Issue - meetings

Leasing of Land to Oxford United Football Club

Meeting: 24/01/2023 - Cabinet (Item 6)

6 Proposal from Oxford United Football Club to Oxfordshire County Council as Landowner pdf icon PDF 619 KB

Cabinet Member: Finance

Forward Plan Ref: 2022/236

Contact: Claire Taylor, Corporate Director Customers, Organisational Development and Resources,


Report by Corporate Director Customers, Organisational Development and Resources (CA6).


A report setting out the options regarding the potential leasing of county council land to OUFC for he purposes of a new staudium.


The Cabinet is RECOMMENDED to


(a)                Authorise Officers to enter into negotiations regarding Heads of Terms with Oxford United Football Club (OUFC) to agree the commercial terms on which Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) would lease land to the east of Frieze Way / south of Kidlington roundabout (known as the ‘triangle’) to OUFC for the development of a new football stadium, subject to further Cabinet approval of detailed plans and undertakings and to planning permission.


(b)                Emphasise that Heads of Terms are non-binding and that any final agreement to lease or dispose of land to OUFC for the purposes of a stadium will be a Cabinet decision, published on the Forward Plan of Business.


(c)                Instruct officers to ensure that, prior to any recommendation to Cabinet regarding entering into a contractual or legal agreement with OUFC, sufficient information and undertakings have been received from OUFC to ensure that the objectives set out in (2a) below will be met.


(d)                Instruct officers to identify and mitigate medium and long-term financial risks and liabilities associated with any final agreement with OUFC to lease or dispose of the land.


(e)                Instruct officers to provide regular updates on progress to the Cabinet Member for Property and, as appropriate, Cabinet as a whole, and to add these Cabinet updates to the Cabinet’s Forward Plan of Business to enable transparency and public scrutiny / engagement. 


(f)                  Instruct officers to identify further opportunities for engagement with a broad range of stakeholders as proposals for a scheme are developed. This should include an engagement strategy from OUFC to demonstrate how they will take into account stakeholder and community views as the scheme promoter. 


If the Cabinet decides to proceed it is RECOMMENDED that the Cabinet requires:


a)                  Officers to ensure that any agreements with OUFC are consistent with the County Council’s strategic priorities, by achieving the following objectives for the use of the OCC’s land:


·         maintain a green barrier between Oxford and Kidlington

·         improve access to nature and green spaces

·         enhance facilities for local sports groups and on-going financial support

·         significantly improve the infrastructure connectivity in this location, improving public transport to reduce the need for car travel in so far as possible, and to improve sustainable transport through increased walking, cycling and rail use

·         develop local employment opportunities in Oxfordshire

·         increase education and innovation through the provision of a sports centre of excellence and facilities linked to elite sport, community sport, health and wellbeing

·         support the County Council’s net zero carbon emissions pledge through highly sustainable development


b)                  Officers to pursue discussions with a view to agreeing terms that achieve community benefit, meet Oxfordshire County Council’s strategic priorities, retain OCC’s reasonable long-term control  ...  view the full agenda text for item 6

Additional documents:


Recommendations agreed.



Cabinet had before it a report regarding a proposal from Oxford United Football Club for a lease to develop a new football stadium on Land to the east of Frieze way / south of Kidlington roundabout.


Councillor Calum Miller, Cabinet Member for Finance, introduced the report.  He thanked all of the speakers who had addressed the meeting today and other members of the public who had made representations on these proposals.  He referred to the background to these proposals, including the expiry of the Football Club’s lease at the Kassam Stadium, the previous consideration of an alternative site at Stratfield Break. and the wide ranging engagement that had taken place with residents and elected councillors on the future options for a suitable site.  Councillor Miller emphasised that, at this stage, the report was recommending that formal negotiations should begin with Oxford United, that it was important that the Council’s various interests were protected in consideration of any formal arrangements with the football club, and that there was a need for more detailed discussion between all parties and consultation with the community before firm proposals were progressed.  He urged the Football Club to begin working on their proposals without delay and gave assurance that officers would be prioritising the scheme immediately to ensure that the future of the Football Club was given due priority.


Cabinet members made the following comments:-


-        The Council recognised the community value provided by the Football Club and its importance in the lives of many people in Oxfordshire, and beyond, which had been demonstrated by the 1400 representations received on these proposals


-        It was important to protect the financial and other interests of the Council in the forthcoming negotiations



-        It was important to note that these propoals were being developed with the County Council as landowner, and that Cherwell District Council, as planning authority, would determine any application for the site of the new stadium


-        The Council noted that it had become apparent that the Kassam Stadium was not a suitable long term venue for the club in view of the representations made and the need to meet the requirements of all the activities that needed to use the facilities including women’s football and youth groups.


Councillor Miller then summarised the points made during the discussion.  He recognised the importance of publishing the aspirations for the project and timetable as soon as possible, that members should be updated on progress on a regular basis and that further negotiations with stakeholders were required to achieve the objectives adopted by the Cabinet in March 2022 and of supporting the ongoing success of Oxford United and its role in the community.


The recommendations were proposed by Councillor Enright, seconded by Councillor Lygo and agreed.





(a)            authorise Officers to enter into negotiations regarding Heads of Terms with Oxford United Football Club (OUFC) to agree the commercial terms on which Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) would lease land to the east of Frieze Way / south  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6