RESIDENTS and dog racing lovers have voiced opposition to build houses at the Oxford Stadium site.

Proposals for more than 200 homes on the site went on public display yesterday for the first time. But some Blackbird Leys residents and dog track supporters called for speedway to return to the stadium to help keep it open.

Developer Risk Capital Partners and Gillard Homes claim the stadium is underused, and wants to build flats and houses on the site.

Racing enthusiast and bookmaker employee David Martin, 47, has been going to the stadium since 1974.

Speaking at the consultation event at Blackbird Leys leisure centre he said: “It can be made good again.

“They can bring back the speedway, and they can build their houses somewhere else.”

Speedway left the city in 2008, but many campaigners against the development claim its return would make the 73-year-old stadium more viable.

Dogs fan Barbara Beattie, 53, of Osney, said: “If they got speedway back, things would improve up there. It would be sad to see it go. I have many happy memories of going to speedway and going to the dogs. “It’s where I met my partner.”

Stadium employee and Wood Farm resident Devina Phillips, 35, said she worried about pressure on school places if more housing is built.

She said: “I know three families who live in Sandy Lane, and they are being offered school places out of the area.

“They need a school here now before they build all this.”

And stadium general manager Maureen Ridley said staff had been kept in the dark.

She said: “The first we heard of this was when it went into the newspaper (last week).

“This involves 300 staff, who are mostly from Blackbird Leys, and there are 600 dogs which will need to be re-homed.”

But James Freeman, 42, of Blackbird Leys, said he was in favour of the development.

He said: “I want to see it re-developed”

Andrew Raven, from real estate firm Savills, which is acting as agent for the developers, was keen to emphasised the plans were still in draft form.

He said: “There isn’t a fixed number of homes, we’re looking to see how the consultation goes.”