PROGRESS is being made on plans to re-open Oxford stadium, a businessman closely involved in the negotiations has insisted.

Entrepreneur Nick Budimir who says he has been 'very involved' in the process, has promised 'major announcements' this month in the long-running battle to return greyhound racing and speedway to the run-down site in Sandy Lane.

He has called on disgruntled campaigners to stop bad-mouthing Oxford City Council at this crucial stage in the talks and get behind its bid to wrestle back control from developers.

He said: "There is an awful lot going on behind the scenes but if you publicise it, you tell the other side which way you are going.

"It has to be done quietly. If you are playing poker with someone, you do not show them your hand before you are ready.

"Believe me, this is going to happen and all is going to be revealed soon but people have got to start supporting the council, not slaughtering it."

Oxford Mail: Oxford Stadium, in Sandy Lane, Blackbird Leys, one of the sites suggested for development by neighbouring councils. Picture: Jon Lewis

In July, campaigners who have worked tirelessly for more than five years to bring back sports to the famous site issued an ultimatum after becoming increasingly frustrated at a perceived lack of progress.

They said they would be prepared to hold a protest outside the council's offices unless more was seen to be being done.

But Mr Budimir, who once owned a greyhound with former football manager Harry Redknapp, said the constant sniping was not helping the situation.

He added: "Just because they are not being told anything, they believe nothing is happening.

"I can assure any speedway fan that they will see the return of the stadium.

"Now is the time to support the council - they are performing absolute wonders."

The future of the site, which hosted greyhound racing and speedway since 1939, has been up in the air since the last race was held in 2012.

In March a report released by the city council found there was a business case to bring back the sports and further studies were commissioned.

Last month former international speedway rider Dag Lovaas - who raced at Oxford Stadium in the 1970s - visited the site to reminisce with fans and express his support for the campaign.

Speaking during his visit, Mr Lovaas said: "I’m an emotional person, and it is amazing that people are still interested in what I was doing 43 years ago.

“It was the first time I’ve been to the stadium, since I rode for Oxford Rebels in 1975.

"It’s sad to see it in the condition it is now, although one good thing is that it’s all still there."

The site has gradually fallen into disrepair since plans to bulldoze it for housing were rejected in 2014 but campaigners have always insisted it could be ready for racing again within a matter of months.