Oxford United land lease ‘The Triangle’ deal



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Heads of terms agreed with Oxford United for new stadium Image: Oxford United FC

The League One team Oxford United F.C. (UK) has signed a legally binding lease option with the Oxfordshire County Council for land known as ‘The Triangle’, as well as completing a community collaboration agreement.

‘Oxford United’ stated that the above follows the development last month vis-à-vis heads of terms had been agreed following detailed negotiations.

The Oxford United Football Club is a professional association football club in the City of Oxford, England (UK). The team competes in League One, the third level of the English football league system.

The 12,500-capacity Kassam Stadium in Oxford, England (UK) is the home of the Oxford United Football Club and is named after the ground’s Owner and the former Chairman of the football club Firoz Kassam.

The Oxfordshire County Council is the County Council for the non-Metropolitan County of Oxfordshire in the South East of England. Established in 1889, it is an elected body responsible for most strategic local Government services in the county.

The Oxfordshire County Council and the Oxford United Football Club have agreed to the terms on which the Council-owned land could be used for the development of a new stadium for the club. The land, known as ‘the Triangle’, is located East of Frieze Way and South of the Kidlington roundabout.

‘Oxford United’ further stated that the completion of these contracts represents a significant step forward in securing the Oxford United a long-term home in the county and the future of the 131-year-old football club.

Earlier this year, an application was submitted to build a new, modern, eco-friendly 16,000-capacity stadium. The club will be able to fully exercise the 250-year lease once planning permission has been obtained from the Cherwell District Council in Northern Oxfordshire, England, for the development.

The lease option agreement includes provisions to ensure the Oxford United’s right to play at the stadium is secured, along with safeguards on rent and use of the facilities.

The community collaboration agreement formalizes the club’s commitment to social, environmental and economic benefits for the community as outlined in the seven strategic priorities set by the Council.

The strategic priorities include improving public transport and achieving a net-zero development. The Oxford United has also committed to the production of a Net Zero Plan in line with the United Nations (UN) Sports for Climate Action Framework.

The UN Sports for Climate Action Framework aims to help the sports organizations reduce emissions caused by their operations and leverage the worldwide popularity of sport to engage millions of fans in the effort. Sport in all its forms is increasingly threatened by climate change.

Observed Grant Ferguson, Chairman of Oxford United, “This is a major step forward in our exciting stadium development plans and for the long-term sustainability of the club. On behalf of the club, I’d like to extend a thank you to our stadium project team, to all our supporters and to the Oxfordshire County Council. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the key stakeholders to bring our vision to reality.”

Added Jon Clarke, Development Director, Oxford United, “From the outset the club has sought to create a stadium and a venue that protects the long-term future of the Oxford United and delivers significant benefits to the wider community. The signing of this lease option is a major milestone and allows us to fully focus on obtaining planning. The project team has worked tirelessly for over three years to get us to this point – we can now move forward with certainty and confidence knowing we have secured the land deal.”

The planning proposal submitted presents an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide a new home for sport, entertainment, business, community, education, and tourism which the whole county can be proud of.

The design includes a 180-bed hotel, conference and event space, along with a health and wellbeing center to help deliver significant economic and social benefits to Oxfordshire.

The visitor experience, inclusivity and sustainability have been placed at the heart of the design. It would be the first all-electric stadium in the United Kingdom and includes a safe standing allocation, sensory room, 130 wheelchair spaces, and wellbeing gardens.
 

Heads of Terms

‘OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’ stated that an agreement was reached on heads of terms in April for the County Council to lease land it owns near Kidlington for Oxford United to develop a new football stadium.

The heads of terms are an agreement in principle between two parties, but which are subject to a formal contract. A heads of terms document sets out the key commercial principles which the parties have discussed during their negotiations and which they intend will form the basis of a future, more detailed contract.

‘OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’ further stated that the Council’s Cabinet agreed in principle for land known as ‘The Triangle’ to be leased at its meeting in September 2023.

This agreement represents positive progress in helping the club secure a long-term home in the county. However, while this is an important milestone, it is only one step in a wider process.

The County Council is a statutory consultee in this planning application in its role as the local highways authority and officers will continue to scrutinize the club’s plans in detail.

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