Vote will decide future of Oxford Stadium site

The Oxford Times: Oxford Stadium one year on from its closure Oxford Stadium one year on from its closure

A DECISION on whether the Oxford Stadium can be flattened for homes to be built there will be made next month.

A year after the greyhound stadium in Blackbird Leys closed down, planners have revealed a vote will be held on January 8 on its future.

And today a racing track promoter who wants to reopen the stadium has told the Oxford Mail he will decide whether or not to buy it when the decision is made.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Harry Findlay said he “wasn’t even thinking about” buying the stadium in Blackbird Leys until Oxford City Council decides whether 220 homes can be built on the site or not.

Professional gambler Mr Findlay, who part-owned legendary 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning race horse Denman, said: “I am waiting for the decision to be made, and until then I am not even going to think about it.

“But I want to buy it as a racing track. Why would I be interested in it if it has planning permission for houses?”

He added that the site’s value would be much higher if planning permission was granted.

Oxford Stadium in Sandy Lane closed on December 29, 2012, after more than 70 years as a greyhound racing venue – with the final race won by Moorstown Mystiq.

Since then the stadium has sat empty and unused.

Developer Galliard wants to flatten the stadium and build homes on the site, but its plans have been condemned by greyhound racing and speedway fans.

A decision will be made by the city’s east area planning committee at Oxford Town Hall on January 8.

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith has been campaigning against the scheme and collected more than 2,000 signatures on a petition calling for the plans to be scrapped.

He said: “A lot of people know what a fantastic facility it is and there is a really relaxed, family atmosphere there and people value that and want to see it return.

“You should never leave anything to chance and the councillors will have to examine the application on its merits, but it is clear the city council is very sympathetic to the campaign.

“A lot will then turn on whether the owners decide to appeal, in which case we will carry the case to the planning inspector and the Government to make sure it is turned down.”

Oxford Stadium was opened by Lord Denham on March 31, 1939, and was also used for speedway until 2008 as home to former team Oxford Cheetahs.

The Oxford Mail contacted Savills, agents for Galliard, but received no response.

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:14am Mon 30 Dec 13

Sarah Lasenby says...

We all want housing for people in need but if the proposed 220 residential units at the Stadium are to go ahead then please will the Planning Committee make sure that the (public) transport assessment is done properly. We already have 885 units being built on West Barton and we don't really know if our bus companies will be able to cope with those people's transport needs. We need to think these things through.
I am pleased that Andrew Smith supports the reopening of the stadium. That is what the local people want too.
We all want housing for people in need but if the proposed 220 residential units at the Stadium are to go ahead then please will the Planning Committee make sure that the (public) transport assessment is done properly. We already have 885 units being built on West Barton and we don't really know if our bus companies will be able to cope with those people's transport needs. We need to think these things through. I am pleased that Andrew Smith supports the reopening of the stadium. That is what the local people want too. Sarah Lasenby

9:19am Mon 30 Dec 13

mytaxes says...

Why does Andrew Smith think that a 2,000 signatures petition will be considered by his colleagues in the town hall when we all know they have ignored petitions with over three times that many signatures on a different matter? Does he think that Blackbird Leys is a special case or does he believe that no more houses should be built there?
Why does Andrew Smith think that a 2,000 signatures petition will be considered by his colleagues in the town hall when we all know they have ignored petitions with over three times that many signatures on a different matter? Does he think that Blackbird Leys is a special case or does he believe that no more houses should be built there? mytaxes

9:54am Mon 30 Dec 13

ZoonPolitikon says...

Housing or greyhound track? A new 155-page publication, free to access on the internet, covers the many implications of greyhound racing: Behind the Lights, the Tote and the Non-starters
Housing or greyhound track? A new 155-page publication, free to access on the internet, covers the many implications of greyhound racing: Behind the Lights, the Tote and the Non-starters ZoonPolitikon

1:56pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

Sarah Lasenby wrote:
We all want housing for people in need but if the proposed 220 residential units at the Stadium are to go ahead then please will the Planning Committee make sure that the (public) transport assessment is done properly. We already have 885 units being built on West Barton and we don't really know if our bus companies will be able to cope with those people's transport needs. We need to think these things through.
I am pleased that Andrew Smith supports the reopening of the stadium. That is what the local people want too.
What utter nonsense.

