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Vote will decide future of Oxford Stadium site
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.
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