Oxford United want clarity on ‘The Triangle’



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Oxford United stadium update January 2023 Image: Oxford United FC

The League One team Oxford United F.C. (UK) is pleased to see the agenda papers published based on which the Oxfordshire County Council’s (OCC’s) Cabinet will be making a decision on January 24th whether or not to pursue negotiations in relation to the proposed site known as ‘The Triangle’ (East of Frieze Way/South of Kidlington Roundabout).

‘Oxford United FC’ stated that they are looking forward to the meeting and urged the Council to help provide the club, its supporters and the whole of Oxfordshire with some positive news to start the year.

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.

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

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.

‘Oxford United FC’ further stated that the Football Association (FA) Cup match held recently saw the nation’s footballing eyes on Oxford United and demonstrated exactly what benefits could be enjoyed by the Oxfordshire community if the club were able to cement its place in the community. The entire country heard the need for the club to move to a more secure, more sustainable and more befitting stadium from some of the biggest names in football, players and pundits alike. However, their expert opinions are not enough. There is an urgent need for clarity and certainty to enable the club to make a meaningful step forward towards securing its future and they need the Council to deliver on a decision that allows the club to proceed to the next stage.

As Oxford United stated earlier, the overarching aim of the club has remained the same throughout, to secure a world-class, secure and sustainable new home for the Oxford United Football Club and to maximize the club’s contribution to the local Oxfordshire community. This remains their priority and the need to protect the club’s 129-year history is as pressing as ever.

This statement may seem familiar – and that’s because it is. The club’s aim has not changed since the first potential decision was taken last January but they are now a year on, a year closer to their license agreement ending and no further in making progress in securing a new stadium.

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.

Noted Niall McWilliams, Chief Strategy Officer, Oxford United Football Club, “We are extremely grateful to the Council for their consistent willingness to help identify a solution. They have always been fair, transparent and honest in their dealings with us. I must now be equally so with them – the club is running out of time. We need your backing for ‘The Triangle’ site, or alternatively reverting to Stratfield Brake now. We simply cannot endure further months or years of delay. I welcome the recent meeting and look forward to putting the club’s case forward, but should the decision be to proceed with negotiations, I also urge the Council to commit to concluding the negotiations as soon as possible. We have delivered on every commitment we have made thus far, and we will continue to do so. That includes addressing the new conditions for negotiations as well as extensive further engagement with the local community and fans. But we cannot move to that stage, without the all-important go-ahead to move to the pre-submission planning phase.”

Concluded McWilliams, “More than anything else, after a year of uncertainty, to-ing and fro-ing, stop-start decisions, what we need above anything else is clarity.”

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