Oxford United’s search for new stadium takes step forward

Oxford United fans at the Kassam Stadium <i>(Image: David Fleming)</i>
Oxford United fans at the Kassam Stadium (Image: David Fleming)

OXFORD United’s search for a new stadium has taken a step forward following a council meeting this afternoon.

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 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.

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 tomorrow.

He said: “The club has provided evidence the licence 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.”

Fellow county councillor Liam Walker voiced his frustration at the delay in getting to this point, following a cabinet meeting last year.

He said: “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.”

Christopher Lowes, head of club charity Oxford United in the Community, said: “We currently deliver 20 different programmes a week.

“More than 3,000 unique people access our programmes 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 licence 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 Cherwell District Council, as the local planning authority.