Last week saw a series of events that left many fans in a daze regarding the future home of Wycombe Wanderers. On Monday evening it emerged that a redeveloped 17,500 capacity Adams Park was a viable option, at a snip of the cost of building a stadium elsewhere.
Councillor Alex Collingwood reported to Wycombe District Council's cabinet insisting the expansion could get the green light at a mere £17 million, less than half the cost of a new build, with the removal of a nearby electric pylon.
The statement was challenged by Cllr Roger Colomb, adamant that financial experts Grant Thornton had ruled out Adams Park’s ability to expand to such a capacity in a recent report. But Cllr Collingwood claimed a face-to-face questioning held a different, more positive response.
Cllr Collingwood listed a number of disadvantages to the idea of a new build, sighting: "The impact on the local area and potential problems haven't been addressed.” He also revealed a primary school for 250 pupils would be obligatory at the site to cater for the housing development of 600 homes.
Further to these concerns Cllr Collingwood claimed Mr Hayes’ justification for the move was not strong enough and could be easily fought. The Wycombe District Council consultation process also came under scrutiny as Cllr Collingwood thought it was not “deep enough”. He put forward the idea of four ‘public inquiry’ style meetings for the wider community to have a say.
The plot thickened on Wednesday when the club and Wycombe Sports Development Limited's chief executive Mike Brooks announced that Booker Air Park had been chosen “as the site with the best potential for a new community stadium and sports village for Wycombe.” Sceptical fans have argued the wording of the announcement makes the statement correct but does not account for the site having the best intentions of the club or environment.
The statement continued:
“Booker is the only site where we can deliver our vision for a new stadium and sports village for Wycombe and for the clubs and we are therefore delighted that the public and the council have now come out in support of Booker and made their voices heard loud and clear.
The public consultation process, including the independent focus groups, resulted in a show of overwhelming support, in that the majority of people think that a new sports village with community sports facilities should be located alongside a new stadium for Wycombe Wanderers and Wasps at Booker. What was particularly pleasing was the local element of that support which came out and supported Booker and the sports village option.”
A further ingredient in the episode comes as the local paper, Bucks Free Press, is running an independent survey asking readers to contribute further to the debate with their views after the club’s announcement.
The saga looks to continue with further consultation for the Booker site being sort while alternative agendas for a revitalised Adams Park will still be fought.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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