Demolition work on the former Hellenic League Witney Town Football Stadium has started just days before a decision on plans to redevelop the site.
Plans to build 257 homes, offices and a hotel at the Downs Road site are recommended for approval at next Monday’s lowlands planning committee meeting. But this week workers have been on the site flattening the stadium’s stands after it is believed police and fire service said the building posed a ‘risk of injury or death to children’.
Though plans to redevelop the site remain unapproved, a West Oxfordshire District Council report said consent had been given to demolish the building.
A spokesman for council’s planning department said: “We have been informed by the agent that they have demolished the building on fire service and police advice. “This was due to a series of break-ins and fires where they were advised that there is a risk of injury or death to children.”
An online petition against the demolition had gained more than 520 signatures, the report to council said. The authority has asked for £1.25m funding towards a new roundabout junction on Downs Road with the A40, as well as footway and crossing improvements on Downs Road and Bookend.
Both the council’s sports officers and Sports England say a new 3G football pitch should also be paid for by developers to replace the lost stadium. The report said Witney Holdings Limited, which is behind the application, had agreed to provide the £840,000 needed.
The lowlands planning committee will meet to discuss the plans on Monday at 2pm, in the council’s Wood Green offices in Witney. A spokesman for Witney Holdings Ltd said last night permission had already been granted for the demolition and that it was separate to Monday’s decision