Oxford Utd Gains Initial Approval for New Stadium But With Conditions

today19/09/2023 46

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Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet has given preliminary approval for Oxford United Football Club to lease council-owned land near Kidlington for a new stadium. However, the approval comes with several stringent conditions to be met by the club.

Key Conditions for Lease Approval:

  1. Oxford United FC must secure planning permission from Cherwell District Council.
  2. The club is required to present a fully-costed, net-zero plan with clear timelines and goals, encompassing the design, construction, and operation of the stadium.
  3. The club needs to provide detailed commitments that match its earlier submissions to the county council.
  4. Restrictive covenants will be implemented to limit land use to football, community sports, and leisure, with limited commercial activities within the stadium area.

Initially, selling the land was considered, but after extensive discussions, leasing emerged as the chosen path.

Public Input Weighs Heavily

The decision followed a thorough public engagement process in 2022 and 2023, with over 5,000 people and organizations participating in a survey. The council’s Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee also provided valuable insights.

Transport and Parking Concerns

Council Leader Cllr Liz Leffman expressed gratitude for public input and acknowledged that concerns about transport and parking had not yet been fully resolved by the club. These issues must be addressed in detail as part of the planning process.

Potential Benefits to Oxfordshire

Leffman highlighted the council’s expectation that the new stadium could offer long-term benefits, including local employment, educational opportunities for youth, and improved facilities for local sports groups. These aspects will be essential conditions in any future contract with the club.

“The club must now prove they can meet these conditions. If they don’t, we won’t sign,” Leffman stated.

Residents will have another opportunity to voice their concerns and suggestions during the planning application process, marking the next crucial step for Oxford United FC.

For more details on the club’s plans and the cabinet report, click here.

Written by: Hamish Law

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