(Thursday 11th March 2010)
Adams ParkWycombe District Council have wasted no time in setting the wheels in motion on the creation of their proposed and inreasingly controversial 'Community Stadium', by advertising for the role 'Stadium Planning Project Officer' via its own job recruitment pages (jobs.wycombe.gov.uk).

The role, quoted with a salary range of of £38,655 to £44,378 per annum, gives an overview of job purpose of, "To contribute at a senior professional level to the development of sound planning policy for the delivery of a new stadium, including the coordination of consultants and evidence gathering, and adherence to both the defined timetable and to local and statutory procedures." The appointed Planning Officer will be tasked with delivering the Core Strategy Alteration which WDC have set aside £500,000 in their major projects allocations. Partnership working is also stated as including liasing with Bucks County Council, Wycombe Sports Development, London Wasps, Wycombe Wanderers plus local residents and organisations.

The news precedes a promised press statement from Wanderers and Wasps owner Steve Hayes with regards to the proposals. Responding to what he described as a 'straw poll' by the Liberal Democrats, Hayes was quoted in the Bucks Free Press as saying, "There has been a lot of information that has been banded around that isn’t true. We want to set the record straight and get a press release out in the coming weeks." Deputy Council Leader Tony Green was also highly crictical of the poll, saying "It is interesting he is only asking the Wycombe Wanderers supporters rather than the London Wasps supporters. Perhaps he ought to do a similar survey amongst the Wasps to get a more balanced view – they are both Wycombe clubs." Green went on to claim, "More Wasps fans are supportive of the scheme as ‘no-one is suggesting, on their current gates, that Wycombe Wanderers need a bigger stadium"

Green's diatribe against the Lib Dems also included critcism of Booker Air Park being stated as the final location for the proposed Community Stadium. Green said "The Lib Dem shouldn’t be suggesting at this stage that the stadium is for Booker, as this is one of the sites being looked at. Using Booker would ‘unlock’ the value of land for other development to finance the stadium." But the claims don't ring true with the work carried out to date by Wycombe District Council. WDC appointed management consultancy firm pmpgenesis in July 2008 to 'provide independent analysis and advice on the viability of proposed funding and operational solutions for a new 25,000 seat stadium'. It was at this time that WDC first homed into the use of Booker Air Park when it was considered the 'best prospect' having dismissed suggestions of locations at Abbey Barn, Handy Cross, the old Broom & Wade site and Hazelmere. News of a resulting ecomonic study was leaked to the press shortly afterwards with the understanding that the proposals included the creation of a 'Sports Village' which would also have sports teaching facilities - a factor that has brought Bucks New University into the equation. A suggestion of a full blown development could see the Air Park replaced with the sports facilities plus housing, hotel and other leisure facilities. However, it's understood that a further study, carried out in August 2009, again concentrating only on the Booker site, has suggested retaining a scaled down Air Park, with the Stadium and associated facilities located on the remainder of the 200 acre site.

It remains to be seen if anything other than the Booker site will be considered by WDC and while supporters await with interest the release of the press statement, Green appears to have ready made his mind up on regarding the concerns being raised to date by several Wanderers followers, concluding in his outburst, "There is a small, vocal group, mainly of Wycombe Wanderers supporters, who don’t like Steve Hayes and the way he has taken over the club who, quite frankly, will oppose anything Steve Hayes does."

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