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  • "
    norton manor wrote:
    this area was one that was suggested for the stadium many years ago. planners residents and councils had a hissing fit and it was dropped. no-one wanted, from the latter, a stadium there. NORTH Oxford wasn't the place for such a building. Football has to be played at the present stadium for 25years as per planning consent, what has changed for the County/City council to change their minds??
    OUFC are contracted too play there till 2026 so that equates at todays rent of a payment of £6 million to Kassam to buy out their contract. There is also the chance that UTD goes bust in that time, and I am sure that Kassam has thought about that and the penny in the £ he would get. So there are only two possible outcomes outside of us going bust, and that is that Kassam will sell, but not for less than £12 million, or we build the new ground, and Kassam gets planning permission for enough new homes to more than cover the loss of income from the stadium under the poviso that he lets OUFC break the contract for free. The latter would suit both councils, Kassam and OUFC, as the Councils would benefit from the income generated by new homes and businesses, Kassam makes a healthy profit, and UTD can start generating serious income to build a team for The Championship. But with build costs of roughly £40 and 90-100 million for 20, and 30,000 seater stadiums respectively it may be better for us to pay Kassam what he wants for the current stadium and build a fourth state of the art main end stand for roughly £5 million. Who knows what will happen until we know who the new owners will be, and sadly it looks like there are no Russians or Arabs interested at the moment."
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U’s may move to a new ground

Water Eaton

Water Eaton

First published in U's News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor. Call me on 01865 425451

THE leader of Oxfordshire County Council has said he would back a move which could see Oxford United leave the Kassam Stadium and build a new ground at Water Eaton.

And last night, Ian Hudspeth said it would potentially allow the club’s present home in Grenoble Road to be redeveloped for housing.

As revealed in Friday’s Oxford Mail, U’s owner Ian Lenagan is involved in takeover talks with at least two consortiums, and this newspaper understands any successful negotiations are likely to depend on the club owning their home.

But that might be away from the Kassam Stadium.

While an official approach has not been made for the site, which is located next to the Water Eaton Park-and-Ride and proposed new Oxford Parkway railway station, Mr Hudspeth confirmed informal talks between the county council and United have taken place.

But he warned there would be a number of obstacles to overcome with the land, which falls under Cherwell District Council’s authority.

He said: “I had the idea a few months ago that it might be a potential location and did speak to Oxford United about it, but they were informal talks.

“The county council is not the planning authority. However, as an Oxford United supporter, I am obviously keen for the club to own its own facility.

“Water Eaton might do that.

“However, it is on Green Belt land and there would have to be discussions with Cherwell District Council.”

United have paid rent to landlord Firoz Kassam since moving from the Manor Ground in 2001, which is now believed to be around £500,000 a year.

That burden has hindered the club’s progress, with the U’s posting losses of in excess of £1m for each of the last two years.

Mr Hudspeth believes a move to a new location could suit all parties. He said: “From a transport point of view, it [Water Eaton] would be next to the train station, is on bus routes and there would be car parking, so transport-wise it is a very good location.

“We could then look at the Kassam Stadium, and it might mean that could be redeveloped for housing to assist Oxford City Council to provide the need for homes.

“I am aware that the desire of all Oxford United supporters to own their own ground is great.”

Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council, said the area would be ideal for such a development.

He said: “If ever you were looking at a site that’s worth developing, then that would be it. It is obviously a viable site.

“The football club and the rugby club [London Welsh have shared the ground since 2012] are very important parts of the community and they serve a wide section of the community.

“We would be happy to take part in any discussions that ensure they both remain viable. We will look at anything that sounds feasible.”

A consortium led by Mark Ashton appear to be favourite to take over the club should it be up for sale, with a team of Oxfordshire businessmen, fronted by Charlie Methven, also interested.

Mr Lenagan and Mr Kassam were yesterday both unavailable for comment.

Cherwell district councillor Michael Gibbard, the cabinet member for planning and the councillor for Water Eaton, said: “This is not something we are aware of and nothing has been put to us yet.

“My immediate thought is that it would be a major visual development in the Green Belt and not one to be encouraged but you could look at whether it is a special case.”

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