League One football club Oxford United has said that it welcomes concerns raised over its planned new stadium after local residents in Kidlington rejected the project during a vote held yesterday (Wednesday).
Kidlington residents were asked whether the parish council should support the building of an 18,000-seat stadium for United in the village. The BBC reports that 3,006 ballot papers were submitted, with 2,073 voting no and 928 voting yes. Five papers were rejected.
The vote is not legally binding and United said the poll represents an opportunity for the club to listen and take away feedback on how it can improve its proposals. Over the next couple of weeks, the club will hold a series of exhibitions to showcase the first parts of the detail.
Residents will also be receiving leaflets and information from the club, which is inviting community input to influence and shape the design of the new stadium.
Oxford currently plays at the Kassam Stadium, but the club does not own the venue and its lease deal to play at the 12,500-seat facility expires in 2026.
The club’s plans to develop a new stadium moved a step forward in March after Oxfordshire County Council agreed a Memorandum of Understanding on the project. The County Council’s Cabinet approved an agreement with United to govern open and transparent relations between the two parties while they work to explore the impact of a new stadium.
The land on which the club hopes to build the stadium is known as ‘the Triangle’ and it is owned by Oxfordshire County Council.
Oxfordshire County Council is not the final decision-maker on whether or not the scheme receives planning consent. Any final proposal by the club would need to be put through the planning process at Cherwell District Council, which will include public consultation.
United in December confirmed that it was in preliminary discussions regarding a potential alternative site for its proposed new stadium, a switch from the previously targeted 18 hectares of land at Stratfield Brake in Kidlington as the destination for an 18,000-seat stadium.
It is expected that a decision on whether United can lease or buy the land at the Triangle will be taken in public at a cabinet meeting in September.