PLANS to install a new 3G pitch at Oxford City’s Marsh Lane home have been put back 12 months after delays meant it wouldn’t be finished in time for next season.
The National League South outfit were given planning permission by Oxford City Council in February but drainage problems have caused the project to move slowly.
Justin Merritt’s side finished 12th last season and were hoping to kick off the new 2016-17 campaign on the 3G surface.
However, that won’t be happening after the club confirmed this week that delays meant they would not be able to meet the National League’s inspection deadline of mid-July.
Despite the setback, City are confident everything will be sorted for next summer “to install a new top quality 3G standard pitch in time for season 2017-18”.
A club statement read: “It is well known to City supporters that there are complications with the Marsh Lane site regarding the high water-table and the risk of flooding.
“Resolving this issue has always been uppermost in our minds and has added complexity to the design of the new 3G pitch to be located within the stadium.
“Recent confirmation of compliance to a condition of the planning permission regarding calculations on the rate of surface water drainage has highlighted a further opportunity to increase the certainty of the flood solution.
“However, the construction change required to improve further the amount of water retained within the new 3G pitch structure, and its rate of outfall, would add another week to the schedule and we have unfortunately simply run out of time to complete the conversion this summer.
“The National League rules require the new pitch to pass inspection by mid-July, even though our season will not start until August 6, so the window of opportunity for construction was always going to be very tight.”