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New development affecting Barton United and Headington

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The development west of the Barton estate will include 885 homes, a new primary school and a new ground for the football club, which is home to more than 10 senior and junior teams.

During construction, from April 2016 to September 2017, the club will need to be based somewhere else and so far, discussions with Oxford City Council over an alternative have not resulted in an outcome.

Barton United chairman Mick Beesley said arrangements for the the club to find a new ground are yet to be finalised despite starting their last season at the recreation ground in Barton Village Road. He also said that there could be financial difficulties in the long term if Headington Amateurs decided to not return to the recreation ground once the new facilities are built as part of the development. Mr Beesley added: “It’s a difficult time and difficult decisions will have to be made. There are issues with transport to games as well. There are a couple of options such as Sandy Lane in Blackbird Leys, and Bayard’s Hill School but they may not have the facilities. It’s something that we have to do and we are hoping the new pitch will be worthwhile in the end.”

Barton councillor Mike Rowley said he met with the club a few weeks ago to discuss the situation. He added: “Of the possible alternatives, Barton United agreed that their first preference would be Bayard’s Hill School at the top of Barton, and their second preference Sandy Lane sports ground in Blackbird Leys, which has a pavilion they can use.

Our officers have had some trouble getting any reply from the school. If the club have to go to Sandy Lane we will meet the transport and administrative costs. One of our teams, Headington Amateurs, require certain facilities, like a stand, if they want stay at the league they are in, which gives them a hard decision to make. “

“Headington Amateurs have a bigger problem, which is the increasing demands of Oxfordshire FA on the standard of ground they require for the level amateurs play at, including covered seating for 100 people, for example.

Unfortunately there is no prospect of either the council or amateurs being able to raise the funds. Even without the Barton development, Amateurs were facing the choice of moving to another ground or going down a level. We’re looking at options for them including Court Place Farm.”

Headington Amateurs chairman Donald Light said that the club had been told the new ground would not be enclosed and therefore not meet the requirement of the Hellenic League. He said: "We are looking for a ground share for next season and there talks on going at the moment."

Source: www.hellenicleague.co.uk

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