The Friends of Stratfield Brake formed in May 2022 to oppose Oxfordshire County Council's (OCC's) proposal to allow Oxford United Football Club (OUFC) to build an 18,000+ stadium and associated commercial development on Stratfield Brake and/or the Triangle. Since that time, we have focused on promoting awareness of the proposal locally, and challenging the process as it unfolds to ensure that local concerns are heard.
FoSB has two official spokespersons in Suzanne McIvor and Victoria Campbell.
Victoria is a Kidlington resident. She grew up in the village and attended Gosford Hill School. She is a former PTA Chair of West Kidlington Primary School and previously a leader for Kidlington Scout Group.
Suzanne lives in North Oxford, near to the golf club . She is the Chair of the Cherwell Development Watch Alliance and works with other groups for the benefit of the local community. Both Suzanne and Victoria are passionate about preserving local green spaces for future generations.
FoSB is run by a small group of committee members. Apart from Suzanne, all are Kidlington residents.
FoSB is proud of our team and our achievements in voicing the community opposition to the stadium.
Supporters can sign up as ‘Friends’ via our online form. They receive information and calls for action via email. Since forming just over a year ago, we have 100s of people on our mailing list.
FoSB asks supporters to provide their address details since we think it is important to assure ourselves (and others) that we truly represent local residents.
As you can see, our supporters are overwhelmingly from Kidlington but residents in North Oxford and other areas impacted by the stadium need a voice too!
Notably, the County Council recognises a stadium in Kidlington would impact N Oxford, Wolvercote and the surrounding villages.
FoSB is a new group formed by individuals driven to act against the direct threat to publicly owned land. However, they rapidly formed links with a well-established network of community action groups. This allowed FoSB to hit the ground running and start campaigning very effectively as soon as the stadium proposal became public knowledge.
You may recall that residents recently fought a long, hard battle to try and prevent Cherwell taking land out of the Green Belt North of Oxford. At the end of the day, we were promised that the newly revised Green Belt boundaries would endure. The unexpected news that OCC were considering allowing a football stadium and associated commercial development on the remaining Green Belt simply could not be taken lying down. It is inconceivable that the County Council did not expect strong local opposition to placing a stadium in proximity to land recently allocated for 2,200 houses of the 4,400 to be built in total in this area.
FoSB is a not-for-profit group formed for a single purpose - to Stop the Stadium. We firmly believe that doing this is in the public benefit. We considered whether it was necessary or appropriate to register with the Charity Commission. However, to be accepted as a charity ALL of an organisation’s aims must meet the definition of ‘charitable’. Charities can take part in political activity, but campaigning must not be the reason for the charity’s existence. Since FoSB’s primary aim is to influence political decision makers, it is highly unlikely we would qualify.
We met the initial costs of printing leaflets and arranging delivery personally, but it quickly became clear that FoSB needed a fighting fund to mount a long and potentially costly campaign. So in November 2022, FoSB launched a crowdfunder on the GoFundMe platform. This is a typical fundraising model for project specific ‘not for profit’ groups such as ours.
We are delighted that people have connected with our cause and want to support it financially. All we can give our donors is heartfelt thanks for their support. To date, FoSB has raised a little over £3000 from online and direct donations. We've met our initial stretch target but the crowdfunder remains open for people who want to donate.
We promise that FoSB will only ever ask for money when it is absolutely necessary.
Once we've won this campaign, any surplus will go to a suitable local charity or cause.
All donations are used to campaign. Members give their time freely (and they give A LOT of time). All money is managed via a dedicated bank account and every penny is strictly accounted for. All expenses have to be approved by at least two people (with most discussed and agreed in Committee).
We hope donors take pride in FoSB's achievements so far and agree that we are putting the money to good use:
Please do not believe the desperate, false accusations being bandied about by some OUFC supporters.
Our finances are correct and above board.
Regrettably, it’s because a minority of OUFC's fans have forced us to take this position. They quickly crossed the boundaries of reasonable, respectful campaigning. Bullying, aggression, derogatory comments, and confrontational messages are not acceptable. Please note that following unacceptable messages and material created/sent on behalf of OUFC supporters, the police have advised us to block individuals from our social media pages where necessary. We are not obliged to publish membership lists and we have no intention of breaching confidentiality.
OUFC wants to be seen as a community friendly, socially responsible organisation.
Yet it's repeated requests to their fans for tolerance and to respect the opposition fall on deaf ears.
Attempts to shut FoSB down DO NOT help the club build local trust or support
by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
by post: FoSB Unit 116132, PO Box 7169, Poole, BH15 9EL
[We use a PO box to protect members privacy from potential abuse from a minority of OUFC supporters]