BICESTER Town Council has made a bid for the freehold of a community sports facility which has recently been put under new ownership.

Although Bicester Sports Association managed to sell its sports ground on Oxford Road to Bicester Village owners, Value Retail, last October, the council is taking a new interest as the side is listed as an Asset of Community Value.

In a council meeting last Tuesday, it considered a bid for the facility to be put forward to Value Retail.

A valuation of the sports facility was undertaken by Stimspons Eves and although the council has not revealed what the amount is, the bid proposed is based on this valuation.

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A spokesperson at Bicester Town Council said: “It was agreed that this valuation be used as the basis of an offer to Value Retail for the freehold of Oxford Road. The Council are aware that Value Retail are under no obligation to accept any offer received.”

However, Value Retail is under no obligation to accept any offer received.

Bicester Sports Association will still use the facility until it moves to its other sports ground in Chesterton in 2021, which it hopes to expand.

Its planning application has received mixed views from residents with some saying sport should remain accessible to all by staying in Bicester and others saying the move is necessary in order to improve facilities.

The application, which includes plans to build facilities such as a new clubhouse with events space, a rifle and shooting range and a cricket building, will be discussed in the New Year.

A spokesperson for Bicester Sports Association said: "The Oxford Road sports ground is owned by the Value Retail Group. BSA has a lease on the land until May 2021, purely to ensure our clubs can continue to operate as normal whilst we bring forward plans for a new multi-million pound sports hub at our main Chesterton ground.

"Any offer for the freehold of the Oxford Road site is solely a matter between Bicester Town Council and Value Retail."

Although Value Retail has not released any information on what it may do with the Oxford Road site, the town council says if Value Retail accepts the offer it would maintain the ground for sport and recreation.

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A spokesperson for Bicester Village said: “The Asset of Community Value process has been activated as a result of an internal legal process to regularise ownership of the Oxford Road land.

“The change in ownership technically constitutes a 'sale' although the land remains in the ownership of Value Retail. The Town Council is aware that the land at Oxford Road is not for sale.

“In the short term the facilities continue to be available to the BSA and their user clubs until May 2021. Value Retail remains committed to consult closely with the local community when it has longer term plans for the land.”