Councillors have agreed to lease land to Oxford United for a new stadium.
Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet agreed at its September 19 meeting to lease land at The Triangle, south of the Kidlington roundabout, to the club. A lease was chosen over the officers’ recommendation to sell the freehold but the leasehold contains some key conditions:
- The club must be given planning permission by Cherwell District Council.
- The club must produce a net-zero plan that is costed with timescales
- The club must provide detail of how it will meet the commitments made in its submissions to the county council so far
- Restrictive covenants will be put in place that will set aside the use of the land for football/community sports and leisure/sports stadia for the term of the lease, with limited commercial activities permitted only within the stadium footprint
Cllr Liz Leffman, county council leader, said: “Cabinet members have individually and collectively thought long and hard about this decision. There has been a huge amount to weigh up in considering this matter and we recognise that there are very strong and diverse views.
“We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to share their feedback with us, which we have studied in great detail.
“We know that many local residents have concerns about the stadium, particularly around transport and parking. Officers advised us that these had not yet been fully addressed in the information provided by the club.
“The conditional agreement to lease the land is only the first step in the process and the club must now provide much more detailed proposals alongside the planning process, including addressing transport and connectivity issues.
“Our officers will be scrutinising these plans in detail in our statutory role as local highways authority.
“A key factor for the cabinet in reaching this decision has been to bring long-term benefit to communities in Oxfordshire. We believe the new stadium has the potential to do this by providing local employment, education opportunities for our young people, much improved facilities for local sports groups, and securing the future of county’s only professional football league club, which has such a positive impact on many people’s lives.
“We have asked the club to spell these out as they now develop their plans through the planning process and we will insist on them through the conditions we place on a future contract. It is now for the club to demonstrate that they can develop the detailed proposals to meet the aspirations they set out in their statements to us and to the public. If they fail to do this, we will not sign.
“Once again, we would like to thank everyone who has taken part in this extensive and thorough process.
“The next step for the club is to submit a planning application, and residents will once again be able to share their views as part of this process.”
Cllr Susan Brown, leader of Oxford City Council, said: “Oxford City Council are strong supporters of Oxford United and their fans and have been over many decades, including providing land for their training facilities at Oxford Sports Park.
“We want what’s in the best interests of Oxford United and the fans, and so we’re delighted that Oxfordshire County Council has agreed to provide the club land to build a new stadium.
“If planning permission is granted, the stadium will not only provide the Us with a new home, it will become a hub for sport, entertainment and tourism that will support jobs and Oxfordshire’s economy.
“With new training facilities and a new stadium secured, we hope Oxford United has the platform to thrive, grow and get back to the successes I remember growing up in Oxford in the 1980s.”
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