Oxford United provides update on search for new home

Oxford United Football Club has made a statement on its search for a new home to secure the Sky Bet League One club’s long-term future.

A statement on the English Football League side’s website reads:

As many of the community will be aware, the Kassam Stadium is in third party ownership and the club’s license agreement ends in 2026. The club has therefore been actively searching for a new site to secure a sustainable long-term future at the heart of the Oxfordshire community.

The club is therefore delighted to announce that a site for a potential new stadium has been identified, close to Oxford Parkway and just off the A34 at the existing Stratfield Brake Sports Ground at Frieze Way, Kidlington. The site is owned by Oxfordshire County Council who have been considering the urgent need to secure the future of Oxfordshire’s only professional football club following a formal proposal by Oxford United.

Matters are at a very early stage and Oxfordshire County Council will be considering the club’s proposal at their Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 18 January 2022.

Subject to Cabinet approval, Oxford United would be able to progress plans to seek planning permission for a new stadium on part of the site which would provide the facilities and capacity to meet the club’s future on-pitch ambitions and provide an unrivalled matchday experience. The move would also seek to solidify and build on the club’s community outreach programme, ensuring our off-pitch offer expands in line with our long-term vision.

The move to a new stadium will not be a short-term process and will be subject to the normal planning permissions and requirements, including wide reaching and inclusive consultation with local residents, stakeholders and the community.

Oxford United would also seek to evolve exciting plans for complementary uses on the remainder of the site. This would include fan facilities and other uses providing sustainable additional revenue streams, whilst also providing new facilities and jobs for local people. Discussions will also be held with Gosford All Blacks and Kidlington Cricket Club, and all other Stratfield Brake stakeholders to ensure they can all continue to play locally with the aim of new and improved facilities.

The statement continued:

Oxford United are committed to putting the supporters of the club, Kidlington and the wider community at the heart of discussions to bring forward plans for a new permanent home of which everyone associated with the club can be proud.

Whilst the proposals are at a very early stage, and subject to both OCC Cabinet approval and the planning process, Oxford United are excited at the prospect of securing a new stadium that protects the club’s 129-year history, delivers significant community benefits, and upholds a valued community asset.

The proposed stadium site is in a highly sustainable and accessible location, close to Oxford Parkway station, Oxford Parkway Park & Ride and the A34, enabling fans to travel to games using alternative and sustainable forms of transport and moving away from the reliance on cars necessitated by the current location of the Kassam Stadium.

Niall McWilliams, Oxford United Managing Director, confirmed:

We are very pleased to be in a position to announce an update on our long-awaited stadium search. It has always been our desire to be in control of our own destiny and build a sustainable future for the club on our own terms and we are hopeful that this proposed stadium move would enable us to do exactly that. As we have always said, this project is about more than football – we are determined to be part of a project that brings international class sporting and community facilities to Oxfordshire.

We have an ownership group who are determined to take this club to the next level both on and off the field. More importantly they see it as their obligation to do this in a structured and sustainable way which protects the long-term future of the football club.

We thank Oxfordshire County Council for their considered approach in assessing our proposal, and should the decision be to proceed, we look forward to working with them, our fans and local stakeholders in bringing forward our plans for our long-awaited new community stadium.

The club are committed to ensuring fans, residents and stakeholders alike are kept informed of the latest developments and will provide a further statement following the anticipated decision.

Source & imagery, courtesy: Oxford United

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