Wycombe District Council tonight voted to stop all work on the stadium project.
Read all about it.
Hundreds of people opposed to the stadium plans turned out today, despite torrential rain earlier in the day and threatening clouds overhead. Mickey, who voted in favour of the scheme in WDC's original 'consultation', has seen the error of his ways and came along to support the protest. Here's the BFP report.
Speculation is growing that the Council is about to ditch the stadium plans at its meeting on Monday 18 July. Today's BFP is packed with views from both sides of the debate. But we are not there yet, so come along to the White Elephant Parade tomorrow Saturday 16 July, 2pm at The Rye to make sure the Council knows what we think.
Elsewhere there are letters from a local estate agent who brands opponents of the scheme as NIMBYs and a counter argument from a local resident who sets out clearly the business and environmental arguments against the plans. Read more.
GASP chairman Gary Nuttal has written to councillors outlining the gaping holes in the WSDL 'plan'. Gary has also provided a comparison with the less than successful Swansea stadium which has been quoted as an example for the Booker proposal.
From the other side of the fence, WSDL has cancelled the public meeting it had planned for this evening. Possibly they are exhausted from answering the questions posed by the 27 people who attended the meeting at Adams Park last night, which over-ran by 45 minutes. Geoff Morgan, chairman of High Wycombe Cricket Club and a member of the Wycombe Sports Village Group, has declared his support for the project in the hope that indoor cricket facilities will be included. Read more.
Don't forget the White Elephant Parade.
We offer our sincere apologies to Cllr Simon Parker for suggesting that he had gone over to the dark side after seeing WSDL's plans. He assures us that he is still firmly opposed to the stadium scheme. He has written to us as follows:
I have to say I was more than a little dismayed by the suggestion that I had been taken in by the pretty pictures on display at the Hayes/Brooks/Kennedy charm offensive. The word "seductive", which I do not recall using, is nonetheless a very accurate assessment, not of the plans themselves, but of the techniques of persuasion being used by WDSL. Whilst the BFP headline might suggest some kind of Saulian conversion, I was pleased to see the balance redressed with the statement "but he remains highly sceptical nonetheless". The presentation was slick and shiny, and as a marketing exercise had the potential to be dangerously effective, a view confirmed by discussions with others who confirmed their attitude to the project had been substantively modified by the experience. For my part please read further quotations from the article: "I'm not convinced by some of the figures that are just kind of plucked from the air, we're asked to believe it will bring a benefit of £125m but there's no real supporting evidence." He also questioned if visiting supporters would be likely to spend time in the town before and after games - and spend money there - because of the location. He felt it was also not clear how accessible the sporting facilities in general would be available to the community." AND....A RED LINE IN THE SAND "He said the Green Belt issue remained the "fundamental, underlying concern". I, among others, was the subject of an attempt at seduction. I can confirm that I emerged with my honour entirely intact, and would appreciate that this is made clear on your blog. I am entirely on your side, and I look forward to taking part in the White Elephant Parade on Saturday, and perhaps to sharing a glass of champagne on Monday evening.
Wycombe Sports Development Ltd has provided a list of questions and answers, though it has to be said that some of the answers are less than convincing. GASP is preparing its response.
Meanwhile, Cllr Simon Parker, who was elected for his anti-stadium position, has been taken in by the recent WSDL briefings and confesses himself 'seduced' by the pretty pictures on display. We wish him a speedy recovery. Read more.
Wycombe Sports Development Ltd will be holding two public meetings to show off their plans. There will be questions from the floor. Attendance by registration only.
Wycombe Wanderers Supporters Trust attended one of Mr Hayes's briefings this week and were less than impressed with the business case for the stadium plan. The report of their response appeared rather belatedly in the BFP.
The BFP has also published statements from Mike Brooks, CEO of WSDL, the company behind the stadium scheme, and Gary Nuttall, Chair of GASP, the coalition of groups against.
And finally, WDC has published the agenda for its meeting on 18 July at which the strategic business case will be decided on. This is a public meeting.
The Bucks Free Press reads like the WSDL company magazine at the moment. A report on a briefing meeting for Wycombe Wanderers supporters is headlined 'Stadium debate positive', with quotes from Mike Brooks and Steve Hayes about their 'excitement' about their own plans. The sports pages have a story asking 'Got an opinion about the stadium?'. It has a poll asking if the proposed village should include a swimming pool and offers an email address for local clubs to have their say on the scheme. A blogger asks if High Wycombe is being held to ransom by Steve Hayes's 'threat' to take Wasps away if the stadium is not built.
To counteract all this spin, GASP has an initial analysis of the plans WSDL is busy promoting.
