From the Bucks Free Press - Stadium Review Announced

Stadium Review announced for July

THE controversial community stadium will be reviewed by the new look Cabinet at Wycombe District Council, it was revealed this afternoon.

The top team of councillors assembled by new Leader Cllr Alex Collingwood will consider the different options for the project a public meeting on July 18.

Wycombe Air Park, Booker, Great Marlow, would be the site for a new 17,500 – 20,000 seat capacity ground for Wycombe Wanderers and Wasps if the proposals were eventually to be approved.

The strategic outline business case, which will examine the potential for WDC’s continued involvement with the project, is on the agenda.

WDC has pledged £750,000 investigating the scheme, with nearly £500,000 having already been spent.

Recommendations about how WDC could protect itself against the risks associated with being involved, will also be examined by Cabinet.

The collaboration agreement with Wycombe Sports Development Limited – a specialist team working on behalf of the clubs – will also be discussed.

These items were previously due to be discussed by Cabinet in June.

Prior to the May elections Cllr Collingwood was heavily involved in scrutinising the plans. A committee he headed up was highly critical in its findings, particularly over the lack of a case to build on Green Belt land.

He said: “My Cabinet colleagues and I are committed to setting the council’s priorities inline with those of the local community and to listen and respond to any issues that are raised by local people as we progress any major changes or improvements to services.

“As part of this review of our priorities, we think that it is appropriate to consider the council’s future role in the Wycombe Community Stadium and Sports Project, including reflecting on the views expressed already on this important issue.”

Deferring the matter from the June meeting gives the Cabinet “the time, attention to detail and discussion that it deserves”, he added.

Earlier this week, Gary Nuttall. Chairman of action group GASP, urged the “new blood” at WDC to reconsider the plans.

“The original proposal was based on an incomplete and flawed assessment of the community’s needs and evidently didn’t give ratepayers the basic information on which they could form valid opinions,” he said.

“This was further compounded by the previous council’s communications which were littered with “shoulds” and “coulds” that further added to the uncertainty as to exactly what the benefit, if any, to the community would be.”

He added: “GASP implores the new Council members to call time out and put in place safeguards to prevent any further wasted expenditure.”

The meeting agenda be available publicly on July 7.

Matt Clarke