Next Bicester

Next Plc
Central Shopfitters
Final Contract Value
Completion Date
March 2020

Project Brief

Essential Projects was contracted to install a bespoke feature staircase at a Next Plc store, as part of a new retail shopping park in Bicester.

Developed by London based firm, Consolidated Property Group, the £40 million retail park, located just off the A41 next to the Kingsmere housing estate, had been built to save people in Bicester from having to travel out of town for high street brands.

Next and Marks & Spencer Simply Food were both early tenants to move into the 100,000 sq ft Bicester Shopping Park, which is also home to major brands such as Nike, Boots, and PureGym.

The plans for the retail park were approved in April 2017, after previously being refused over concerns about traffic on the already-busy A41.

The essential solution

As part of the development works, Essential Projects was contracted by Central Shopfitters to manufacture a bespoke feature staircase, as well as handrails and other bespoke items.

In keeping with Next brand guidelines, the metalwork for the bespoke straight, two flight glass staircases were fabricated in-house by Essential Projects and shipped to Bicester where it was installed by our experienced on-site team, in accordance with the structural engineers’ precise specification.

The staircase was a glass riser design with 12mm glass panels fitted to the rear of each tread to allow light through the staircase whilst still giving a safe access that complies with all regulations. A glass balustrade system using 19mm thick toughened ‘low iron’ and incorporated stainless steel handrails was used both sides of the staircase.

A back of house galvanised steel staircase was also installed by other contractors on site to provide customers and staff with an alternative fire exit route in the case of emergency. Essential Projects added the steel handrail required as part of the was also installed to both sides of the staircase to ensure the safety of users.

Essential Projects was also asked to manufacture a number of bespoke glass and steel items which included work to the glass balustrade system which was installed around a newly created atrium which had been installed to create additional upper level retail display floor space and a new Costa coffee.

Essential Projects also installed a ships ladder to provide access to the roof. Ships ladders are generally preferred to normal ladders since they are more like stairs. They are typically installed in mechanical spaces or on rooftops.


Central Shopfitters and Essential Projects have a very good working relationship, having completed a number of fit out projects together. They have consistently always provided a very reliable service. The products they install are of the highest standard and importantly are delivered on time and at a reasonable price.

Central Shopfitters, Managing Director, Marc Dilkes

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