SPORTS clubs in Oxford are desperate for a new home after having nowhere to practise for the past four months.
Oxford City Hoops basketball and Lions futsal clubs have led a nomadic existence traipsing across Oxfordshire, Swindon and Aylesbury since February.
They had called the former postal sorting office at Oxford Business Park in Garsington Road, Cowley, their home when it opened as a sports facility last September, but it closed four months later.
The former Royal Mail centre, which originally closed in 2009 when the company moved its operations to Swindon, has been put up for sale by owner Plumbing Pensions UK Ltd.
Hoops head coach Franky Marulanda said: “We’ve got 400 members but there’s no facilities in Oxford to play, which makes it very difficult for us to grow.
“The centre was the way forward and the way everything was going to be cemented as we thought we had a home.
“Since February we have had no training sessions and have just had games because we couldn’t get the facilities.
“We need somewhere for 36 hours a week minimum but it’s difficult to get regular slots. It’s such a shame.”
Colin Taylor, managing director of the Oxford City charity that is co-owned by American businessman Thomas Guerriero, said a small warehouse would be ideal for the clubs.
He said: “Our futsal team is one of the best in the country. When we were in the mail centre the demand for under-eights and upwards was absolutely tremendous. There were hundreds of people using it. An old warehouse works really well and having tried it for about four months it’s opened our eyes.
“It’s a massive building but we think a smaller warehouse is within our financial capability.”
Mr Guerriero said he wanted to build a new complex for the basketball and futsal teams next to Oxford City FC’s Marsh Lane ground but it was unfeasible.
Mr Marulanda claimed Oxford City spent up to £30,000 on cleaning and maintaining the building, as well as installing equipment, seating for 300 people, four futsal pitches and three basketball courts.
He said he believed a loose lease agreement was in place with Royal Mail to use the facility until June 2016.
But Royal Mail spokeswoman Val Bodden said: “An inspection of the property revealed that the use of the premises was not compliant with the orignal letting agreement. The club was asked to vacate the premises and it is now vacant.”
Property agent DTZ, acting on behalf of the owner, refused to comment.
Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said: “It’s an employment site and the owners wanted to sell it as an employment site, which is much more valuable than a leisure facility in their terms.
“There are a lot of indoor spaces but perhaps not enough for what the clubs want.
“And there’s not very much in the way of warehouse space because economic prosperity means everything has been taken up.”
5:00pm Thursday 8th October 2015
A boy has been taken to hospital after being involved in a crash in Bicester.
5:10pm Thursday 8th October 2015
A 15-YEAR-OLD girl was raped in Barns Road, Cowley on her way to the bus stop. According to Thames Valley Police the girl was walking to the stop before Blackbird Leys bridge between 2pm and 4pm on Sunday, September 20. She was approached by a man who walked alongside her. As they came to the bridge he grabbed her arm and pulled her down to a muddy track at the side of the bridge. He then raped the victim and left her on the track, walking away. The offender is described as white, aged in his late teens, 5ft 7ins or 5ft 8ins tall and slim. He had very short dark hair, blue eyes, freckles on his face and a short ginger beard, and was wearing a chain around his neck, black trainers and dark grey Nike jogging bottoms. The girl reported the rape to police on Tuesday ((06/10)) this week. Investigating officer Det Insp Steve Raffield of Banbury CID said: “Specialist officers are supporting the victim who has reported this rape to us. "What happened to this young girl is unimaginable and I am sure that members of the public will be shocked to hear about this incident, which happened in broad daylight. "“A full investigation is now under way and there are officers in the area today making enquiries and providing reassurance to members of the public who may have concerns. “Incidents like this are extremely rare, but it is essential that we identify the offender as soon as possible. I would urge anyone who has any information about this incident, or who saw or heard anything out of the ordinary in the Barns Road area around the time of the offence, to contact me as soon as possible by calling 101.”
4:50pm Thursday 8th October 2015
AN E-FIT of a man who ran away after being caught holding a little girl's hand in Greater Leys has been released by Thames Valley Police. According to officers, a two-year-old girl was playing outside a property in Shepherds Hill at about 6.20pm on Friday, September 11. When her mother came to check on her she saw a man holding the girl's hand. When she challenged the man, he ran away. He is described as white, in his thirties, about 5ft 7ins or 5ft 8ins with short spiky blond or brown hair. He was wearing a knee-length jacket that may have been leather. Investigating officer Det Con Lorna Briggs of Force CID in Oxford said: “We are keeping an open mind regarding this incident. There might be a innocent explanation as to why the man was holding the girl’s hand. “If anyone recognises the man in the E-fit or has any information about the incident then please contact your local police station."
4:50pm Thursday 8th October 2015
A BEGGAR has been banned by police from approaching people in Oxford and asking them for money, food or cigarettes.
1:51pm Thursday 8th October 2015
AN OXFORD traveller family accused of keeping a man as a slave took him to see his football team play and threw him a 21st birthday, Oxford Crown Court was told this morning.
7:50am Thursday 8th October 2015
MISSING teen Michaela Rose from Chipping Norton was found safe and well last night.