Progress towards a new sports park for Oxford residents

Published: Friday, 16th December 2016

Oxford City Council and Fusion Lifestyle are working together to create a new sports park in Horspath Road.

The new facilities include new grass and 3G football pitches, practice areas, cricket pitches, changing rooms and a 150-space car park.

BMW (UK) Manufacturing has agreed to provide £4.9m to fund the new project to replace the sports ground that was previously run by the Rover Sports and Social Club.

Fusion Lifestyle currently manages sports facilities including the Leys Pools and Leisure Centre in partnership with Oxford City Council, and will operate the new facility in a similar form of partnership.

A planning application for the new facilities, on 39 acres of land, has been submitted and includes:

  • Three full-sized football pitches
  • Two nine-a-side football pitches
  • Three seven-a-side football pitches
  • A goalkeeper practice area
  • Eight small sided 3G football pitches
  • Two cricket pitches
  • A cricket nets practice area
  • A pavilion with changing facilities
  • A 150-space car park
  • A habitat area with pond

The City Council is still considering the feasibility of including a full-size 3G football pitch and a closed-road cycle track on the new site.

A decision on the application will be made early in the New Year.

The new facilities will replace the current football pitches that are on land owned by BMW’s MINI plant.  Oxford City Council has been working with BMW to re-provide the facilities in the adjoining fields that are owned by the City Council.

The current site, which covers 25 acres, features four full-sized grass football pitches, two grass 9v9 football pitches and two small sided grass football pitches.

Oxford United use the current site for training. The City Council has been in discussions with football club about moving their training to the new site, and space has been identified for the club’s buildings in the plans.

The City Council has also been in discussions with other sports clubs who have used the old site in the past, including Oxford Cricket Club and Oxford Softball, about moving to the new site.

Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “The new facility will be a very welcome addition to the city’s ability to meet the needs of the huge demands across the city for good quality football and cricket pitches. The growth of women’s and girls’ football in particular, is driving an ever growing requirement for pitches that are accessible and playable throughout the season. I look forward to being able to start the work on site in the early summer next year.”

Tim Mills, Director of Business Development at Fusion, said: “Fusion is really excited about the opportunity to create a new community sports facility at the Horspath Road site and we are working closely with the Council to bring together plans and proposals which will ensure that the facility is attractive and relevant to the people of Oxford and is financially sustainable in the long term.”

Jeremy Stoyle, CFO BMW (UK) Manufacturing, said: "We have worked closely with the council to help develop a proposal that we believe is in the interests of everyone involved. Relocating and improving the existing sports facilities will bring real benefits to local people and gives us greater flexibility for our site in the future."