THE city council could look to kick a company out of a listed building which it has been told to revamp after it fell into a poor state.

The authority said it could seek to take back the lease of The Priory, near the Kassam Stadium, from a company owned by former Oxford United owner Firoz Kassam.

Firoka had been told to improve the Grade II* listed building when it got planning permission for the Hampton by Hilton hotel off Grenoble Road in 2005.

The council told the company again in May 2018 that it had to do work but said in May that none had been done.

READ MORE: Oxford council silent over crumbling Priory pub at Kassam Stadium

A city council meeting heard Firoka has since submitted an external condition survey, as it had been asked to.

The council’s design and heritage team is now assessing that and the ‘methods for repair,’ according to cabinet member for planning, Alex Hollingsworth.

He said: “The outcome of this review will determine the actions taken next by the council regarding The Priory, one of which could be to consider repossession of the lease.”

The Priory was used as a pub but shut in June 2013. Firoka has consistently said it is no longer viable to run a pub there.

It is owned by the city council but Firoka has responsibility for it as part of a 99-year full repairing lease. It runs until January 2062.


Cowley councillor David Henwood asked Mr Hollingsworth whether land next to The Priory could be used as a community orchard in the future if the authority is ‘now reluctant to take enforcement action’.

But Mr Hollingsworth said: “An orchard does not require planning permission, and so there is nothing in planning terms to prevent the current or any future tenant or land owner from planting the site accordingly.

“The building is listed building, subject to the usual restrictions for such a heritage asset.

"The archaeological aspects of the site would need to be taken on board as well, given the importance of the historic assets that are under the ground, and the need to avoid disturbing those unnecessarily.”

Documents obtained in a freedom of information request earlier this year showed the city council had threatened Firoka with a fine of £2,500 for any ‘first offence and any subsequent offence’ in May 2018.