|RUGBY FIGHT GOES ON
(Thursday 28th March 2002)
Wanderers Chief Executive Simon Monkman says that he still hopes London Wasps to be "a long term part of Wycombe Wanderers" despite the decision by Wycombe District Council to rule that rugby cannot be played at Adams Park under the current planning conditions. Monkman says this is not the end of the battle and that Wanderers will seek to get permission for rugby to be played at Adams Park before the end of the next season. He told the Wanderers Official website "Wasps are still absolutely determined to play rugby here and we are still absolutely determined to have them here, and we will continue to make progress, I hope."
Meanwhile, London Wasps are now expected to take up the option to play at Harlequins' Stoop ground as a temporary measure following their enforced departure from Loftus Road. Wasps owner Chris Wright was knocked sideways by the news and told the London Standard "It's a staggering decision and we will be appealing. We had a lot of enthusiasm from fans and local people in the Wycombe area for the move but, at the same time, there was considerable backing for a temporary move to Harlequins from many of our supporters."
Wright has already written off the chance at playing at Adams Park next season and says that they the appeal would take at least two months and possibly a lot longer. The Council made their decision based on legal advice that ruled that the original planning conditions granted in 1990 were solely for the use of 'football', meaning 'association football'. The sensible option would now appear to be make a new planning application that would have to go through all the usual processes of gaining local acceptance. This opinion is backed up by Wycombe District Council who said in a press statement "We have not said 'no' to Wycombe Wanderers, we are simply saying that under the current conditions, rugby cannot be played at Adams Park without planning permission, which we would gladly consider on receipt of an application".
Wanderers will now be ruing their apparent delay in getting their original application to Wycombe District Council. Their original request, dated 29th January 2002, was not received by the Council until 4th February 2002 and missed the deadline to be discussed at the February Development Control Meeting. The application came some two months after the deal was originally muted and subsequently left no room for manoeuvre when the decision went against the Club. Some observers are suggesting that the Clubs became blase about the decision and they were expecting it to be 'rubber stamped' without too many problems. They will now have to bear the consequences of the delay.
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