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Design & Development

Oxford United seals land deal for new stadium

Featured image credit: Oxford United

English League One football club Oxford United has signed a legally binding lease option with Oxfordshire County Council for land known as ‘The Triangle’, as well as completing a community collaboration agreement for its proposed new stadium development.

Today’s (Friday’s) announcement follows the news last month that heads of terms had been agreed following detailed negotiations. The Council’s cabinet agreed in principle for the package of land near Kidlington to be leased to the club at a meeting back in September. United is seeking to build a 16,000-capacity stadium, which would be the first in the UK powered solely by electricity.

United said the completion of these contracts represents a “significant step forward” in securing a long-term home in the county, locking in the future of the 131-year-old club. In February, United submitted a full planning application for its proposed new stadium to Cherwell District Council.

The club will be able to fully exercise the 250-year lease once planning permission has been obtained from Cherwell District Council for the development. The lease option agreement includes provisions to ensure United’s right to play at the stadium is secured, along with safeguards on rent and use of facilities.  

The community collaboration agreement formalises the club’s commitment to social, environmental and economic benefits for the community, as outlined in the seven strategic priorities set by the County Council. 

The strategic priorities include improving public transport and achieving a net-zero development. United has also committed to the production of a Net Zero Plan in line with the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.  

Grant Ferguson, chairman of Oxford United, said today: “This is a major step-forward in our exciting stadium development plans and for the long-term sustainability of the club.

“On behalf of the club, I’d like to extend a thank you to our stadium project team, to all our supporters and to Oxfordshire County Council. We look forward to continuing to work closely with key stakeholders to bring our vision to reality.” 

The planning proposal outlines a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to provide a new home for sport, entertainment, business, community, education and tourism for the whole county. Along with the stadium, the design includes a 180-bed hotel, conference and event space, and a health and wellbeing centre.

The visitor experience, inclusivity and sustainability have been placed at the heart of the design. Along with being the first all-electric stadium in the UK, the design includes a safe standing allocation, sensory room, 130 wheelchair spaces and wellbeing gardens.  

United’s lease to play at the Kassam Stadium ends in 2026 and it is hoped the new stadium will be ready for the 2026-27 season. The submission of planning permission to Cherwell District Council came after the club adjusted its plans for the venue following a public consultation process that saw its project team attend more than 150 meetings.

Jon Clarke, Oxford United’s development director, said: “From the outset the club has sought to create a stadium and venue that protects the long-term future of Oxford United and delivers significant benefits to the wider community.

“The signing of this lease option is a major milestone and allows us to fully focus on obtaining planning. The project team has worked tirelessly for over three years to get us to this point – we can now move forward with certainty and confidence knowing we have secured the land deal.”

Oxford announced in June last year that AFL Architects, Ridge and Partners, Mott MacDonald and Fabrik would make up the team seeking to deliver the new stadium.

On Wednesday, United advanced to the League One play-off final where it will meet Bolton Wanderers at Wembley Stadium on May 18 for a place in the Championship.