Oxford United push hard for new stadium



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Oxford United stadium update January 2024 Image: Oxford United

Oxford United has moved to reassure fans that the club is pulling out all the stops as it continues work on a detailed planning submission for its exciting new stadium development.

Having consulted fans and the wider community, the EFL League One club said its ambition was to submit a planning application at the ‘earliest possible opportunity.’

The aspiration is to build a new, modern, eco-friendly stadium which is a significant community landmark that contributes meaningfully to the economy and society of Oxfordshire.

Oxford United currently play at the 12,500-capacity Kassam Stadium which is named after the ground’s owner and former Chairman of the football club, Firoz Kassam.

The club’s current agreement to play at the Kassam Stadium comes to an end in 2026 and so they have to find a new home. This has led to plans for a 16,000-capacity stadium and complex within a single building. This will include a 180-bed hotel, restaurant, conference center, health and wellbeing space, and a community plaza.

Last year Oxfordshire County Council agreed a deal in principle to lease the club an area of land known as ‘The Triangle’ in Kidlington to build the stadium.

Since then, the club has continued working closely with the county council, Cherwell District Council, consultants, various stakeholders and the wider community.

Oxford United said in a statement, “This is a once in a generation opportunity to provide a new home for sport, entertainment, business, community, education and tourism which the whole county can be proud of.

“The public consultation saw a huge level of engagement from the community, fans and people from afar. During the public consultation period, our project team attended more than 150 meetings, 1.5 million people visited the stadium website and more than 70,000 people engaged with the project. We have received hundreds of positive and constructive responses and want to make sure we incorporate feedback before finalising our plans.

“This is a unique opportunity for the club, and we want to develop a stadium that puts the visitor experience at its heart. This means listening to feedback from everyone and being agile in our approach.”

The club further stated that carefully reviewing the detail and ensuring it gets the planning application correct is essential and, based on the extensive response received, this has taken slightly longer than anticipated.

Oxford United added, “We have adjusted our designs in response to the consultation and will be releasing these soon. We are committed to delivering a new, modern, sustainable stadium which is a significant community landmark – this is about getting the right facility for everyone.

“The submission of our planning application, along with the release of further details on the updates we’ve made to our plans, will follow in due course. This includes our improved accessibility strategy, and news of exciting developments around the club’s net zero ambitions.”

The new 16,000-seater stadium, which will include a 180-bed hotel, conference and event space, along with a health and wellbeing centre, will deliver significant economic and social benefits to Oxfordshire. They include creating new jobs, boosting tourism, improving transport links, enhancing green spaces, and supporting local charities and schools.

The Northern part of the building, next to the new plaza, will have a range of retail, restaurant and community spaces, including the club shop, sports bar/café, and restaurant.

The building will be surrounded and complemented by new landscaping and community-focused open public green spaces which will enhance the biodiversity of the site by more than 10 percent.

The stadium will be better connected to public transport and create new connections for the wider community, with a new East to West pedestrian and cycle route, improved footway and cycleway links to the Oxford Parkway Station and the Water Eaton Park and Ride site as well as enhanced pedestrian facilities along Oxford Road.

The stadium has been designed for all, reducing barriers to participation and involvement. The stadium designs feature sensory rooms and a dedicated accessible concourse with elevated views of the field of play, demonstrating the club’s commitment in ensuring everyone is able to comfortably visit Oxford’s new home for football.

Oxford United concluded, “A successful planning application is a significant milestone and critical to the success of the project. Submitting our application at the earliest opportunity remains the focus of the club and project team. The board and CEO of the club are supporting and driving this project forward as we continue to seek a route to delivery for the 26/27 season.”

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