Steve Hayes, owner of Wasps and WWFC, says that if the stadium is not built then Wasps would have to leave Wycombe. He and his colleague Mike Brooks said at a briefing yesterday that there were no safety issues over the combination of air park and sports facilities, a view not shared by those with aviation experience. The report in the Bucks Free Press offers yet another ballot, this time on whether you care if Wasps stay or go. Read more.
Check out GASP's latest video.
The new cabinet of Wycombe Council is to meet local community groups to hear their concerns about the stadium proposals. One such concern would be the idea that residents of the proposed new housing would cycle to the shops.
Meanwhile, Wycombe Sports Development Ltd has finally revealed its plans for Booker airfield, with briefings for fans and business reps to be held in early July. They have also published an artist's impression of the plan for the airfield, which appears to include no provision for parking, so those bikes will be necessary. The Bucks Free Press has a report on the plan which includes a poll for readers, unfortunately without an option for 'I don't like the project at all'. WSDL suggests that flying operations will continue unaffected as there are two runways shown on the sketch. This is plainly nonsense as they further state that there would be no flying on event days, putting paid to most of the operations which fly 7 days a week, weather permitting. It is also not clear that the Civil Aviation Authority would approve the relocated runways.
GASP, the coalition of groups opposed to the stadium proposal, is planning a parade on Saturday 16 July, so if you care, be there.
In a comment article the Bucks Free Press asks if Wycombe really needs a new stadium. Interesting question. A better one would be whether Wycombe should spend vast quantities of taxpayers' money building a new stadium for two loss making clubs.
To hear GASP chairman Gary Nuttall's interview in response to Lesley Clarke's performance, see the GASP website.
During an interview today on Marlow FM, GASP chairman Gary Nuttall called for an investigation into Wycombe Council's involvement in the stadium plans. This was in response to Lesley Clarke's interview on Monday during which she professed to know very little about the scheme. Read more.
GASP, the anti stadium coalition, has posted a recording of Lesley Clarke's interview here. As Ms Clarke suggested that GASP was spreading disinformation, GASP has also posted the source of the facts and figures it has used in its campaign.
Former WDC Leader Lesley Clarke, in an interview on Marlow FM, has admitted that the council should have asked if residents actually wanted a stadium rather than where it should be built. Read this and many other surprising statements about her pet project.
GASP, the coalition of anti-stadium campaign groups, has called on the Council to re-consider the plan to build a new rugby and football stadium on Wycombe Air Park. Read more.
Wycombe District Council has announced that a review of the stadium project, including the council's potential financial exposure, will be discussed at a meeting on 18 July. Full details in their press release. The Bucks Free Press report is here.
Cllr Martin Tett, the new leader of Bucks County Council, has said that it would not be 'appropriate' for him to pass an opinion on the stadium proposals, he says that it is a matter for Wycombe DC. Roads and schools are the responsibility of the County, and the proposed stadium project would have a huge impact on both, so the County will be involved if the project proceeds. Read more.
GASP, the coalition of action groups against the stadium proposals, has issued a statement making clear their continued opposition to the plan and their determination to continue fighting. Read more.
Councillor Ian McEnnis, who was instrumental in 'calling in' the stadium plans earlier in the year, has been elected as chairman of Wycombe Council. The new team at the top of the council now includes several people who have expressed opposition to the stadium. Read more.
The new Cabinet to lead Wycombe District Council has been named. It includes two councillors who have made clear their anti-stadium views. Read more.
Bob Woollard, a senior Conservative Bucks County Councillor who is strongly opposed to the stadium project, has voiced his support for the election of Alex Collingwood as Leader of Wycombe District Council. Read more.
Alex Collingwood, re-elected as councillor for Marlow, has been elected as Leader of the Council. He was chair of the Improvement and Review Commission which asked for the decision to press ahead with the stadium plan to be 'called in' for scrutiny. Anti-stadium campaigners are therefore encouraged by his election. Read more.
Lesley Clarke, who as Leader of the Council has steamrolled all opposition in her enthusiasm for the Wasps Stadium project, has stood down despite being re-elected as councillor for Abbey Ward. Read more. It remains to be seen whether her successor will pursue the same line.
Wycombe Council would have us believe that sitting in a stadium watching some men kicking a ball around would be good for our health, but even the Daily Mail thinks that getting out into green space has all sorts of benefits. So why concrete over the airfield? Read more.
To check on the candidates' views on the stadium issue, take a look at the list compiled by GASP. Their website has a wealth of other information about the 'community stadium' project, which could more accurately be described as the 'London Wasps Stadium Project'.
The election of district councillors on Thursday 5th May gives you an opportunity to cast your vote for anti-stadium candidates. If you would like a few tips on questions for candidates, check out the GASP flyer.
