(Friday 7th January 2011)
Woodlands Stand from players tunnel Wycombe District Council released a press release on Friday 7th January 2011 relating to the proposals to build a new 'Community Stadium' for the use of Wycombe Wanderers and London Wasps. As expected, the statement says a report will recommend to the Council Cabinet at a meeting on 17th January 2001 that Booker Air Booker is the preferred site.

COTN reproduces the press release in full below.

Wycombe District Council will be considering the next stage for a new Community Stadium at Wycombe Air Park, following the results of a Public Consultation. Today (7 January 2011). A report, which will be made available to the public on the council's website, will recommend to the Cabinet, who are meeting on 17 January, that plans for a new Community Stadium at the Air Park site, should proceed to the next stage. The Cabinet meeting will then resolve to the next stage whether the new Community Stadium Project should move forward.

The Cabinet report recommends that, following an extensive public consultation, Wycombe Air Park is the site with the "best potential" for the development. It also recommends that it should include community sports facilities alongside the new Stadium, potentially a "Sports Village". This also follows the results of the consultation which showed that the public responses favoured this option.

The recommendation has been reached following considerable technical analysis by the Council's Planning Team and a careful analysis of neary 8,400 written responses to the public consultation. The responses indicated strong support for a "Sports Village", featUring a new Community Stadium and extensive sporting facilities at Wycombe Air Park.

The report is also informed by independently convened focus groups, across the District, which also pointed to a new Community Stadium with a Sports Village at Booker.

The Cabinet report only looks at planning issues, examining the basic merits of the project and which potential sites offered the best potential. No decision to proceed with the project beyond the planning stage has yet been taken and the issue of Wycombe District Council's potential involvement as a partner in any Stadium proiect will be considered quite separately.

The report recognises the public consultation identified concerns around the project. However, It recommends that the new Community Stadium project is worth proceeding to the next stage because of the potentially wide and long term economic and social benefits which a Stadium and Sports Village could offer the District.

"Throughout the consultation process, the Council maintained a neutral stance on this project. We asked local people for their views on options end if they wanted a Community Stadium and Sports Village," said Councillor Lesley Clarke, Leader of Wycombe District Council.

"The consultation showed that the majority of people Who took part thought that a new Sports Village and Community Stadium Project should be located at Wycombe Air park at Booker, a location which could allow for a project comparable to any other facility In the region. The report identifies that the new Community Stadium Project is about much more that just a new stadium for Wycombe Wanderers and Wasps. The 'big picture" which has been revealed shows that the project could give the local economy a significant boost, raise the profile of the district and encourage wider participation in sports," said Lesley Clarke. Leader of Wycombe District Council.

She added, "We are taking seriously issues raised about infrastructure and the environment and they will be looked at very carefully at every stage of the planning process. The Cabinet report summaries the many concerns which some people have about the project, including those who may be impacted upon if the project went ahead at Wycombe Air Park. In recognition of this, the report points out that work remains to be done around Issues about local transport, the environment, the Green Belt and with users at the Air Park. It also highlights that there should be more public consultation prior to any planning application."

What happens now?
Plans to proceed with the new Stadium Project will be discussed by Wycombe District Council on Monday 17 January. This would pave the way to begin preparations for a planning application for the development at Booker and kick-start the proiect.

If a developer decides to proceed with the project, they will be expected to carry out a consultation of their own, canvassing local opinion before they submit an official planning application.

"The main reason why the Council has decided to respond to the results of a public consultation is that this is an issue of importance to the District as a whole and the council wants to see this project expedited and the public kept informed in a timely manner," said Councillor Tony Green, Deputy Leader of Wycombe District Council.

A Cabinet Meeting of Wycombe District Council is due to take place on Monday 17 January at the Council Offices in Wycombe.

See the Wycombe District Council website to download the full 146 page report and other related documents.

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