Latest developments on new Oxford football stadium

The proposed development will be situated at Kidlington

Author: Noor Qurashi, LDRSPublished 6 hours ago

The county council has been accused of “betrayal” over signing agreements for a planned new football stadium despite concerns around road closures.

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

The club is proposing that Oxford Road – the route linking Kidlington and Oxford – is shut to cars for at least 30 minutes at the beginning and end of matches.

This comes as the Lib Dem-Green alliance on Oxfordshire County Council has been accused by the Labour group leader previously of “filibustering” for three years and “putting in jeopardy the future of Oxford United (OUFC)”.

But now, Green councillor Ian Middleton is saying he is not happy with the administration due to “betrayal of the residents of Kidlington over firm assurances given by the leadership that road closures would not be permitted as part of the development” after it went ahead and signed a binding legal agreement.

The Kidlington representative said: “The council was aware when they signed these agreements that OUFC’s planning application detailed road closures as a key part of their operational profile.

“Given the categorial assurances provided by the council leadership that road closures would not be part of the plans, it seems that residents who placed their trust in those promises have been betrayed and the interests of the football club have been put above those of the community.”

Responding, Mr Levy said: “I’ve knocked on an awful lot of doors in Kidlington over the last six weeks for fairly obvious reasons and the subject did come up though with less vigour than you would have expected.

“I do not accept that the residents have been let down.

“I am confident that prior to getting planning permission (for the stadium) a lot of the issues that people are concerned about will be resolved.

“We cannot guarantee that the roads will not be closed during matches because it isn’t in our power to do that.”

Mr Middleton also raised concerns about why the council had agreed to sign the legally binding agreements when “strategic priorities” had still not be met.

A representative for the Friends of Stratfield Brake group, John Hill, read out a statement which also criticised the council.

Mr Hill said the agreement was “more like a list of new years resolutions which have been agreed behind closed doors with no opportunity for public comment or scrutiny”.

He added the process was “not in line with the openness and transparency promised by councillor Miller in 2023”.

This comes despite both Mr Levy and finance chief Mr Gant objecting previously to the stadium planning application in a personal capacity as they too had concerns around road closures.

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