Who will own the ground?
Oxford United Football Club.
The ownership Group and all stakeholders are 100% agreed that there will need to be legal protections put in place to ensure that the potential stadium is owned by the football club, now and in the future. Subject to the final negotiations for the land, this is envisaged to be for the full 250 year lease term. A core aspect of the proposal made to the County Council is the aim for Oxford United to be in full control of our own destiny and for that to happen, we need to own and be in full control of our new home 365 days a year. As with the Training Ground, we will work with the relevant Councils to ensure that this happens in the best interests of Oxford United Football Club and the wider community. The club will work with the supporters groups and the community to ensure any new stadium is registered as a protected ‘Asset of Community Value’ and this commitment is included in our proposal to the County Council.
On the plans that were made public there are plans for a lot of very exciting developments alongside the stadium including conference facilities and an ice rink. Are these final?
It is important that fans and local residents understand that the plans that have been seen are merely ‘indicative plans’ showing only a concept of what could potentially be built on the site. It is not a final plan, or even an initial plan and the final proposals that will eventually be submitted for planning (subject to the County Council agreeing to our proposal), will undoubtedly be different. The aim is to develop fantastic facilities that serve the whole of Oxfordshire, but we are a long way away from actually drawing up the final plans. We also won’t be developing our proposals in isolation, but look to work in partnership with all of the relevant stakeholders, local resident and fans in developing the proposals for the stadium as well as the facilities that may sit alongside it.
How quickly will OUFC’s new home ground be built?
The clear aim is to have a new home before our current license agreement ends in 2026. However, for a project of this size and complexity we are under no illusions that this is a very ambitious target and there will be a number of hurdles to overcome. The first stage required will be for OCC to grant an ‘option’ to OUFC. This will also require the consent of any parties who have a lease interest in the site, including Cherwell District Council, Kidlington Parish Council and Gosford and Water Eaton Parish Council. Over the next few months, we remain committed to continuing our discussions with these stakeholders to hopefully enable us to make progress on this front.
Why does the club need to move?
Our licence agreement at the Kassam Stadium ends in 2026, from which point Oxford United will have nowhere to play. There is not an option for us to extend this licence agreement.
We employ thousands of staff both full and part time, are the only professional sports club in the county, have over 19,813 registered participants in addition to our professional players, have a thriving female, disability and walking football programme. Oxford United In The Community works with thousands of Oxfordshire residents, many of whom are vulnerable. All of this is at risk should we not find a new home.
In addition, an independent financial report states that the gross value-added economic impact of Oxford United on the local economy is over £10m. Should a new stadium be built, these numbers will only increase, we estimate for example that an additional 800 jobs will be created.
Why don’t the club buy their current home, the Kassam Stadium?
Over the years, the club has explored a number of options to secure it’s long-term future, including initially looking at options with our current stadium. These options are fully exhausted. There is not a possibility to purchase the stadium from the current owner. Other sites have also been extensively researched.
What will happen to the sports facilities currently in place on the proposed site?
It is not possible for any new stadium to be built without all existing sports fields being replaced. We are confident that we can not only replace the sports fields but enhance all of the facilities, including the provision of new running tracks and improved walkways. Should the project progress then OUFC also commits to maintaining the new sports fields, which will save the Parish Council and Kidlington/Gosford and Water Eaton residents considerable costs. The club would formalise such commitments through the conditions of any planning approval it were to receive, thereby ensuring the delivery of such commitments. The cost of the proposed new stadium will be met by shareholders who have a strong track record in relation to projects of this nature.
How will the club manage traffic congestion near the site?
While the intention is to encourage as many of our fans as possible to travel by public transport, we are committed to working with our traffic management consultants to ensure the local traffic congestion is minimised.
As part of the planning application process, we will produce a comprehensive traffic flow plan. We will also work with a partner who will manage traffic for local residents. Our research indicates that if clear traffic management plans are in place, running in conjunction with incentives to use public transport, traffic is considerably reduced. It is also important to note that we play on average only 26 home games in a year, all at non-peak traffic times. We will work closely with all stakeholders to improve public transport links and cycle ways.
How do you envision controlling parking on and around the site?
The club will ensure the provision of adequate on-site parking measures. These will be implemented alongside measures intended to reduce car travel and increase fans use of sustainable modes of transport.
Principally, the club will prioritise adequate onsite parking for disabled access as well as electric car charging units.
We will also reduce obstruction to local residents by operating a resident only/permit holders parking zones near the site.
How will the club ensure people travel to the site sustainably?
We want to encourage sustainable travel as a viable option for fans traveling to our new home ground. We are currently exploring the inclusion of the following features to best ensure this:
- Park and Ride scheme running from Oxford City Centre
- Direct foot and cycle routes from Oxford Parkway Rail Station
- Work in partnership with bus and rail companies to offer incentivised travel in conjunction with match tickets.
- Dedicated secure cycle storage sheds outside the Stadium
- Provision of regular direct coach and bus services delivered with our transport partners
What will the impact be on the Green Belt and local ecology?
We understand concerns that the site is within the Green Belt. However, we believe that we will be able to enhance the Green Belt rather than detract from it. The club are keen to work with local stakeholders and the Woodland Trust to make the surrounding land more accessible and more user friendly. For example, safer and more useable walkways and running tracks around the site could be incorporated into the scheme.
Furthermore, there are no plans to build on the whole site at Stratfield Brake. The majority of the site would remain green space.
We are committed to working with all residents and stakeholders to ensure the ‘Green Ring’ around Kidlington is both protected and enhanced. It is also important to note our plans do not include building on all of Stratfield Brake, there will remain much green space within the development.
It is our intention to enhance the green space by planting more trees for example and create a green environment that will be even more accessible and useable. Furthermore, we will undertake all essential surveys of existing wildlife and commit to any species relocation if necessary.
We are confident that in terms of overall carbon emissions for the whole of Oxfordshire this project will significantly reduce the emissions.
Will local residents have a say?
Should permission to grant the lease be given, OUFC remain committed to being transparent with any progress being made. We are also committed to regular discussions with all key stakeholders and genuine consultation with the local community. We believe that this potential project is not just about football, it is about giving the community a once in a lifetime opportunity to have access to international class, iconic facilities. Our aim is to work with the whole community, who will have an opportunity to give feedback and input into the design of a new stadium which we can all be equally proud of, and which benefits not just OUFC but also the local residents.