Agenda item

Agenda item

No Greyhound Racing in Oxford (proposed by Cllr Wade, seconded by Cllr Fouweather)

Liberal Democrat Group member motion

Council notes:

The reopening of the stadium in Sandy Lane is a welcome addition to the leisure activities available to Oxford people.

The stadium has had a chequered history since the mid-1970s and decreasing interest in greyhound racing directly contributed to its decline. 

In 2005 Risk Capital Partners with Galliard Homes purchased the failing stadium. Plans for 150 houses and 75 flats were mooted but the Council’s statement in favour of keeping the land for leisure use stalled the development, and greyhound racing and speedway continued until 2012 when the Greyhound Racing Association closed the stadium down.

After a decade of disuse, Mr Boothby ‘stadium director’ announced[1] he had bought the lease and planned to bring back greyhound racing.

This is a concern for the following reasons:

·         The number of injuries caused to dogs on the racetrack (In 2019, the last full year of racing, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain recorded 4,970 injuries on registered tracks, in 2020: 3,575). Their welfare is poorly regulated on and off the track[2]. Often these dogs cannot race again and rehoming is far from guaranteed. The Government has failed to back up the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regs 2010 with stronger legislation[3].

  • The 2014 Appraisal which led to the Oxford Stadium being listed as a Conservation Area refers to the stadium’s heritage significance – the ‘physical evidence that represents the collective memory of those working communities and their leisure pursuits.’ But these communities have moved on since the 1930s when the stadium was built and, while it should remain as evidence of an earlier era, people should be consulted about the future of this valuable space. British Cycling has informally suggested it would work as a velodrome combined with a BMX track and ancillary activities. Peckham BMX has revolutionised a Southwark neighbourhood[4]
  • Inevitably greyhound-racing is focused on gambling. There has been considerable research about the effect of gambling on individuals and communities, recently by Dr N. Muggleton (Brasenose College): “gambling is associated with addiction and harmful outcomes for others.”[5]
  • The Local Plan designates the site for leisure purposes with the implication that in these times the activities provided will facilitate active participation.
  • Galliard Homes bills itself as ‘the capital’s largest privately-owned residential property developer.’ If the greyhound-racing venture fails, the way will be open for Galliard to revive its estate development plan, which will be difficult for city planners to contest.


This Council calls on the Leader to:

·         Issue a press release publicly opposing the return of greyhound racing to Oxford.

·         Write to the UK Government calling for the introduction of legislation incorporating the recommendations of the 2016 Greyhound Welfare EFRA Report.

This Council resolves to:

·         Support consultation with Oxford residents on their preferred options for leisure activities at the stadium as a part of the Local Plan Review and the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Reg 19 consultation[6]



Cllr Wade advised Council that this motion is withdrawn from this meeting.