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Bicester Heritage Reaches Full Occupancy as 50th Specialist Joins the Site

 

  • Bicester Heritage, founded in 2013 as the home of historic motoring enterprise in the UK, is now at full occupancy. It’s one part of the overall Bicester Motion site
  • 50 Specialists are now housed on the former RAF Technical Site in sympathetically restored buildings or entirely new developments
  • First tenants included classic car specialists like Pendine Historic Cars and Classic Performance Engineering, but the site now welcomes global brands like Morgan Motor Company and Singer Vehicle Design
  • Last four tenants signal the next stage in Bicester Motion’s vision: to become an ecosystem for the past, present and future of mobility, technology, culture and community
  • Bicester Heritage has welcomed Polestar, NEOM McLaren Formula E, Zapp Electric Vehicles and Zero Petroleum in recent months
  • Development now begins on Bicester Innovation, due for completion Q1 2026
  • In the next 5-7 years, Bicester Motion’s four quarters will be complete: Heritage, Innovation, Experience and Wilderness.

Bicester Heritage, a part of the overall Bicester Motion site, has now welcomed its 50th Specialist, meaning this area of the former RAF Technical Site is now at capacity, creating a thriving ecosystem of classic car, automotive and mobility-themed specialists. The last four tenants could hardly be more different to the first, with Polestar, NEOM McLaren Formula E, Zapp Electric Vehicles and Zero Petroleum joining a line-up of businesses that includes vintage Bentley specialist Kingsbury Racing Shop, classic Porsche experts Sports Purpose and the Vintage Car Radiator Company. But Bicester Heritage itself has become a microcosm of the overall Bicester Motion vision: a hub for the past, present and future of mobility.

Founded in 2013 as a response to a changing historic motoring industry, Bicester Heritage is now considered to be the home of historic motoring enterprise in the UK, a sector worth £18.8bn per annum, The Bicester Aerodrome Company, launched in 2020, also sits within this area, following its launch in 2020, promoting aviation activity from the historic grass airfield.

Bicester Heritage is held as an exemplar of constructive conservation by Historic England, crucially maintaining the look and feel of the nation’s best-preserved World War 2 RAF Bomber Station. In summer 2020, Bicester Motion Heritage completed construction and delivery of ‘The Command Works’ –  the first significant new-build construction in 80 years at the location.

With ‘The Command Works’ complete and all historic buildings on-site reinvigorated, Bicester Heritage’s vision of hosting 50 Specialists could be fulfilled. And just two years after the completion of The Command Works that vision has come to fruition.

The ‘marina’-like feel of Bicester Heritage created many new business opportunities for companies that chose to base themselves there; a customer of Vintage Car Radiator Company may equally be interested in pre-war Bentleys or classic Porsches, for example. And as these branching connections have grown, more and more businesses from diverse areas of mobility have realized the benefits: Morgan Motor Company and Singer Vehicle Design – both major global automotive brands – now each have a base at Bicester Heritage, as does the governing body of all four-wheel motor racing in the UK: Motorsport UK.

The site itself has become a visitor attraction, with regular ‘Scramble’ events opening up the time-warp base to 7,000 attendees each time for an insight into the skilled work that the on-site businesses do. Around 100,000 people visit Bicester Heritage each year. And, the latest four new tenants have each seen the benefit of being based at a ‘destination’ venue already with a large footfall of visitors.

EV-only car brand Polestar has established its UK commercial head office at Bicester Heritage, as has NEOM McLaren Formula E, an electric motorsport contender. The creators of electric motorbike scooters, Zapp EV, also join the former RAF base, alongside Zero Petroleum, who create fossil-free fuels for use in all forms of transport, including aeroplanes – a futuristic link to the site’s aviation past.

The overall Bicester Motion site, of which Bicester Heritage forms just one part, will look to build on this successful symbiotic community feel to create a hub for the past, present and future of mobility. The new Bicester Innovation development is shortly due to break ground, bringing a new knowledge economy area to the site, offering 230,000sq/ft and on-site test tracks and airfield to accommodate market-disrupting businesses in the mobility space. The mobility industry is at a tipping point, with an estimated £3.7bn investment per year into automotive and mobility solutions, and a predicted £62bn in economic growth from connected and autonomous vehicles by 2030. The battery market alone in the UK is expected to be worth £9bn by 2040.

In the future, visitors to Bicester Motion will also be able to enjoy the forthcoming Bicester Experience and Wilderness quarters. Bicester Motion plans to become a top 20 UK visitor attraction.

Daniel Geoghegan, the Chief Executive of Bicester Motion, said: “From the very beginning, our vision for Bicester Heritage has been to create a vibrant hub for 50 Specialists to safeguard crucial heritage skills and boost both the local and national economies. We’re delighted to see our vision believed in so enthusiastically by such a diverse range of businesses of all sizes on-site, which gives us great confidence in the forthcoming stages of our Bicester Motion masterplan. Future-facing businesses already believe in what we’ve created at Bicester Heritage, but with our forthcoming Innovation Quarter, now we’re developing an area built especially for their needs.”

Development of Bicester Innovation is expected to begin in 2023, with the buildings open for occupation early 2026.