Oxford

Oxford United set to run Horspath training ground

Oxford United players Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption League One Oxford United recently beat Premier League side West Ham United in the Carabao Cup

Oxford United are set to secure management of their training ground after being overlooked by the council during the site's development.

The club has been in discussions with current leaseholders Fusion Lifestyle over the running of the £4.9m sports complex near Horspath.

This followed a row between the council and former United chairman Darryl Eales in 2016 over the plans for the site.

The new proposal is set to be approved by Oxford City Council next Wednesday.

The council said Fusion Lifestyle and United had agreed their "preferred option" was for the 25-year lease to be "reassigned" to the League One football club.

The 39-acre development is to be used as a training ground and academy base for the football club as well as for "some wider community use", the council added.

Image copyright Oxford City Council
Image caption The park, which includes 16 football pitches of various sizes, two cricket pitches and softball facilities, is said to be "opening soon" to the public

Councillor Linda Smith said creating a long-term training base for Oxford United at the sports park had been an "integral part of the development of the site".

"We believe they are well placed to manage the site and, like us, they are keen to ensure that the community use of the site remains a key element of any future tenancy," she said.

In 2016, the council rejected the club's bid to secure the tender for the park, with former leader Bob Price saying United's proposals "did not provide best value for money for the taxpayer".

The sports park, which includes 16 football pitches of various sizes and will also house two cricket pitches and softball facilities, replaced a previous facility on land in Cowley now owned by Mini carmaker BMW.

The German company agreed to fund the £4.9m sports complex on council land after senior councillors agreed the Mini plant could expand.

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