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Oxford greyhound stadium housing plan 'makes lot of sense'
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HOUSING plans for Oxford’s stadium are likely to get approval, according to city council leader Bob Price.
Galliard Homes and stadium owner the Greyhound Racing Association want to raze the attraction to the ground and build hundreds of homes on the site.
Campaigners and Blackbird Leys residents have voiced strong opposition, and Mr Price said he understood their concerns.
But he said the suitability of the site for housing was likely to mean the plans, which are currently being finalised by agent Savills, would be approved.
He said: “It should pass. In planning terms, it’s great for housing.
“It’s close to Tesco, close to schools, close to main transport links. It makes all sorts of sense in housing terms.
“We have to recognise local opposition, but we also have to get the best deal, and if it’s going to be 50 per cent affordable, that’s really positive.”
Mr Price said he appreciated campaigners’ and residents’ reasons for opposing the development.
He said: “There are two very good reasons for opposing it.
“There is an opinion that speedway and dog racing should be maintained, but the GRA clearly sees flogging it for housing as preferable.
“The second is that if you put housing there, there will be more pressure on roads, parking and congestion.”
He said problems which more housing would cause on the Watlington Road and other areas would have to be addressed.
Blackbird Leys Parish Council chairman Gordon Roper said members would not accept the argument that the plans were a good option for the site.
He said: “We can’t say we’re against the actual plans, because we haven’t seen them yet, but we have said we want it to remain as a leisure facility.”
Andrew Raven, from Savills, said the views of residents and visitors to consultation events last week were being assessed.
He said: “The events went very well. We had a number of residents turn up who gave a wide range of different comments, some in favour of the development and some against, and we’re assessing those comments now.”
He said a planning application would be submitted later in the year, and claimed it would tick all the boxes necessary for permission.
He said: “In principle, this is a policy-compliant site.”