County Council set to consider Oxford United’s request for land near Kidlington for a new stadium

Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet is to consider an approach from Oxford United Football Club to develop a new 18,000 capacity football stadium with linked leisure and commercial facilities on land owned by the council near Kidlington.

The football club has asked the county council to lease 18 hectares/44.48 acres of land that it owns at Stratfield Brake for 250 years. Apart from the stadium the club’s proposal also includes facilities such as a hotel, retail, conferencing and training and community grounds.

 The council’s cabinet will discuss the proposal to lease its land to OUFC at its meeting on January 18. Officers have recommended that councillors give approval for the council to enter into negotiations with the club and the council’s current tenants on the land.

 The report that will be presented to cabinet sets out the council’s core principles in terms of how council-owned land should be used and against which the proposal will be tested by cabinet members in making their decision on January 18.

 For cabinet to give approval to enter negotiations with the football club the council would want to be assured in the following areas:

  • Enhanced facilities for local sports groups and on-going financial support;
  • Significant improvements to the infrastructure connectivity in the location, improving public transport to reduce the need for car travel in so far as possible, and to improve sustainable transport through increased walking, cycling and rail use;
  • Development for local employment opportunities in Oxfordshire.
  • Increased education and innovation through the provision of a sports centre of excellence and facilities linked to elite sport, community sport, health and wellbeing;
  • Support for the council’s net zero carbon emissions pledge through high sustainable development;

 The report makes clear that if the proposal is agreed the county council would like to see any planning proposal recognise the importance of the green belt by including greater public access to green spaces.

 The county council has also been very clear in the report that it is not prepared to relinquish its current lease to the Woodland Trust which has land at Stratfield Brake. It is therefore not part of any proposal being considered.

 What happens next?

  • The county council’s cabinet will debate the proposal on January 18
  • Should approval be given for officers to open negotiations with the football club these would then take place.
  • Should the council and the club then subsequently agree on a way forward, the club would need to submit a planning application to Cherwell District Council.