in the year.    These facilities will be joined by a convenience store and local shops, a day nursery and community recycling centre now under construction

The thriving village of Kingsmere also includes a new primary school and secondary school due to open next year.  Kingsmere is served by excellent transport connections and the development is home to a selection of house styles which have proved hugely popular for a range of home buyers.

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