OCC’s Consultation Results: a rich picture or a poor show?

The results of Oxfordshire County Council’s Consultation which ran over the summer, have just been released. We were surprised to see that there were just 5,441 responses in total. That's just 0.5% of Oxfordshire's population, and that includes everyone who is both for and against the stadium. Considering OUFC orchestrated a campaign to mobilise the fanbase of every professional football club across the UK to respond, the comparatively low number of responses is remarkable!  The Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council, Martin Reeves, has praised the Council's latest survey effort as providing a “rich picture” of data which enables the Council to really understand local views. We disagree. Once again, the County Council has presided over a shambolic process open to fraudulent and non-authentic responses. 

Mr Reeves and the rest of the County Council really ought to know what us locals think: around 3,000 residents voted in the Kidlington Parish Poll in just a 5-hour voting window, and almost 70% said NO to a stadium. And that figure doesn’t include residents from neighbouring parish Gosford & Water Eaton, nor North Oxford and surrounding local areas. The County Council’s consultation does at least confirm the Parish Poll’s result by showing that those within a 2 mile radius of the stadium do not believe the priorities have been met. 

The conclusion of the Officers who wrote the County Council report is that all 7 priorities have been "mostly addressed" (item 39 in the report). By our logic, therefore, that means that at this stage, OUFC have NOT fully met any of the 7 priorities and the reasonable course of action at the cabinet meeting scheduled for 19th September 2023, would be for OCC to take the decision not to proceed with negotiations or disposals of our Green Belt until OUFC have "fully addressed" all 7 priorities.   

Data and survey results aside, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that these 7 strategic priorities were developed (and then rehashed) by the County Council themselves. Who says these are the most important factors to guide disposals of Green Belt land? Yet, the Officers who wrote the report don’t appear to have any objective analysis or logic here anyway – the report just seems to trot out the same rhetoric we’ve already seen from OUFC. More worrying is the information that OUFC and Oxfordshire County Council STILL haven’t provided i.e. why did OUFC lose their renewal right and negotiate a short licence expiring in 2026, and what will happen to the Kassam Stadium if OUFC leave? Our legal advice suggests the consultation was unlawful by failing to address these fundamental points.  

The way this process has (and is) being handled by our County Council is totally unacceptable.  We know that OUFC has once again mobilised its fanbase to write directly to Councillors to lobby them to support the proposal. We must do the same. Depending on the next steps taken by OCC and OUFC, we may need to proceed with challenging it via a legal route but we still hope that common sense and democracy will prevail – please help us in reinforcing this message.

Please take a few minutes to write directly to your local Councillors and the County Council’s Cabinet BEFORE 19 September. Let’s hold them to account and urge them directly not to let this proposal proceed given so many obvious flaws. Both logic and the strength of local opinion against this environmentally-destructive plan are on our side. A list of email addresses to send your message to is here.


More information

The consultation results report can be viewed here (item 22 onwards).

BBC News article: "Oxford residents close to new stadium not biggest fans"

FoSB were on BBC Radio Oxford on 6th September talking about Oxfordshire County Council's consultation results: listen here (1:18:30)