Design & Development

Oxford exploring short-term options as stadium decision pushed back

Featured image credit: Oxford United

Oxford United’s planning application for a new stadium proposal will now be considered in early 2025, with the newly promoted Championship club “actively exploring” short-term provisions for the period between its Kassam Stadium lease expiring in 2026 and the new venue being ready.

United submitted its plans for a new all-electric, 16,000-capacity stadium to Cherwell District Council in February, and the club had been hoping to move into the stadium by 2026.

Last month, the club signed a legally binding lease option with Oxfordshire County Council for land known as ‘The Triangle’, where it plans on building the stadium.

Oxford has today (Thursday) confirmed that the planning application will not be considered until early 2025 following requests from Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council for additional information and studies. A decision had originally been expected by tomorrow.

As a result of the delay, the club is exploring short-term stadium options for 2026 onwards as the new stadium will not be ready in time for the start of the 2026-27 season. United said it is “advancing its conversations” around short-term provisions, but no decision on a temporary home venue has been taken at this stage.

The additional information that has been requested for the new stadium covers areas such as transport, ecology, biodiversity and health impact. United said the information has been requested by key consultees and third parties as part of the planning consultation process.

Additional modelling is also required to support the transport assessment, and the volume of public comments and interest in the scheme also warrants a longer review from the project team and local planning authority.

The club said that the exact timescale for the determination of the application has yet to be established but will be agreed with Cherwell District Council in due course.

Jonathan Clarke, the club’s development director, said: “We’re fully committed to following the planning process, supporting the planning department in their review and delivering on our vision.

“We have made excellent progress recently with the signing of the lease option. Although this process took longer than originally envisaged, it has provided a platform for the club to move forward with confidence. We are now focused on obtaining the necessary planning permissions and preparing for the build.

“It is common that large-scale developments, especially ones within a greenbelt area, require additional modelling and careful examination. We look forward to fulfilling all the requests for additional information and submitting further details in due course.”

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, which will also include a 180-bed hotel, restaurant, conference centre, health and wellbeing space, gym and community plaza.

The club achieved promotion to the Championship last season after defeating Bolton Wanderers 2-0 in the League One play-off final. The upcoming season will mark its first in the second tier of English football for 25 years.