PARISH councils key to Oxford United’s hopes of building a stadium at Stratfield Brake remain unconvinced about the proposal – but say they are approaching the matter with an ‘open mind’.

Gosford and Water Eaton, and Kidlington parish councils both sub-lease the land, south of Kidlington, which the U's have earmarked for a new ground.

Yesterday, Oxfordshire County Council told United they could enter detailed discussions over the sports ground, where the club hope to build an 18,000-capacity stadium, community and sports grounds and hotel, retail and conference facilities.

READ MORE: Oxford United allowed to continue Stratfield Brake talks

The U’s want to lease almost 45 acres of county council-owned land at Stratfield Brake for 250 years, but they cannot do this without agreement from the tenants and sub-tenants at the site.

United have been asked to share more detailed proposals following concerns over traffic, parking and the potential loss of green belt land.

These worries are shared by Gosford and Water Eaton Parish Council, which directed the Oxford Mail to a statement released before yesterday’s meeting.

It reads: “Gosford and Water Eaton Parish Council is committed to preserving the Green Belt and green space as much as possible.

“We are approaching negotiations on the OUFC Stratfield Brake proposal with an open mind.

“We appreciate there may be benefits for the parish and the wider area but we also appreciate there will be some negative impact.”

The statement added: “Our initial view is that this proposal brings more overdevelopment to the area.

“In particular, it should be noted that this OUFC proposal is not instead of the housing (in excess 1,000 new houses) to the immediate area – it is in addition to the housing being built on greenbelt land.

“The combined housing and stadium is massive overdevelopment to a small area. Fundamentally we think this is the wrong place for a stadium.”

There are no break clauses in the leases at Stratfield Brake, so all tenants and sub-tenants must agree to early surrender if United are to progress their plans.

READ MORE: Oxford United MD responds to Stratfield Brake decision

Kidlington Parish Council chair David Robey also pointed to a recent statement, which reads: “Kidlington Parish Council is committed to preserving the Green Belt and the Green Ring around the village as an essential part of its identity.

“We are nevertheless approaching negotiations on the OUFC Stratfield Brake proposal with an open mind.

“While we fully appreciate its possible benefits for the village, we have yet to be convinced (1) that it can be made compatible with our Green Belt and Green Ring commitment, (2) that adequate measures will be taken to mitigate the resultant burdens on residents, particularly match-day parking, traffic congestion and noise, (3) that firm and lasting assurances can be obtained as to the security and sustainability of any agreements we may reach, and of OUFC’s financial capacity to deliver and maintain them.

“We expect to be fully involved in negotiations between OCC and OUFC on the proposal and will resist relinquishing our lease on the Stratfield Brake site until and unless we are satisfied on the points above.”