(Tuesday 9th May 2000)
Hillbottom Road End - plans to double in size - picture Chairboys on the NetWycombe District Council are due to sit this week to give a verdict on the planning application to double the capacity of the Hillbottom Road End at Adams Park.
The plans have been met with a mixed response by local councillors, with at least one claiming that the proposals are "inappropriate development in the Green Belt". The Sands Residents Association are also heavily against the plans that were submitted by the Club in January. They have expressed concern at the disruption in the Sands area when crowds have approached the current capacity, stating "There has been little to alleviate this except the current situation of rather poor football performance" The Association also criticised the attitude of the Football Club, adding in the planning report "The Club have no concern for the effect they have on others and deal negatively with complaints about parking and behaviour of fans." The Association also questioned the need for the extension adding "with recent press reports of lack of support how can this justified".
The plans have, however, been given support from The Thames Valley Police and Sport England who see a major improvement in ground safety as a result of containing all away fans in one area. The Football Club backed this up with a Press Release, issued shortly after the application, that said "The extension to the Roger Vere Stand will enable away supporters to be safely accommodated in one area which will make stewarding and policing easier while at the same time improving the matchday atmosphere of the stadium and the aspect for all away supporters."
The Club also want to maximum revenue from away fans. Ironically, since converting the 2,000 capacity terrace to seats in the summer of 1996 the Club have lost potential revenue when games have been made all-ticket for away fans. In the press release issued in January the Club said "This improvement also makes sound economic sense, as this proposal to increase the away capacity by 977 seats would generate much needed revenue for the Club on every occasion during any future season when the away support exceeds its current limit."
Although the capacity of the away end will double to just over 2,000, the total capacity of Adams Park will be maintained at 10,000 by adjusting standing capacities in front of the Old Main Stand and at The Valley End Terrace. The proposed changes to the Hillbottom Road End Stand will see the roof removed and a further eight rows of seats added by extending the existing structure backwards. A series of metal uprights will support the structure, allowing room for car parking, including disabled parking areas under the new seats. A scoreboard has been provisionally added to the front of the new roof which will stand just over 10m high.
With the application being driven by the need to accommodate visiting supporters in a single safe area, the Director of Planning Transport and Development is recommending to the Planning Applications Panel that the proposal is acceptable subject to carrying out of Departure Procedures and the completion of Planning Obligation to ensure that there is no increase in the overall capacity of the ground and that all away supporters are accommodated in the extended stand. Read news of the verdict...

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