“We are making significant progress” – the latest on the new stadium

“We are making significant progress” – the latest on the new stadium

Oxfordshire county councillors heard an update this morning on progress in the negotiations between Oxford United FC and the County Council for the new stadium site at the Triangle, near Kidlington.

Responding to questions from councillors including the leaders of the Conservative and Labour groups, Cllr Dan Levy (Liberal Democrat, Eynsham), the Cabinet member for finance, said:

We have had friendly and constructive conversations with the football club, and we are making significant progress. I would expect an announcement fairly soon.

I am confident that we will reach an agreement subject to the football club meeting the conditions that were laid down by the County Council… I am very positive.

There is a planning application with Cherwell District Council which has to be met, and they will make their own mind up.

The county council, which owns the land, set out a series of conditions in September for the lease to be agreed. This is only one of the requirements. Cherwell District Council, the planning authority for the area, also needs to consider and agree the planning application, and consultees including Highways England (which runs the A34) have asked that this is not done until detailed traffic modelling is complete.

Debate in the council meeting centred around whether the timeline from the commercial negotiations between OUFC and the County Council could be made public. Cllr Levy said that he would not want to break confidence with the club while discussions were still ongoing, and would discuss with council officers and the club what could be aired in public. But he said that he was looking for agreement before Cherwell District Council issues planning permission – which is expected to be June at the earliest.

We can’t do this discussion in public, and we haven’t been. I cannot give you a date as that would be a breach of confidence with them – there's a danger of setting hares running. We have been in positive discussions with the football club.

The Heads of Terms will be signed before the planning permission is granted. This council is committed to Oxford United thriving.

Cllr Levy is a supporter of Stockport County, already promoted to League One for 2024-25, and said he hoped that his team would not be meeting OUFC next season: “I wish the club well tonight and on Friday against Stevenage, and hope they get promoted.”