Committee Meeting Minutes – Wednesday 6 April 2022 @ 6.30pm
Present: Paul Peros (PP), Simon Hathaway (SH), Trevor Lambert (TL), Ian Coleman (IC), Michelle Young (MY), Jemma Hayward (JH), Ben Heath (BH).
Apologies: Maurice Earp (ME), Ali Wolfe (AW).
Minutes of last meeting (10 November 2021)
Minutes accepted. A successful AGM had been held on 26 November and the 10 November meeting had been mainly concerned with AGM planning. We have held informal meetings, discussion and activity since then mainly covering Stratfield Brake, the petition and County Council consultation, and preparation for the March 15 Council meeting which voted positively to continue the discussions with stakeholders, councils and OUFC.
East Stand décor project is held over pending further discussions, AW being the main contact.
We understand from Andy Wilmer that his armed forces supporters group is not active for the present, but if it is reactivated we will offer help and support as previously.
The County Council cabinet decision on March 15 to proceed to further consultation was a hugely significant first step on a long road to approval and construction of the new stadium.
PP spoke at the meeting and reported on his recent discussions with the club and local stakeholders and politicians. Extensive design work was underway to develop all aspects of the project proposal and specifically to ensure the plan protected the interests of local residents and that the impact on biodiversity was positive. Every effort was being made to produce a solution which met the needs of the local community, the people of Oxfordshire and the football club.
Our discussion centred on one issue: the need for a detailed travel plan for supporters which would virtually eliminate onsite parking on match days, except for essential users including disabled supporters, and hence minimise community impact while providing attractive and easy travel options for both home and away fans. IC tabled illustrations of the SB site showing a stadium footprint juxtaposed on the site, enabling discussion of some of the constraints.
Ongoing work over the next few months should result in a presentation to be trialled internally with OxVox, OUSP, and the Yellow Army, to ensure supporter consultation. In the short term, next month’s local elections are uppermost in our minds. OxVox had considered carefully, and decided not to stand single issue candidates in support of Stratfield Brake: instead we will lobby support among candidates of whatever party, and publicise any endorsements which candidates may authorise for public release.
MY reported good levels of local support for the SB stadium. We shared JH’s view that a detailed explanation of the plans and what the project will offer the local community will sway many opinions in favour across the political spectrum.
We discussed changes of board level OUFC shareholdings and EFL approval. It is our understanding that both have been completed in principle, if not formally signed off, and may be announced at the end of the season.
Supporter of the Year 2021 – presentation arrangements
We hope to hold the long-delayed SOTY presentation before the end of the season and PP will be confirming dates with the club and we will contact the candidates and winner to confirm their availability shortly. We will then move on to the process for the 2022 award.
BH agreed to represent OxVox at the next Supporters Panel meeting on April 13. The process of rotating our attendees at the panel meetings was working well.
Trust membership and finances
Finances remained healthy with £13,342 in our accounts, reported TL. Membership stood at 959. A membership drive would be discussed outside the meeting.
Joey Beauchamp tributes and plans
AW had organised and OxVox had funded a wreath laid by PP behind the East Stand goal on behalf of fans, and a second one at the funeral in the form of an ‘11’ shirt in yellow and blue. We will continue to promote the trust fund for Joey’ family and to assist with future events which may include a cash match day collection and a high profile benefit match in pre-season.
Issue 3 is in preparation, reported SH. Discussion of articles outside the meeting.
Any other business
We agreed to work towards our next AGM early in the new season, to get us back ‘on track’ with a regular schedule. Invitations to stand for the committee, drawing up of accounts, and other preparations will be undertaken over the close season. A speaker from the club will be prioritised. Action by PP, TL and others as required.
We continue to encourage the club to hold fans’ forums with board level representation, as required twice a season under EFL guidelines, though we recognise the difficulties in doing so during the pandemic.
3. Cherwell Larder
PP will re-establish contact to establish their needs and whether we could renew OxVox involvement with this valuable community activity.
Date of next meeting
To be agreed.
The meeting closed at 8.30 pm.