Opponents of Oxford United's new stadium plans have identified the potential closure of a key road as the main sticking point in the lodged application.

The club announced last week it submitted its planning application to Cherwell District Council for the construction of a 16,000-capacity ground at The Triangle.

This is earmarked for land south of Kidlington Roundabout but critics have highlighted the bid does not include plans to build a pedestrian bridge over Oxford Road at this stage.

The key route runs from Kidlington to North Oxford and past Oxford Parkway station but it could be closed for significant periods of time on matchdays under the existing plans.

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Oxford Mail: Oxford United have published new images of what the club’s proposed stadium at The Triangle could

It comes as wider fears have been raised over the stadium being built on the last ‘green gap’ between the city and Kidlington.

The stadium is being earmarked for land which planning group POETS (Planning Oxfordshire’s Environment and Transport Sustainably) has described as a “crucial green lung”. 

And the potential closure of Oxford Road has led to further fears over the impact of traffic in the area. 

At a club exhibition last October, information boards said Oxford Road would be closed to traffic for an hour before a match and up to two hours afterwards.

Thames Valley Police previously raised “significant concerns” over how the roads around The Triangle will “function safely” as a result of the proposed new stadium.

And Oxfordshire County Council leader Liz Leffman has written to the four parishes of Kidlington, Water Eaton, Begbroke and Yarnton to assure them that support would not be given to any proposal that included the closure of the Oxford Road on matchdays. 

Oxford Mail:

The club has confirmed it is undertaking a planning application process to build a bridge over the road from the station.

But concerns have been raised these are not being included in the main proposals.

Ian Middleton, the deputy leader of the Green and Liberal Democrat Alliance for Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District councillor for Kidlington East, said: “I’m concerned that the bridge plans are going to be submitted separately to the stadium application.

“The bridge is an integral part of the project and how it’s achieved is a key part of the decision as to the viability of the stadium itself.

“So I would not want to see any progress on the ground for the stadium until the bridge is properly defined.

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“Ideally there should be a condition that the bridge is built at the same time or before the stadium works begin.

“What I would be very wary of is any position where the stadium would be finished before the bridge works started which would leave the possibility that it may never be built at all.

“So there would need to be very stringent conditions laid down from the outset”.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Middleton also said he had contacted Thames Valley Police in response to the backlash he has received from Yellows fans after publicly expressing his views against the stadium plans. 

The councillor confirmed the force has not taken this any further however. 

Friends of Stratfield Brake (FoSB), a group of residents whose aim is to represent opposition to the club’s plans, have called for a Grampian condition to be put in place.

This would prevent the start of any development until off-site works for the bridge have been completed on land not controlled by the applicant.

Speaking on behalf of FoSB, Suzanne McIvor, said: “It is implausible that this planning application can succeed without integral plans for a footbridge which would seem to be the only way of addressing safety concerns around the movement of fans without closing the Oxford Road. 

“Permission for the stadium should only be given if it includes plans for a footbridge. 

“The cost of a footbridge which is large enough to take the anticipated volume of fans will be substantial and we are concerned the stadium would be built and then a shortage of money, or other reasons, would mean the footbridge never gets built.”

Oxford Mail:

Oxford United Supporters’ Panel chair Paul Scaysbrook admitted he “wouldn’t have been happy” with a potential road closure and believes the proposed bridge is the “most practical solution”.

He said: “The bridge was a big issue with the road closure. As a resident, I wouldn’t have been happy with the closure, but the bridge can only be a positive as well.

“I can see the pros and cons of it, but it’s got to be the most practical solution.”

Paul Peros, chairman of the independent supporters group OxVox, added: “It’s a massive step forward.

"I’ve always said that planning is where this needs to be properly viewed, not just for fans, but for Kidlington residents, as things like the scale of the stadium and road closures can be explained.

“It’s a huge moment. There are always delays with things like this, with the scale of what’s going on.”

The club is looking to build a new home as the club’s licence agreement at the Kassam Stadium runs out in 2026.

The design includes a 180-bed hotel, restaurant, conference and event space, along with a health and wellbeing centre.

It would be the first all-electric stadium in the UK and includes a safe-standing allocation.