OXFORD United have been told there is no possibility of relocating to a new stadium near Kidlington

A meeting between key officers, council leaders, the club and supporters’ trust OxVox took place last month where Adrian Colwell, head of strategic planning and the economy for Cherwell District Council, explained the site at Water Eaton was ‘not viable’.

The same is true of another possible location at Stratfield Brake, near Kidlington.

It means the long-term future of United is still up in the air with around eight years left on their current agreement at the Kassam Stadium, although the club have an option to renew this for a further 25 years.

However, with substantial rent and service charges a constant hindrance to United’s progress, chairman Darryl Eales has always maintained they will explore all possibilities of where they play home matches.

Minutes of the meeting, which also saw Cherwell chief executive Yvonne Rees, council leader Barry Wood, Oxfordshire County Council Leader Ian Hudspeth, , OxVox chairman Jeremy Faulkner and Mr Eales in attendance, were sent to OxVox members last night.

The site was first mentioned in 2014, when Mr Hudspeth revealed to the Oxford Mail he had held informal talks with United about the possibility of relocating there, but warned ‘it is on Green Belt land and there would have to be discussions with Cherwell District Council’.

Mr Eales is quoted in the minutes of last month’s meeting as saying he ‘felt the Kassam Stadium was potentially a very good home for the club, but had become frustrated he had not been able to secure a sensible deal and therefore was always open to learning of options and potential new sites that could be available for a relocation’.

But when Water Eaton and Stratfield Brake – two places that sit within the Cherwell District Council area – were mentioned as possible alternatives, Mr Colwell explained neither were options.

He said:“Green Belt, buffer zone and planning constraints meaning no development of a stadium was possible on either site."

Land near Water Eaton, just north of Oxford, has been set aside for nearly 4,000 homes in the proposed Cherwell Local Plan. While it is unclear whether the homes would be built exactly on the proposed site of a new stadium, it certainly falls within the city's Green Belt.

Mr Colwell went on to talk about historic meetings with the farmer who owned land at Water Eaton adjacent to Oxford Parkway railway station, explaining that he ‘had no interest in selling’ and that the ‘Cherwell District Council interest in this land was not for a football stadium or leisure.’

When asked by Mr Eales whether there was ever a way of developing these sites, Mr Colwell and Ms Rees said ‘it was hypothetical as neither site was possible, but that ‘if’ either were, then it would take a minimum of ten years’.

Mr Hudspeth said at the meeting ‘it was disappointing news, but that it was good to have clarity as these sites had generated media interest and they could now be discounted’.

When discussions moved on to other possible sites, Mr Colwell said: “Both West Oxfordshire District Council and most of South Oxfordshire District Council were highly unlikely to yield a suitable site.

“The only interest in SODC that might be of interest would be close to the current stadium site on Grenoble Road.”

He explained that ‘the stadium was in Oxfordshire City Council territory, but the site the other side of the road, although owned by the City Council, was in fact South Oxfordshire DC territory. But that the land on the other side was earmarked for housing.’

Other potential areas that could be large enough to include opportunities for additional commercial development were discussed, including Bicester.

Mr Hudspeth and Mr Colwell were approached for comment but both declined.