Oxford United has unveiled updated plans and new images showcasing the proposed stadium it hopes to call home by 2026.
The third-tier English Football League One club will develop a 16,000-capacity arena that will also incorporate a hotel, restaurant, conference centre, health and wellbeing space and a community plaza.
The “sustainable sports, entertainment and lifestyle landmark” will be located in Kidlington with a focus on access to public transport as well as a new pedestrian and cycle route and improved links to existing infrastructure. It will be a home for both the club’s men’s and women’s teams as well as a hub for its community outreach and charitable work.
The stadium will be surrounded by new landscaping and community-focused open public green spaces which the club claims will enhance the biodiversity of the site by more than 10%.
United must find a new stadium before 2026 when the lease expires for its current 12,500-capacity Kassam Stadium home.
Tim Williams, Oxford United’s chief executive, said: “With our right to use the Kassam Stadium coming to an end in 2026 and no option to renew the lease, we must find a new home.
“The club is committed to developing a proposal which is highly sustainable and community focused whilst providing a state-of-the-art destination for all. The further detail we have released today shows how seriously we take these principles, and I am delighted to share the first glimpse of our stadium with the whole of Oxfordshire.”
The club has commenced 12 days of exhibitions, where the public can see the proposals and leave their feedback.
The club said: “The stadium has been designed for all, reducing barriers to participation and involvement. The stadium designs feature sensory rooms and a dedicated accessible concourse with elevated views of the field of play, demonstrating the club’s commitment in ensuring everyone is able to comfortably visit Oxford’s new home for football.”
Last month, Oxfordshire County Council approved proposals for the club to lease land and build the new stadium on the ‘Kidlington Triangle’, but a number of conditions were imposed. Among them, the club must produce a net-zero plan that is fully costed.
However, environmental campaigners launched a legal challenge to the project in August. It was reported that the Friends of Stratfield Brake group issued a pre-action letter to a judicial review, claiming that Oxfordshire council’s consultation regarding the project was unlawful.
According to the BBC, the group said the club lost an option to extend the lease at Kassam Stadium, while claiming that the Council failed to give details in its latest public consultation on the project.
United announced in June that AFL Architects, Ridge and Partners, Mott MacDonald and Fabrik will make up the team seeking to deliver the new stadium.
Oxford United moved to Kassam Stadium in 2001 with construction having taken five years due to financial problems. The club had previously played at the Manor Ground since 1925.