Oxford United ‘The Triangle’ talks to begin



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Oxford United stadium update January 2023 Image: Oxford United FC

The League One team Oxford United F.C’s (UK) search for a new stadium has taken a step forward following a Council meeting held on January 24th.

‘Oxford Mail’ stated that the Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet followed up its recommendation to allow officers to begin talks on “outline legal and commercial terms”, with regards to ‘The Triangle’, South of Kidlington Roundabout.

The Oxford United Football Club is a professional football club in the City of Oxford, England (UK). The team plays in League One, the third tier of the English football league system. The Chairman is Grant Ferguson, the Manager is Karl Robinson and the team captain is Elliott Moore.

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 former Chairman of the football club, Firoz Kassam.

‘Oxford Mail’ further stated that the legal agreement between ‘The U’s’ and the Council must meet a series of objectives, which include maintaining a green barrier between Oxford and Kidlington, enhancing facilities for local sports groups and improving public transport in the area.

The Oxford United has played at the Kassam Stadium since 2001, but does not own the ground. The lease expires in 2026. A new site on greenbelt land, dubbed ‘The Triangle’, has been earmarked South of Kidlington roundabout, West of Banbury Road and East of Frieze Way.

United’s Chief Strategy Officer Niall McWilliams said at the meeting, “It is important we respect all views at all times. This decision is not just about a stadium or environmental issues – it’s about a 130-year-old institution. This community would not be the same without the vibrancy of yellow and blue. Despite our best efforts, Stratfield Brake was a project with difficulties. We don’t have time for years, months or even weeks for further delays – we are running out of time to save this football club.”

The Council’s Cabinet member for Finance Calum Miller said he hopes discussions between the local authority and the club can begin soon.

Maintained Miller, “The club has provided evidence the license at the Kassam will run out in 2026. The original proposals at Stratfield Brake posed problems. The club has spoken positively about its commitments to public benefits. This is clearly an opportunity for the club but it does not come without consequences for the community.”

The fellow County Councilor Liam Walker voiced his frustration at the delay in getting to this point, following a Cabinet meeting last year – “Many in the room or watching online will be wondering what progress has been made in the last year. Here we are with a slightly different proposal. This piece of land isn’t used and has no benefit to the community but imagine what it could become. The idea of more consultation or public engagement would mean more uncertainty for the football club.”

Commented Christopher Lowes, Head of club charity Oxford United in the Community, “We currently deliver 20 different programs a week. More than 3,000 unique people access our programs every year. If Oxford United doesn’t have a home, we stop existing.”

Kidlington resident Danielle Walker told the Cabinet meeting, “I love living in Kidlington but when you walk through it, you see the slow decline. Kidlington is dying and Oxford United could be the shot in the arm it needs. There aren’t enough pitches, and those that do exist aren’t good enough or oversubscribed.”

United’s hunt for a new home is taking on more significance as the license agreement at the Kassam Stadium is set to run out in 2026, after which point the club could find itself homeless.

Planning permission for a new stadium would be required from the Cherwell District Council in England as the local planning authority.

The Oxford United spent 2022 working tirelessly on addressing the points raised about the Stratfield Brake Sports Ground (sports complex in Kidlington, England). This has included appointing a world-class design and technical team to address the five initial questions from the Council, undertaking initial consultation with residents and fans and working with the community and resident partners, all at considerable cost and time. The club is hopeful that much of this is not wasted and the principles and work undertaken thus far can be transferred over to the Triangle site.

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