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Red tape dogs stadium plans
DEVELOPERS are poised to apply for planning permission for hundreds of homes at the Oxford Stadium site.
Oxford City Council has confirmed it has already received an initial bid for housing at the former greyhound track.
Planning bosses rejected it because it lacked some administrative details but are now expecting a fresh bid in the next few days.
Planning agent Savills is acting on behalf of Galliard Homes, which has previously said it wants to build 225 homes.
Dog racing at the stadium stopped on December 29 after the Greyhound Racing Association, which owns the business, said it was no longer viable after a lucrative Friday morning race meet was cancelled.
City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We have received the planning application. However, it has not been registered yet as it was invalid upon submission because the applicant did not provide the city council with the required information that we need to register and assess the application.”
She would not say what information was missing, but Savills spokesman Andrew Raven said a further application would be made soon.
He said: “We’re preparing final information and discussing what that is with the council at the moment.”
Mr Raven said it was “hard to say” how long the next stage would take. He also dismissed calls for the stadium to re-open as a leisure facility.
He said: “There needs to be a viable proposal for the site of some kind and that’s what we’re looking at. We’ve looked at the possibility of leisure uses and they are not viable.”
He would not say how many homes the application was for.
Council leader Bob Price said the council would not back plans for 225 homes.
He said: “The council’s view, which is in our sites and housing plan, is that this is a leisure site not a housing site, and I can’t see that changing.”
Ian Sawyer, chairman of Save Oxford Stadium, said he was worried the old shell could be left to crumble like Catford Stadium in South London, which closed 10 years ago.
He said: “It’s good that the council has said it won’t give planning permission, but it needs to remain open as a leisure facility.”
When the planning application is received it will then pass to the city council’s east area planning committee for a decision.
Irish greyhound racing mogul Paschal Taggart has previously announced he would foot the bill if the council and campaigners wanted to mount a bid to buy the site to secure its continued use as a racing track.