RESIDENTS have urged councillors to give extra protection to under-threat Oxford Stadium at a crunch meeting on Wednesday.

Oxford City Council’s executive board will be asked to designate the closed Sandy Lane stadium a conservation area.

It has refused plans to flatten the site for 220 homes but developer Galliard Homes has lodged an appeal, to be heard this summer.

Of the 33 who responded to a consultation on the proposal, 31 gave support.

The stadium closed in December 2012 after owner Greyhound Racing Association said it was no longer viable. Last July it was added to the Oxford Heritage Asset register, giving it further protection in planning proposals.

Oxford Stadium Tenants’ Group told the council: “The site has special historic interest as evidenced by its designation as a local heritage asset.

“Historically it has been used for greyhound and speedway racing and served as a sporting venue drawing national and international teams and supporters.

“It also has architectural interest. The decline in the number of historic stadia makes it a rare example nationally of a racing facility.”

Montagu Evans for Galliard Homes and stadium owner GRA Acquisition Limited objected. He said: “The stadium in our expert opinion, lacks any positive visual qualities desirable to preserve and enhance.”

Campaign group Greyt Exploitations, who campaigns against greyhound racing, also objected, saying racing is not a sport.