The Friends of Stansfeld was formed in June 2015 to represent the community in the sale of the Stansfeld Outdoor Centre.
Stansfeld Outdoor Centre is an area of approximately 18 acres just off Quarry Road in Headington Quarry, Oxford, owned by Birmingham City Council since1930s. Until the Centre was closed in the summer of 2014, parties of schoolchildren from Birmingham came to Stansfeld for residential outdoors courses, and the site was also used by local children from Headington and Wood Farm schools as a “forest school”, and by local Guide and Scout organisations.
Following the announcement that Birmingham City Council intended to sell the site, in 2014 a group within Friends of Quarry was set up to try and ensure that part of the site continues to be available to local schoolchildren and that the woodland area remains in its natural form. The group successfully lobbied Oxford City Council to register the site as an “Asset of Community Value”. As a result, a six month moratorium on the sale was triggered by the Risinghurst and Sandhills Parish Council, intended to give local community groups time to put together a bid.
Birmingham Council has indicated that it intends to ensure that the woodland area of the site continues to be used as woodland. It suggested that developers might form a consortium or joint venture with a third party to work towards the continued use of the woodland area.
The Friends of Stansfeld was formed as a stronger, wider, more formal group to take over from the Friends of Quarry and deal with Birmingham City Council, work with bidders, and represent the community’s interest in the site. The Friends are working to the following aim: that the woodland area is protected in perpetuity (and opened up to the public if possible) and that the site provides educational facilities, especially a forest school.