OXFORD United’s supporters’ group has given a cautious welcome to plans for 250 homes around their team’s stadium.
A development company – believed to be Taylor Wimpey – has been in discussions with planning authority Oxford City Council about building 250 homes around the Grenoble Road stadium.
The land which the developer is looking at is both the overflow car park and the land around the stadium itself – although exactly where has not been revealed.
It is unclear at this stage whether the developer is looking to buy the land from owner Firoz Kassam.
But supporters believe that if that happened, it would give them a chance to step in and buy the site – under Government rules governing so-called community assets.
Mark Sennett, chairman of supporters’ group OxVox, said: “We are keen to learn more about what a potential application would include.
“We would support any project of development which would benefit the club.
“It is our ambition to see the stadium become a community-owned asset or owned by the club and we can use this as an opportunity to continue our discussions.
“What is important is that we have the right to bid for the stadium, because if the site was sold to a developer it would be triggered.”
In May last year, the Kassam Stadium was designated as an asset of community value by the city council, which means OxVox would be given a period of six months to raise money to buy it if its owner decided to sell up.
Mr Sennett said this would be triggered for the whole stadium even if a small part of the area – such as the overflow car park which is earmarked for development –was sold on its own.
And while most of the land in question is owned by Mr Kassam’s company Firoka, a small portion of it is owned by the city council.
According to the city council’s planning policy, the land around the Kassam Stadium could be used for a housing development.
But this is only as long as the stadium itself remained and the development did not prejudice the construction of a fourth stand.
City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We can confirm that we have been contacted by a developer to build homes around the Kassam Stadium. We are currently working with the developer on their proposals.
“We anticipate that there would be public consultation before any application is made. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Taylor Wimpey – as well as Mr Kassam and Oxford United – declined to comment.