Oxford United are aiming to move a step closer to a new stadium today. The club’s proposal to lease land at Stratfield Brake, near Kidlington, will be discussed by Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet. The cabinet is recommended to enter into negotiations as requested by Oxford United Football Club (OUFC) and with Oxfordshire County Council’s current tenants to enable the use of Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) owned land for the development of a new football stadium, subject to planning permission, with councillors to decide whether to allow United to lease the land for 250 years, with a view to building on the site.
The club have asked for 18 hectares, with initial plans to include an 18,000-capacity stadium, sports and community grounds and hotel, retail and conference facilities. Oxford United would then need to submit a planning application to Cherwell District Council by May 2023 to be playing in a new ground in 2026, when their lease at the Kassam Stadium runs out.
Currently the club don’t own the ground and pay substantial rent to former chairman Firoz Kassam. As reported by local media the cabinet report includes the line: ‘OUFC propose that the lease would be taken in the name of a corporate entity, owned 100% by Oxford United Directors shareholders, to be set up to develop the scheme’. The club has since addressed this and say it is a ‘key objective’ that the stadium is controlled by the club for the full 250-year lease.
The suggested overall site is situated on Green Belt land, which has already drawn criticism from certain quarters, especially with other developments being built nearby. Several community sports teams already use Stratfield Brake by way of a hire agreement and clubs in the locality like Gosford All Blacks, Kidlington Cricket Club and Kidlington Youth FC have been asked to provide their thoughts on the initial plans ahead of the cabinet meeting.