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It’s D-Day for future of city’s dog track
A SCHEME to flatten Oxford’s former greyhound stadium and speedway track for housing will go before city planners tomorrow.
Oxford City Council members will be asked to make a decision on proposals by Galliard Homes for 220 homes at Oxford Stadium in Sandy Lane.
It is recommended for refusal and councillors will hear that many local people - 2,000 of whom have signed a petition – want to save it and the businesses that still operate from the venue.
Andy Cooper, who runs Karting Oxford at the stadium, said demolition would be bad for the local economy.
He said: “It can make an income if run properly and it will keep parts of the economy in Oxford well supported.
“There are people out there who know its potential.”
Planning officer Martin Armstrong has advised east area planning committee to reject the plans from Galliard Homes.
The 1939 stadium was used for speedway until 2008 and closed in December 2012.
The Greyhound Racing Association, which owns it, said that the venue was no longer profitable.
In a report to city planners Mr Armstrong wrote: “The proposal to demolish all the buildings and redevelop the land for housing would result in the complete loss of all the community facilities.
“The community facilities include infrastructure that supports a venue of exceptional quality for greyhound racing and for speedway and spectators of these pursuits can be counted in their thousands across Oxford, the wider county and beyond.
“In addition, a number of other community facilities provided at the venue add to its viability and many more thousands of people from Oxford and surrounding areas have been able to enjoy these activities.”
The plan would “result in severe harm to the well-being, community cohesion, social interaction and social inclusion of the wider Oxford community”, he said.
It should also be rejected for proposing that 35 per cent of the scheme should be affordable housing, against a council policy of at least 50 per cent, he said.
Labour Oxford East MP Andrew Smith has handed in a petition of more than 2,000 signatures urging rejection.
He said: “The site is not zoned for housing and I am confident that on the merits of the case the city council will turn down the application.
“If the applicants appeal, we will voice our concerns loud and clear to the planning inspectorate and the Government.
“This is a vital facility, not just for Oxford but the whole county, and we are determined to save it. It is good news that there is serious business interest in buying the site and operating it as a stadium.”
The committee will meet from 6pm in Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s. The public can attend. Galliard did not comment to the Mail.
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