KIDLINGTON RESIDENTS SAY NO! TO OXFORD UNITED’S STADIUM PROPOSAL
On Wednesday 10th May Kidlington residents were given the opportunity to vote in a Parish Poll on the question: “Should Kidlington Parish Council support the building of a stadium for Oxford United Football Club in Kidlington?”
Parish Polls are different from other elections because the Polling Stations are only open for a 5-hour window, from 4pm to 9pm, and postal votes are not allowed. But despite heavy rain showers, long queues formed at polling stations as Kidlington residents waited to vote on an issue which has divided this community. With a strong turnout at nearly 30% the result was a resounding NO, meaning that almost 70% of those who voted are not in favour of Kidlington Parish Council supporting OUFC’s stadium proposal in Kidlington.
Friends of Stratfield Brake (FoSB) spokesperson and Kidlington resident, Victoria Campbell, who made the official request for the Parish Poll said “We are really pleased with the outcome of the Parish Poll and the results speak for themselves. A strong majority of Kidlington residents have rejected Oxford United’s plan to build their stadium here. This is the first time that the local community has been given a say in a residents-only vote that couldn’t be dominated by football fans from outside the local area.”
The Chair of Kidlington Parish Council, Councillor David Robey, has consistently stated that the Parish Council remains neutral on the stadium proposal and is waiting to see detailed plans. But on Radio Oxford [this morning / 11th May] Mr Robey stated that the Parish Council would have to think carefully about whether they maintain that position.
Ms Campbell said “This was an advisory poll on the principle of this major development project in the village. People don’t need to see detailed plans to know that a 16,000-capacity stadium will bring parking problems, more traffic congestion, crowds, as well as noise, air and light pollution and more loss of vital green space and biodiversity. As well as the plans being completely at odds with the recently-reviewed Local Plan for this area, Oxfordshire County Council has no mandate from the local community to offer the Triangle, one of the last remaining bits of Green Belt, to OUFC for a stadium”.
But the Friends of Stratfield Brake say, whilst they are pleased that Kidlington residents were able to take part in the Parish Poll, they remain concerned about other neighbourhoods in the area such as Gosford & Water Eaton Parish, and North Oxford, neither of which they say has been properly consulted on the proposals. Many Gosford & Water Eaton residents contacted FoSB to express their frustration at not having the opportunity to vote in the same way as Kidlington residents.
Suzanne McIvor from North Oxford, also a member of FoSB commented “We have repeatedly called on the County Council to hold a proper and secure consultation for all the communities close to the stadium, but they don’t seem to be in listening mode. We hope that this result highlights to the County Council the level of local opposition to the stadium proposal on which it is spending significant amounts of taxpayers’ money”.
BACKGROUND TO THE PARISH POLL
At Kidlington’s Annual Parish Meeting on 30th March 2023 a group of local residents, supported by the Friends of Stratfield Brake (FoSB) and led by Victoria Campbell, made use of the Local Government Act 1972 to call for a Parish Poll.
Parish polls are conducted out in accordance with the Parish and Community Meetings (Polls) Rules 1987 and are quite rare. However, once called, there is no provision for the Poll to be cancelled or revoked. Also, the Poll must ask a question to which the answer is YES or NO.
The wording of the question asked in the Parish Poll which took place on Wednesday 10th May was: Should Kidlington Parish Council support the building of a stadium for Oxford United Football Club in Kidlington?
Only residents of Kidlington Parish were eligible to vote.
The Chair of Kidlington Parish Council, David Robey wrote recently in the Kidlington News that the Council thinks it is important that as many electors as possible should know about the poll, so that the results reflect the current state of opinion in the Village as accurately as is possible in the circumstances.
For more information please visit http://www.kidlington-pc.gov.uk/Parish_Poll_44804.aspx
END, Contact details follow:
Friends of Stratfield Brake: https://www.friendsofstratfieldbrake.org
email: email@example.com or phone: 07917 739 846