OXFORD City Stars' bid to become one of the top ice hockey teams in Britain is being thwarted by a lack of support from the city council, club bosses have said.

Paul Lynch, Russell Shrives and James Schall took control of the team, based at the Oxford Ice Rink in Oxpens Road, in April but said they have since been unable to tackle issues that threaten to cripple attendances and turn top players off moving to the club.

Director Mr Schall said Oxford City Council had refused to budge on the Stars' requests to cut 'obscene' prices at the nearby Oxpens car park from £12 – higher than a £10 match ticket – to £3 on Sunday match nights.

He also said requirements imposed by council officers had prevented the club creating an equipment storage area at Oxford Ice Rink.

Mr Schall said the National Ice Hockey League South Division 1 club had the potential to take the step up to the English Premier Ice Hockey League (EPIHL) – the second-highest professional division in the country but would need to more than double their turnover.

He said: "That is the dream, we are already beating the attendances of some Elite League [top division] clubs, such as Edinburgh and we would be high in the EPIHL as well.

"Before the First World War Oxford had ice hockey sides that were European and World champions and we were in the second tier in the 1980s, so it would be nice to get back.

"These are our ambitions but we need the support to reach those ambitions.

"We are working very hard and we would not want to worry fans about the future.

"But it means our goals of playing at the highest level cannot be achieved."

The club has played at Oxford Ice Rink for 31 years but car parking is restricted in the area.

About 80 spaces are available for £5 each in the City of Oxford College car park across the road but once these are full – with some used by players – fans have to pay about £12 to park in Oxpens for the duration of a game.

Mr Schall said the club had agreed a deal with the city council for a 25 per cent reduction in prices for fans in return for the authority taking a cut from ticket sales.

But he claimed no parking reduction had materialised despite the season now being seven games in.

He added that the club, along with ice rink staff and Fusion Leisure – which manages the rink – had identified an area that could be used to store equipment.

But he claimed a council officer refused to sign the work off without a £3,500 fan being installed in the area.

He said: "We are not after any handouts, we just want to be able to thrive.

"Storage would allow us to keep the calibre of players we need, these guys are representing the city.

"The meetings that took place prior to the local elections in May 2016 were positive.

"In the following months however, bureaucratic failure to grasp the situation from the council was in stark contrast to the positive and mutually beneficial relationship we had forged with the ice rink management."

Mr Schall estimates the council makes at least £14.50 from each fan at each match, based on £10 parking, a £1.50 ticket surcharge and ice rink rental, which works out at £3 per person.

The city council did not answer specific questions from the Oxford Mail relating to parking prices, storage space or safety nets.

Council board member for leisure, parks and sport Linda Smith said: "Oxford City Stars are rightly very ambitious for their club and sport.

"We are keen to support them as we do the many other sports clubs across the city.

"The club have raised a number of issues with us and we have reached a satisfactory conclusion on many.

"Others we are working on and have put proposals to the club.

"Obviously there is a limit to the steps that we can reasonably take to support an individual club but our door is always open and we welcome new ideas about how we can work with sports clubs to maximise participation.

"We are very willing to discuss the club’s current concerns with them."