A COUNCIL has defended its decision to reject permission for a top new county sports ground.

Plans to create the 'pre-eminent grassroots sporting centre' in the village of Chesterton, near Bicester were put forward by Bicester Sports Association (BSA)to Cherwell District Council.

Getting permission for the plans was especially important because the BSA has already sold its current ground on Oxford Road in Bicester, to Bicester Village owner Value Retail.

But the planning committee concluded the location of the site was inaccessible and would have ‘adverse visual effects’ partly due to an increase in floodlighting.

A spokesperson from the council said: “The site has no access via public transport and poor walking and cycling routes which would not reduce the need to travel by car, making it an inappropriate location for such facilities.

"This is in line with a similar decision made in relation to the proposed Great Wolf development planned for Akeman Street, which was also rejected partly due to the accessibility of the location. The committee also considered the development would be out of character for the rural area.

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"Cherwell District Council is aware that clubs are being asked to vacate the Oxford Road sports ground by spring 2021 and the council’s communities and healthy place shaping teams are engaged with them to help find a suitable alternative.”

BSA said they were 'extremely disappointed' with the 'hammer blow' decision and is still considering whether to appeal.