18th May 2023
FoSB spokesperson, Victoria Campbell made the following statement to Kidlington Parish Council following the Parish Poll result.
I’m speaking to you on behalf of Friends of Stratfield Brake (FoSB). We believe the parish council’s should reconsider its neutral position regarding the stadium proposal on the Triangle site.
3,074 individuals (from across the County and beyond) responded to Oxfordshire County Council’s public engagement exercise in 2022. Of the 818 local residents who responded, almost 60% were against discussions taking place.
Layla Moran confirmed that her survey also showed a clear majority were opposed.
Last Wednesday, 3,006 individuals from this parish responded to the Parish Poll and 2,073 told this council not to support the building of a stadium in Kidlington. As you will know, a turnout of 30% in the Parish Poll compares favourably to local election turnouts despite the short voting window and lack of postal voting. Many told us they wanted to vote but couldn’t due to work, family and other commitments.
As you may also know, 1,000 is widely held to be a robust sample size in national opinion polls.
The results should leave this Council in no doubt as to opinion on this subject.
Should the council wait for detailed plans before taking a position? We would ask why.
Oxfordshire County Council did not wait for detailed plans – they pressed on with initiating formal discussions for land disposal in this parish based on a highly questionable public engagement exercise taking account of views from outside the County and ignoring local opinion.
Please do not ignore parishioners here – your role is to represent them.
Public opinion aside, there are compelling reasons other than the results of the parish poll which must be considered. Here are a handful; there are others:
- In 2019, this council challenged ‘Oxford’s Unmet Housing Need’ due to inappropriate development of the Green Belt. Why is this different?
- The resulting Local Plan review in 2019, confirmed both Stratfield Brake and the Triangle should remain as Green Belt. Does this Council believe it has the authority to support a proposal
which contravenes that?
- Waiting for detailed plans to assess ‘potential benefits’ must be balanced with the inevitable negative impacts. Why should the former take precedence over the latter and justify no position
at all being taken? Many of these purported benefits should be provided by our local councils, and could be covered by grant funding anyway.
- What is this parish council’s justification for opposing the Botley Solar Farm? Some of the reasons this Council has cited against supporting that development project apply equally to the
construction of a large stadium in the Green Belt. To quote a couple from the position statement on your website:
- The Council has adopted a climate emergency statement’;
- ‘By 2050 the area around Oxford will be heavily developed largely in existing green belt.’
- Once detailed plans are received, this proposal will progress straight to planning with just 6 weeks to consult. The time to influence thinking on this is now.
- The Triangle has developed into a more biodiverse site than previously now it is managed as a sustainable willow coppice. We are informed that protected bird species have been seen nesting there. Hardly suprising given its adjacency to the Stratfield Brake Nature Reserve where around 96 species of birds have been sighted. Has this council seen any ecological survey or evidence to suggest that development here wouldn’t cause environmental harm?
- Has this council received information by now to satisfy of certain basic fundamental questions: for example, that the Club has been served with a notice of termination from its licensor that
is beyond legal challenge; that Oxford City Council cannot compulsorily purchase the site; and that there are no suitable alternative sites at all in Oxfordshire?
Our questions are therefore:
Will this Council reconsider its position of neutrality on the building of a stadium in Kidlington in light of the recent Parish Poll?
Will this Council demand from the County Council and/or Oxford United provide credible information about the alternative options being explored to avoid residents in this parish feeling unacceptably pressured by statements that the Club will fold if it can’t have the Triangle site?