Oxfordshire County Council have released an update on OUFC's stadium proposal. The Council appear to have recognised that Stratfield Brake is not suitable. Instead they are to consider if
the stadium can be located on a nearby alternative Green Belt site which the County also own. This is 'the Triangle' of land located to the east of Frieze Way / South of Kidlington
Sainsbury's Roundabout immediately opposite to Stratfield Brake.
The council's full letter, is dated 4th December 2022. The news also been widely reported in the press and TV today.
FoSB statement in response to OUFC’s stadium update from Oxfordshire County Council yesterday:
- Stratfield Brake was never a suitable site for OUFC’s new stadium, and we are seeking formal confirmation from Oxfordshire County Council that this site is now off the table.
- We are disappointed that the ‘detailed plans’ for Stratfield Brake made available to Oxfordshire County Council have not yet been not shared with the public nor our parish councils and we are also requesting sight of these.
- In their letter to stakeholders, the County Council recognises there are ‘significant challenges’ with the Stratfield Brake site: whilst we’re not entirely clear what specific challenges they are referring to, it is deeply concerning that it has taken them 18 months to reach this conclusion, wasting a lot of time and resources in the process, as well as causing anxiety and division amongst our community.
- The County Council has stated that the new proposed site is ‘separated from Kidlington and Gosford ’ – to the extent this implies that it will not impact our local area, this is concerning, and frankly, insulting.
- Under the new proposal, we believe Stratfield Brake would remain highly vulnerable to encroachment and future development proposals emanating from OUFC’s potential occupation of the proposed Triangle site and likely future expansion requirements.
- Many of the concerns that apply to Stratfield Brake apply equally to The Triangle. Not least, this site is within the Green Belt and recently confirmed in the revised Local Plan as important in order to maintain clear defensible boundaries between Kidlington and Oxford.
- Transport concerns around traffic and parking, which residents have repeatedly raised, remain an issue with the Triangle site.
- The Triangle site includes an area of woodland, originally part of the same, ancient woodland now managed by The Woodland Trust, but bisected by Freize Way. It is listed as NERC Act S41 Habitats in the Local Plan. The current use of the site, with no general public access, means it is likely to be even more biodiverse than Stratfield Brake, and construction of a stadium here would be completely inappropriate.
- We are sceptical that the new site proposed results from any strategic assessment of potential options against appropriate criteria, and are unclear on what basis the County Council believe it is a credible option. We are concerned that the County Council are simply repeating the same mistakes again, and worse, they are instigating consideration of a site which is completely inappropriate and with little regard for due process.
- We call for a proper and meaningful public consultation to be launched as soon as possible, and repeat our calls for clarity as to whether OUFC really need to vacate their current stadium, and why Oxford City Council is not involved in discussions to find a solution which does not destroy even more Green Belt in our local area.
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