BUSINESSES are leaving the rundown Oxford stadium as hopes continue to fade that speedway and greyhound racing will one day return.

Lightning Motorcycle Training is the latest to plan a move off the at-risk Sandy Lane site after it couldn't agree a new lease with the landlords.

The company, which has operated in Blackbird Leys for the last two decades, wants to set up on a disused car park next to the Sandy Lane Rec instead.

The Oxford Times:

It comes after Karting Oxford ceased trading and Dance Connection confirmed it is moving all its operations to Wallingford.

The departures will come as a blow to Oxford City Council which is hoping to prove there is a business case to reopen the stadium, which has been closed since 2012.

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William Rodwell, of Lightning Motorcycle Training, said he felt the place was 'sleepwalking' into being demolished for housing.

He said: "We're not giving up on the site, it is where we would prefer to be.

"But the costs of us continuing to be there were too high.

"We have made it clear to the council that if they prevail, then we would look to come back.

"But at the moment this half way situation isn't helping anybody.

"By the end of April there might be no tenants left."

Mr Rodwell said the company would move as soon as possible, if its planning application is approved.

Karting Oxford was wound up at the end of last month by stadium owners Cowley Property Investment Limited over a dispute about an unpaid utilities bill.

The Oxford Times:

Owner Andy Cooper said he didn't feel the company had done anything wrong and had been fighting the case in the courts but worried about how much it was costing in legal fees.

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Mr Cooper said he averaged 25,000 customers a year and feared the knock on effect of the closure would lead to a decline in the number of people becoming interested in motor sports in Oxfordshire.

He added: "The last thing we wanted to do was leave. I cannot identify anywhere in the city where we could run go-karting apart from the stadium so I can't see how we can resurrect the business in Oxford at the moment.

"The place is falling into disrepair. The council is going to find it difficult to say it is viable."

The Oxford Times:

Sam Benson, the director of Dance Connection, said she is moving from the site because of the state of the studio: "There's been no upkeep on it at all - there's holes in the ceiling, leaks in the roof.

"I didn't feel it was a suitable environment to teach children" she said.