If you *personally* don't know if the bus companies that serve Oxford will be able to cope with a 1.7% increase in the number of households in Oxford - why don't you write to them and ask them?

Here are the addresses:-

The Go-Ahead Group plc
4 Matthew Parker Street
Westminster
London
SW1H 9NP

Stagecoach Group Plc
Head Office
10 Dunkeld Road
Perth
PH1 5TW

Did a quick double check first of course, Stagecoach bought Prestwick airport the month after your trial, so you should be ok to contact them.

http://www.heraldsco
tland.com/protesters
-broke-into-airport-
and-boarded-us-milit
ary-jet-1.862849
[quote][p][bold]Sarah Lasenby[/bold] wrote: We all want housing for people in need but if the proposed 220 residential units at the Stadium are to go ahead then please will the Planning Committee make sure that the (public) transport assessment is done properly. We already have 885 units being built on West Barton and we don't really know if our bus companies will be able to cope with those people's transport needs. We need to think these things through. I am pleased that Andrew Smith supports the reopening of the stadium. That is what the local people want too.[/p][/quote]What utter nonsense. If you *personally* don't know if the bus companies that serve Oxford will be able to cope with a 1.7% increase in the number of households in Oxford - why don't you write to them and ask them? Here are the addresses:- The Go-Ahead Group plc 4 Matthew Parker Street Westminster London SW1H 9NP Stagecoach Group Plc Head Office 10 Dunkeld Road Perth PH1 5TW Did a quick double check first of course, Stagecoach bought Prestwick airport the month after your trial, so you should be ok to contact them. http://www.heraldsco tland.com/protesters -broke-into-airport- and-boarded-us-milit ary-jet-1.862849 Andrew:Oxford

9:48am Tue 31 Dec 13

Sarah Lasenby says...

Andrew, You do not say that all but one of us were given 'no case to answer' and that the issue that caused us to take the actions was the use of Prestwick Air Port to fly in US weapons for Israel who had invaded Lebanon.
Andrew, You do not say that all but one of us were given 'no case to answer' and that the issue that caused us to take the actions was the use of Prestwick Air Port [like Shannon] to fly in US weapons for Israel who had invaded Lebanon. Sarah Lasenby

8:31pm Thu 2 Jan 14

bishbosh says...

The council will likely change their minds as they do not own the site. Why should Galliard Homes sell the freehold to anyone not prepared to pay the going rate. Galliard Homes own the freehold on four other greyhound tracks and have leased them out on short term leases so the GRA can continue in the short term to run them. The only way Oxford can be saved is for someone to pay Galliard the asking price. No one is going to pay development prices to run a greyhound track in a hope they might get a return in 10 or 15 years time. The council will not compulsory purchase the site. If the council refuse planning permission Galliard will just sit on the site keep applying and eventually the right deal will be struck that suits the council and developer. I think greyhound racing is a great night out and the local community needs leisure assembly but I fear Oxford is a goner.
The council will likely change their minds as they do not own the site. Why should Galliard Homes sell the freehold to anyone not prepared to pay the going rate. Galliard Homes own the freehold on four other greyhound tracks and have leased them out on short term leases so the GRA can continue in the short term to run them. The only way Oxford can be saved is for someone to pay Galliard the asking price. No one is going to pay development prices to run a greyhound track in a hope they might get a return in 10 or 15 years time. The council will not compulsory purchase the site. If the council refuse planning permission Galliard will just sit on the site keep applying and eventually the right deal will be struck that suits the council and developer. I think greyhound racing is a great night out and the local community needs leisure assembly but I fear Oxford is a goner. bishbosh

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree