Villagers say they need more information after expressing stadium concerns at meeting

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Stratfield Brake was at the centre of discussions at Kidlington Parish Council’s annual parish meeting. Picture: Ed Nix
Stratfield Brake was at the centre of discussions at Kidlington Parish Council’s annual parish meeting. Picture: Ed Nix

VILLAGERS at the centre of where Oxford United proposes to build a new stadium say they need more information after expressing concerns at a council meeting.

On the agenda at Kidlington Parish Council’s annual parish meeting was ‘the future of Stratfield Brake’.

The local authority is a key stakeholder in the plans, as it sub-leases the land at Stratfield Brake, south of Kidlington.

The U’s want to lease almost 45 acres of Oxfordshire County Council-owned land for 250 years, but cannot do this without agreement from the tenants and sub-tenants at the site.

The club is looking to lease the land, with a view to building an 18,000-capacity stadium with community and sports grounds, and hotel, retail and conference facilities.

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Representatives of both the parish and county councils insisted that more information needs to become available via the club, and that the local authorities do not have a stance on the plans while further details are not yet available.

David Robey, chair of the parish council, told villagers: “We have a role in representing residents’ interests.

“Stratfield Brake is a major planning issue, probably the biggest we’ve faced in recent years.”

He later added: “This is something we did not ask for, it came completely out of the blue. This puts Kidlington Parish Council in a delicate position.

“Unless we relinquish the lease, the development cannot go ahead.

“A lot of people in the village are divided on this.

“This development is in the context of massive housing developments going on in Kidlington in the coming years.

“The parish council position is to remain neutral for the time being, we feel we should not and cannot decide on something of such importance without looking at what the proposal is without more detail.”

The council chair said the local authority will be seeking answers to questions on key issues including: whether the club really needs to move; what benefits would there be for Kidlington residents; how negative impacts will be nullified; what will the site look like and how green it will be, and the loss of Green Belt.

Kidlington Cricket Club, Gosford All Blacks RFC and Kidlington Youth FC all currently use Stratfield Brake, and United have committed to replacing facilities with those of at least a comparable standard should they relocate.

All three sports clubs have expressed support for the proposal in principle, something Calum Miller, the county council’s cabinet member for finance noted at the meeting.

He said: “Stratfield Brake is owned by Oxfordshire County Council but has a very long lease to Cherwell District Council until 2097. We at the county council do not have a view on the proposal at this stage.

“The club has stated to us they have exhausted other sites for a stadium.

“The sports clubs have generally given positive, if cautious, responses.”

In March, the county council’s cabinet voted to let officers pursue detailed discussions over United’s proposal for Stratfield Brake.

The club’s license agreement at the Kassam Stadium expires in 2026, after which they will be homeless.

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