Yes to plans for London Welsh’s Witney stadium

The old Witney Town stadium site

The old Witney Town stadium site

First published in Rugby Bicester Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter, also covering West Oxford. Call me on (01865) 425437

COUNCILLORS have unanimously approved plans which would allow London Welsh to move to Witney.

Despite an objection from Sport England over the loss of two football pitches, the committee at West Oxfordshire District Council yesterday supported the decision which will see stands, which can hold up to 10,000 spectators, erected at the site in Downs Road.

It would see the rugby club move into the former Witney Town Football club stadium, which has stood empty since the club folded a year ago, in time for the 2014/15 season.

London Welsh currently play at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, sharing the ground with Oxford United.

The move to Witney is being considered as an alternative to continuing with the arrangement at the Kassam.

Now a planning application has been granted, the club has to go to the Professional Game Board for Rugby Union in England for approval to move.

Bicester Advertiser:

  • Councillor Richard Langridge

Councillor Richard Langridge said: “It is clear that London Welsh coming to play here is absolutely fantastic to Witney and for rugby in the district.

“I think the benefit will be far reaching and extensive. The only planning issue is parking and I am satisfied measures are in place and safeguards are met so the club works hards with the district council to overcome any issues.”

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London Welsh are in the Greene King IPA Championship but are seeking promotion to the Aviva Premiership.

Gavin Brown, from On The Edge which owns the land and submitted the application, said: “This is absolutely fantastic and it can only be good for Witney as a whole.

“It is not just a boost from a sporting point of view, but also tourism, the economy. It is now up to London Welsh to make some pretty big decisions about whether they want to go forward.”

Sport England objected on the grounds that football pitches would be lost, but planning officer Phil Shaw told councillors the land cannot be used for sport in its current state.

He said: “While it will mean the theoretical loss of football pitches, the pitches are wholly unusable.

“The grass is so high, there are nettles and brambles, it is completely overgrown. It clearly hasn’t been used, so there is no actual loss.”

London Welsh did not comment on the decision.

Comments (5)

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9:29am Tue 18 Feb 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

And in one fell swoop London Welsh have destroyed any chances of Oxford United purchasing the Kassam Stadium.

And good on them.

Sadly though I cannot see it doing much for London Welsh's popularity with them being so far out of the back and beyond.
And in one fell swoop London Welsh have destroyed any chances of Oxford United purchasing the Kassam Stadium. And good on them. Sadly though I cannot see it doing much for London Welsh's popularity with them being so far out of the back and beyond. yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: -1

10:47am Tue 18 Feb 14

the wizard says...

yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
And in one fell swoop London Welsh have destroyed any chances of Oxford United purchasing the Kassam Stadium.

And good on them.

Sadly though I cannot see it doing much for London Welsh's popularity with them being so far out of the back and beyond.
The whole area is about to be developed for housing and an interchange with the A40 is planned at the end of Downs Road making it long term not so back and beyond. There is also a lot of RFU support in the town and the overall view is very welcoming. This is a major coup for the town and the club will benefit from good local support. There are plenty of hotels in the town which will benefit from those wishing to stay overnight away from London, and with the town centre having a variety of national and local business plus many different styles of eatery the whole package is much better than the area which surrounds the Kassam. Less hustle and bussle that is Oxford and a more relaxing and easier going life style which is more welcoming for those wishing to escape the City style for the game and the weekend if required.
[quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: And in one fell swoop London Welsh have destroyed any chances of Oxford United purchasing the Kassam Stadium. And good on them. Sadly though I cannot see it doing much for London Welsh's popularity with them being so far out of the back and beyond.[/p][/quote]The whole area is about to be developed for housing and an interchange with the A40 is planned at the end of Downs Road making it long term not so back and beyond. There is also a lot of RFU support in the town and the overall view is very welcoming. This is a major coup for the town and the club will benefit from good local support. There are plenty of hotels in the town which will benefit from those wishing to stay overnight away from London, and with the town centre having a variety of national and local business plus many different styles of eatery the whole package is much better than the area which surrounds the Kassam. Less hustle and bussle that is Oxford and a more relaxing and easier going life style which is more welcoming for those wishing to escape the City style for the game and the weekend if required. the wizard
  • Score: 11

12:21pm Tue 18 Feb 14

Danny A says...

I suppose it puts them a bit nearer to Wales.
I suppose it puts them a bit nearer to Wales. Danny A
  • Score: 6

4:50pm Tue 18 Feb 14

caz1111 says...

yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
And in one fell swoop London Welsh have destroyed any chances of Oxford United purchasing the Kassam Stadium.

And good on them.

Sadly though I cannot see it doing much for London Welsh's popularity with them being so far out of the back and beyond.
They will no longer have the winging about damaging the football pitch so that is just the first plus. Nobody at Oxford united has seemed to appreciate the sharing & all the while money is going into Mr Kassam's bank account is he really likely to sell anyway. Really looking forward to trips to Witney, although I am slightly concerned about the parking situation as I've no idea what that will be like.
[quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: And in one fell swoop London Welsh have destroyed any chances of Oxford United purchasing the Kassam Stadium. And good on them. Sadly though I cannot see it doing much for London Welsh's popularity with them being so far out of the back and beyond.[/p][/quote]They will no longer have the winging about damaging the football pitch so that is just the first plus. Nobody at Oxford united has seemed to appreciate the sharing & all the while money is going into Mr Kassam's bank account is he really likely to sell anyway. Really looking forward to trips to Witney, although I am slightly concerned about the parking situation as I've no idea what that will be like. caz1111
  • Score: 4

8:50pm Tue 18 Feb 14

faatmaan says...

another club bearing a London name out in the middle of nowhere !
another club bearing a London name out in the middle of nowhere ! faatmaan
  • Score: -2

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