Approval by Cabinet
At its meeting on 19 September, the council's Cabinet approved in principle the lease of land at ‘the Triangle’ to develop a new stadium. The leasehold comes with several conditions.
Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford United Football Club (OUFC) have been in negotiations on the terms on which council-owned land could be used for the development of a new stadium for the club.
The land, known as ‘the Triangle’, is located east of Frieze Way and south of the Kidlington roundabout.
The club had initially proposed a site at Stratfield Brake in Kidlington, but it was recognised there were challenges associated with it. Officers subsequently identified the Triangle as an alternative location. In January 2023, the council’s Cabinet agreed to enter non-binding negotiations on the lease or sale of the Triangle to the club.
The council set out seven strategic priorities for the use of the land, which the club’s proposal had to address.
About the land
The land is located east of Frieze Way and south of Kidlington roundabout. Known as ‘the Triangle’, it is approximately 5 hectares in size. It is situated in the green belt.
The Triangle is close to Oxford Parkway railway station and the park and ride at Water Eaton. It is currently let to a single leaseholder and there is no current public access.
For further information on land already committed for new development in the vicinity of the Triangle site, please see Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan 2011-2031 and Oxford City Council’s Local Plan 2016-2036.
The council has been negotiating commercial heads of terms with the football club.
To receive agreement from the council, the club’s proposal had to address the following seven key strategic priorities set out by the council for the use of the land:
- maintaining a green barrier between Oxford and Kidlington and protecting and enhancing the surrounding environment, including biodiversity, connecting habitats, and supporting nature recovery
- improving public access to high-quality nature and green spaces
- enhancing inclusive facilities for local sports groups and ongoing financial support
- significantly improving the infrastructure connectivity in this location, improving public transport to reduce the need for car travel in so far as possible, and improving sustainable transport through increased walking, cycling and rail use
- developing local employment opportunities in Oxfordshire
- increasing education and innovation through the provision of an accessible sports centre of excellence and facilities linked to elite sport, community sport, health and wellbeing
- supporting the council’s net zero carbon emissions pledge through highly sustainable development.
It also had to meet objectives around managing financial risk and obtaining the best value for the taxpayer from any transaction.
At its meeting on 19 September 2023, the council’s Cabinet approved in principle the leasing of land at the ‘Triangle’ to the football club to develop a new stadium.
The leasehold comes with several conditions:
- The club must be given planning permission by Cherwell District Council.
- The club must produce a net-zero plan that is fully costed and comes with clear timescales and outcomes from design, construction and full operation of the stadium.
- The club must provide details of how it will meet the commitments made in its submissions to the county council so far.
- Restrictive covenants will be put in place that will set aside the use of the land for football/community sports and leisure/sports stadia for the term of the lease, with limited commercial activities permitted only within the stadium footprint.
The conditional agreement to lease the land is only the first step in the process. The club must now provide much more detailed proposals through the planning process.
The club will submit a planning application to Cherwell District Council, the local planning authority. Formal public consultation is part of the planning process, and the county council will be a statutory consultee as the local highway authority.
Who's who in this process?
- Oxfordshire United Football Club (OUFC) approached Oxfordshire County Council in March 2021 with a proposal to build a new football stadium on council-owned land near Kidlington. The club has confirmed it must find a new home by the start of the 2026/27 season as its licence agreement at the Kassam Stadium expires in 2026.
- Oxfordshire County Council owns the land at the Triangle where OUFC want to build their new stadium. The council set out seven strategic priorities for the club’s proposal to address if the land was to be leased or sold to the club.
- Cherwell District Council is the local planning authority with statutory responsibility for deciding if OUFC can build a new stadium at the Triangle. Formal public consultation is part of the planning process.
Having your say
The council committed to seeking the views of a wide range of stakeholders and the public before making a final decision.
More than 5,400 people and organisations shared their views on whether the club had addressed the council’s strategic priorities in a survey run during June and July 2023. A detailed report on the findings was shared with the Cabinet for its meeting of 19 September 2023.
In April and May 2023, Cabinet members and council officers met with a range of local stakeholders to explore early views with regard to the OUFC proposals. 11 independently facilitated meetings were held. A summary of the feedback received from stakeholders was shared with the Cabinet for its meeting of 19 September 2023.
An initial public engagement exercise was held in January and February 2022 to canvass views on whether the council should enter discussions with the club and on the council’s strategic priorities. The survey resulted in over 3,700 responses.
Following Cabinet’s approval, the next step for the club is to submit a planning application to Cherwell District Council as the local planning authority. Residents will once again be able to share their views as part of this process.
OUFC approached the council in March 2021 with a proposal to develop Stratfield Brake playing fields and the Triangle for a scheme including a new home stadium and commercial development.
On 18 January 2022, Cabinet agreed to undertake a public engagement exercise to understand local views and set out a series of objectives that any scheme should address before a final decision being made.
A council-led public engagement exercise was undertaken in January and February 2022.
On 15 March 2022, Cabinet agreed that officers would conduct discussions with OUFC to deepen their understanding of the detailed proposals being made and to consider their compatibility with the council’s strategic priorities.
Following consideration of the proposals, Cabinet met on 24 January 2023 and agreed to enter into non-binding negotiations for the use of the Triangle only for a new stadium.
In March 2023 the Cabinet agreed on an engagement and communications strategy. During April and May 2023, Cabinet members and council officers met with a range of local stakeholders to listen to views regarding the proposal.
In June 2023 OUFC provided information to the county council about how it would address each of the seven priorities. This comprised a summary document and a range of more detailed information. These documents were published on its public-facing stadium website.
Between 9 June and 23 July 2023, a further round of public engagement took place based on the information provided by OUFC regarding the scheme.
A final decision on whether the council should lease or sell the land to the club was taken by Cabinet on 19 September 2023.
Council news stories
- 12 October 2023 - Oxfordshire County Council sets out its requirements for Oxford United’s new stadium
- 19 September 2023 - Cabinet sets out key conditions for Oxford United stadium bid to proceed
- 5 September 2023 - People thanked for sharing their views on Oxford United stadium proposals ahead of Cabinet decision on 19 September
- 23 May 2023 - Plans agreed for further engagement on Oxford United stadium proposal
- 18 April 2023 – Update report on Oxford United stadium proposals discussed by cabinet
- 6 April 2023 - Update report on Oxford United stadium proposals to be considered on 18 April
- 21 March 2023 - Plan set out for timely talks on Oxford United’s stadium proposals
- 14 March 2023 Council sets out framework for timely talks on Oxford United’s stadium proposals – and commits to transparent engagement before its decision
- 24 January 2023 Cabinet approves continued stadium discussions with Oxford United and commits to seek views before final decision
- 16 January 2023 Cabinet to discuss stadium land proposals on 24 January
- 5 December 2022 - Council cabinet set to decide on leasing land to Oxford United for new stadium
- 15 March 2022 - County Council Cabinet to pursue detailed discussions on stadium proposal after more than 3,700 people respond to public engagement
- 7 March 2022 - County Council Cabinet to receive report on stadium proposal after more than 3,700 people respond to public engagement
- 18 January 2022 - County Council invites views of public on Oxford United’s request for land near Kidlington for a new stadium
- 10 January 2022 - County Council set to consider Oxford United’s request for land near Kidlington for a new stadium
- Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday, 19 September 2023
- Agenda for Place Overview & Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, 13 September 2023
- Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday, 23 May 2023
- Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday, 18 April 2023
- Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday, 21 March 2023
- Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday, 24 January 2023
- Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday, 15 March 2022
- Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday, 18 January 2022