Finance chief says commercial agreement for stadium will be made ‘fairly soon’

The club submitted its planning application for a 16,000-capacity stadium at The Triangle, south of Kidlington Roundabout, with the club’s licence agreement at the Kassam Stadium running out in 2026.

Questions on the stadium plans were first raised by Labour leader councillor Liz Brighouse followed by several other Labour councillors including Sussanah Pressel and Mark Lygo who asked why heads of terms had not been signed with the club.

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Mr Levy, the council’s cabinet member for finance and property, said discussions are “complex” but “significant progress” is being made.

He added that the club must gain planning permission before the heads of terms are agreed.

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Mr Levy said: ”It has been complex. We have had friendly, amicable and constructive conversations with the football club and its representatives and we are making significant progress and I would expect an announcement fairly soon.

“We do have to bear in mind the discussion is commercial among other things and there is a planning application which has to be met.”

He said he is unable to comment on planning applications matters as well as confidential commercial matters.

He continued: “But we are making progress towards an agreement and I am confident that we will reach agreements subject to the football club meeting the conditions that were laid down by the county council in response to the cabinet decision.

“I am very positive, I wish them well against Stevenage and I hope they get promoted.”

Conservative group leader Eddie Reeves also voiced his concern over the timeline asking Mr Levy “when will this deal to support our club happen?”.

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Mr Levy responded: “We are in discussions. with the football club, me and senior officers.

“I cannot give you a date because that would be a breach of confidence for them as well as for us.

“We are in amicable discussions and I will not even give you a ballpark. I don’t think that would be legitimate.”

Mr Lygo described it as “unacceptable” that an update on the timeline had not been given before asking if an answer could be given privately.

“If the implications of your questions is that we should disregard the interest of residents who will in be inconvenienced if we don’t look after their interest for example people in Kidlington who quite rightly want to know that they are not going to be impeded on match days,” Mr Levy said.

He continued: “It is a shame that us having agreed with the football club that we would do this confidently.

“And I understand why things do become public knowledge because fans are rightly very committed to their clubs as I am to Stockport County who I hope not to meet Oxford United next season.

“But we can’t do this discussion in public and we haven’t been.”

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