This is an editorial from the Oxford Times' politics reporter Ed Halford.

Soon the wait will be over.

Oxford United fans are anxious to find out whether their longing for a stadium move will come to fruition.

The club has already had an impressive start to the season and swept aside Barnsley last weekend.

The renewed optimism surrounding the team means that many are hopeful the club’s plans to have a home of their own will progress to the next stage come September.

Oxford Mail: Oxford United fansOxford United fans (Image: Newsquest)

New stadiums are of course costly, and they can elevate clubs to a different class of prestige.

In the short term, there are inevitable worries about traffic on match days and whether there is sufficient car parking space in the area, but teething problems can quickly be mitigated once a new ground is up and running.

Many of those who live in North Oxford are not necessarily against the proposal to move to ‘The Triangle’ but just feel disappointed about the ‘Wall of Silence’ which has surrounded the move.

With numerous housing developments earmarked for North Oxford, householders have told this paper they feel a sense of “entrapment”, with areas of natural beauty being swiftly taken away.

The answer to their concerns is not to chastise them or accuse householders of having an agenda against the club.

Oxford Mail: The TriangleThe Triangle (Image: Contributed)

Instead, what is clear is that on both sides of the debate, there has been a lack of engagement with legitimate concerns which have sowed the seeds of division.

Any football club which has ambitions to grow and to build their fan base undoubtedly needs a stadium which can be embedded into the fabric of the club.

Oxford United fans understandably see the proposal as an exciting prospect which will only add to the gravitas of this great club’s history and is likely to entice better players to sign for the team.

Putting aside the environmental concerns, the economic boost which will be delivered to Kidlington cannot be downplayed.

Pubs will be heaving before match day and businesses which are still reeling from the pandemic will experience a rejuvenation in revenue.

Yes, the council has put on walk-in exhibitions and has leafleted the houses close by to ‘The Triangle’ but before the cabinet make this all-important decision about the club’s future, it is evident that speaking to householders in North Oxford would do no harm.

There has been a consultation, but these always leave people by the wayside, and you can never compensate for having face-to-face conversations.

At this moment in time, Oxford may seem divided on the future of the club, but underlying concerns is a shared desire to see our football club continue to go from strength to strength.

There is still a long way to go before the club has clarity and we have certainty but in the meantime, it is important political representatives step up and make themselves available to both fans and concerned householders.

Our democracy can only be enriched by speaking more to those we disagree with, and its time our politicians led by example.

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About the author 

To sign up to Ed's weekly Politics newsletter, click here:

Ed specialises in writing political stories for the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times. 

He joined in the team in February 2023, after completing a History undergraduate degree at the University of York and studying for his NCTJ diploma in London.

Ed’s weekly politics newsletter is released every Saturday morning.