A BUSINESSMAN who has found £20 million to save Oxford Stadium has vowed to 'go into the fight with a gun and win'.

Developer Nick Budimir made his pledge at a meeting of stadium campaigners on Tuesday night.

However a councillor at the event also warned that time was of the essence as the current stadium owners were 'running it down'.

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Supporters gathered at the Chequers pub in Headington to hear from those at the forefront of the Save Oxford Stadium campaign.

Mr Budimir, his financier Peter Webb, and councillors attended to answer questions from the public and urge supporters to come to the local planning inquiry on December 10 at the King’s Centre on Osney Mead.

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Earlier this month the city council released a report exploring how it could facilitate a private company bringing the stadium back into use, if planning inspectors approve the policy.

The report explained the council’s intention to act as ‘a facilitator’ to developers who want to buy the stadium from current landlord Galliards in order to reopen it as a recreation centre.

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Councillor Alex Hollingsworth told the meeting: “We’ve done the strongest possible case as the council to planning inspectors to argue that the site should be preserved for what it was built for and not be used as an opportunity for asset stripping."

A ‘crucial step’, the councillor explained, is the designation of the stadium as a heritage asset, which means that if plan goes through, the site could only be used as a venue for sports and leisure.

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"The case Galliards are going to make at the local planning inquiry is that the stadium cannot be economically brought back into use.

"They, on the other hand, have also got to be careful because inspectors aren’t stupid," Mr Hollingsworth added.

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He explained that the inspectors would know if the current owners were making a false claim that it was not financially possible for them to reopen the stadium.

The councillor said: "We all know they have stripped out the stadium. We all know they are trying to run it down and make it as uneconomic as possible.”

While many fear that Galliard want to demolish the stadium to build housing for profit, entrepreneur Nick Budimir ‘dreams’ of reopening the site for greyhound racing and speedway.

He said: "I don’t want to go into a gunfight armed with a knife.

"We are going in with a gun to take Galliard and we are going to win this battle."

Almost three years ago he brought financier Peter Webb to help raise money for the project.

The budget for reopening the stadium exceeds £20m but Mr Webb assured the public he had access to the funds required. The financier said: “We are all passionate about bringing the stadium back to you, the local people.”