CAMPAIGNERS who want to see Oxford Stadium saved have said they are cautiously optimistic about the future of the venue.

Save Oxford Stadium campaigners attended a hearing into Oxford City Council’s local plan regarding the Blackbird Leys venue on Tuesday.

According to a statement from the campaigners, approximately 50 speedway and greyhound supporters attended the hearing, which some had to take time off work to attend.

The council wants to keep the stadium, reintroducing the speedway, greyhounds and other activities, while allowing 100 homes to be built on a car park.

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Businessman Nick Budimir has revealed plans for a £20-25 million investment which would fully re-open the stadium, including the return of the Oxford Cheetahs speedway team.

Linda Smith, deputy leader of Oxford City Council, said she thought the meeting was very positive for the council's plans.

Ms Smith said: “We won't get a decision until the new year, but I thought it was very positive, with the Inspector rejecting the case put forward by the owners that the existing use of the site had been ‘abandoned’."

She added: “He concluded by saying he was minded to accept the revised draft policy submitted by the council and supported by the Save Our Stadium campaign, which would allow some new homes and preserve the stadium for greyhound and speedway, unless it can be proved totally unviable, in which case alternative leisure and community use would be required.”

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At Tuesday's meeting, planning inspector Nick Fagan considered opinions from the city council, and real estate company Savills, representing the company which owns the stadium, Cowley Investments.

He also heard from Steven Sensecall, a lawyer representing the campaign group Save Oxford Stadium.

Mr Fagan had two questions to ask them all about the stadium: was enough being done in the council’s plans for the site to provide new housing for Oxford? And: would refurbishing the stadium for racing be ‘economically viable’?

While the Savills team tried to convince him the stadium would not be profitable if re-opened both the council and Mr Sensecall provided evidence to show how it could be successful.

The local plan hearings continue until next Thursday.