(Friday 21st January 2011)
Woodlands Stand from players tunnel The leader of Wycombe District Council has claimed that a move to a new 'Community Stadium' at Booker Air Park will 'ensure the future of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club'. Councillor Lesley Clarke made the bold statement in a Council paid for three page advert wrapped around the front of the Friday 21st January 2011 edition of the Bucks Free Press. The advert goes on to make the case for the move to Booker Air Park where Clarke goes on the claim, "Through public consultation, a strong desire for a new community stadium and sports village has been expressed by local people. This provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for a sporting development that will leave a lasting legacy for the whole District." The consultation exercise drew just over 8,300 responses but only just over half claimed to be inside the Wycombe District. Of those inside the district 2,863 (34% of the total response) supported the proposal of a Community Stadium and Sports Village at Booker Air Park, while 745 of those inside the district suggested retaining Adams Park and seeking improvements.

The advert follows approval by Cabinet on Monday 17th January 2011 to proceed to the next stage of the process but also as the dissenting voices against the proposals continue to grow. Cost for the stadium and sports village have been estimated at £74.5m. The Council claim that they want to ensure 'there is no additional council tax burden as a result of the project' but fears continue to grow over the extent of the 'enabling development', impact on green belt and transport issues to a site that would require extensive work to cope with the suggested 17,500 capacity and additional facilities. With local elections due in May, local Councillors are beginning to speak out against the proposals while a member of the Task & Finish Group said it was important to understand that the recommendations were taken as a whole. Councillor Alex Collingwood said at the 17 January meeting, “If they are not accepted as a whole the Cabinet needs to be aware that going forward the commission may well call a decision in." This would mean Council officials being forced to appear before a commision where they would have to explain their actions. Such a 'Call-in' would require five members of the Improvement and Review Commission to object within five working days of the publication of the decision.

Black & WhiteLesley Clarke took those comments as a 'threat' but her claims that the scheme would 'ensure the future of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club' may also been seen as a threat and is sure to stir the growing band of Wanderers followers still looking for answers to key questions relating to the scheme. A 'Black & White' campaign was launched in November 2010, where the following questions were asked and have still to be answered:

They said they needed to know whether Wycombe Wanderers Football Club will:
  • Continue in Steve Hayes' ownership after any move to a new Community Stadium
  • Own any part of a new Community Stadium
  • Pay rent in a new Community Stadium
  • Replace income lost from tenants London Wasps
  • Still receive all income from advertising, sponsorship, hospitality, conferencing and catering in a new Community Stadium
  • Keep receipts from the sale of Adams Park and the training ground
  • Be able to repay its debts currently standing at circa £6m
  • Significantly reduce the current annual losses of circa £1m
  • Receive income from related non-footballing activities at new Community Stadium and associated Sports Village

Reports on Bucks Free Press website since Cabinet approval on 17th January 2011
See the Wycombe District Council website to download the full report and other related documents.

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