Could I please respond to a previous letter sent to the Oxford Mail by Mr Barry Gibbs about Oxford United's stadium move?
1. The Triangle is not just a wasteland. It is a well-managed sustainable business, on a site rich in biodiversity. This open space will become ever more valuable as over 2,000 dwellings will soon be built in the immediate vicinity.
2. Mr Gibbs states that the Triangle is Oxfordshire County Council’s preferred site for a stadium. But why does our County Council think it is appropriate to propose that 5 hectares of publicly owned land be disposed of (ie leased or sold) to a privately owned company - which is what the club is. And where is the County’s mandate for this proposal?
3. The “world beating” facilities that Mr Gibbs mentions would be in Kidlington, not Oxford, and the promised facilities have yet to be revealed. But it’s going to be a squeeze to get even a stadium on the Triangle so scepticism about the long-term validity of such promises is justified.
4. It is not correct to say that the Chair of Kidlington Parish Council, David Robey, commenced a Parish Poll before the meeting. The Parish Poll was called for during the meeting by 10 Kidlington residents. Once this was done, Mr Robey, as Chair, was required by law to progress it.
5. Mr Gibbs is also incorrect when he writes about the votes for/against the poll. The voting was not on the Poll itself, but in respect of the wording of the question.
It is notable that only Kidlington residents were allowed to vote. The vote was taken on trust but this was abused by some of those present at the meeting.
6. Yes, there is a cost associated with the Poll. But, as stated at the meeting, this was no more than the cost that the Parish had to incur when some OUFC fans contested seats on the Parish Council for a very short period of time.
Oxfordshire County Council should have held a secure local consultation on the Stadium proposal. Instead, they facilitated an engagement exercise which was predictably dominated by football fans from across Oxfordshire and beyond. That is why people in Kidlington called for a Parish Poll.
Published 22Apr2023 as "Oxford woman hits back over views on 'world-beating' U's stadium" see https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/23470878.oxford-woman-hits-back-views-world-beating-us-stadium/