Wycombe District Council has published a document purporting to demolish 'myths' that have been spread about the Wasps stadium project. It raises more questions than it answers. Read the document and GASP's response on the GASP website.
And don't bother to try complaining. WDC's Complaints Policy specifically excludes issues which affect most of the council's residents. Read more.
This project has been promoted from the start as a 'community stadium' despite the fact the the stadium itself is a spectator facility for London Wasps and Wycombe Wanderers. Any sports facilities will have to be provided by the clubs which use them. For a photo or two of the people behind the scheme, check here. It's that man Hayes again. It would be more accurate to call it the London Wasps Stadium project.
Wycombe Wanderers Trust has responded to Mrs Clarke's assertion that campaigners are 'bending the truth' and in particular her statement that the clubs are driving the stadium proposal. In fact it is Wycombe Sports Development Ltd which is making the running. Read more.
On the other hand, the company IPW3 seems to think that their client WDC is behind it all, since they have been hired by WDC to 'advise on the development of a new 17,500 seat community stadium'. Check out their brochure here. Presumably their fee comes out of that £750,000 that WDC has set aside for the project.
The Bucks Free Press has published the responses so far from candidates in the 5 May council election. Read more.
Wycombe Wanderers have published their accounts for 2009/10, which show losses of £1.17m and operating costs increased to £6.8m. More detail here
Council Leader Lesley Clarke has accused the GASP campaign of 'peddling spin and myths'. Her list of examples and a summary of the GASP response can be read here.
The full response from GASP can be read here.
In a letter to the Bucks Free Press, a campaigner from GASP (Groups Against the Stadium Proposals) challenges candidates in the coming council election to make clear their stance on the stadium proposals. Voters might like to pose this question to any candidate they find on their doorstep.
For full details, read more.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, recently told the House that 'Our general policy is this: we intend to ensure that the green belt is held solid and absolutely inviolate by this Administration. We are not going to follow the tenets of the former Labour Government by concreting over the green belt.'
And the Wycombe Conservative Group seems to agree, their manifesto says, 'We will continue to defend the Green Belt and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty against inappropriate development. We will commit to action if breaches of policy are made and defend such actions through the planning process where necessary.'
So why is Tory-led Wycombe District Council pressing ahead with the destruction of the environment with their stadium plan?
........or there again maybe not. Darlington FC may be about to lose the ground it moved into only 8 years ago, now the club's receivers have instructed a property company to advertise it for sale. The 25,000 seat Darlington Arena was built by club chairman George Reynolds despite opposition, his theory being that a bigger stadium would sort out the club's financial problems because attendance would rise. Sound familiar? More detail here.
Marlow Sports Club is aiming to raise £1.2m to improve its facilities and provide a 'centre of excellence'. Nice to see a club doing it for itself rather than relying on council tax payers. More detail here.
Wycombe Council has published its timeline for the stadium project, which includes production of a business plan in October this year (some might consider this rather late in the day). More detail here, the timeline is in a downloadable doc at the bottom of the page.
Wycombe Council has extended its collaboration agreement with Steve Hayes, owner of Wanderers and Wasps, for another 6 months. WDC has allocated a further £60,000 to the project, bringing the total spent so far to £478,000. More detail here.
The Bucks Free Press has released the results of their stadium survey, and it shows that fewer than 1 in 5 respondents support the project. Read more, including statements from supporters and opponents.
Campaigners are suggesting that the new road proposed from Handy Cross to the dump will also be handy for the new stadium, if it ever gets built. Read more.
WDC recently invited GASP to a meeting to discuss the stadium. It was to have been chaired by Mrs Clarke but she did not show up or send any apologies. Here are notes of what transpired.
Wycombe Wanderers supporters' latest newsletter makes interesting reading.
The Council is unclear about whether it will drive a road through from Handy Cross to the airfield to facilitate matchday traffic. The route for this possible road is widely thought to run from Ragman's Lane to the land leading to the High Heavens refuse centre, along the ancient woodlands Hillgreen Wood and Hollygreen Wood. Read more. Meanwhile, the GASP coalition has been measuring how the loss of greenbelt to a stadium compares with the HS2 rail line and comes up with a surprising answer. Check their sums here
The differences of opinion continue over whether the closure of the gliding club by the stadium would result in the airspace over Wycombe and Marlow being used by Heathrow traffic. Read all about this and much more here.
Darlington FC (the Quakers) moved to a new 25,000 seat stadium in 2005. The holding company is now in receivership and the club chairman has suggested a move to a smaller stadium as a way forward. Birmingham FC will not be moving from their current stadium unless attendance improves. They are now looking at improving the existing stadium. Wakefield Wildcats RLFC has gone into administration. Their current stadium fails to meet minimum standards and they are going to ground-share while their plan for a new stadium goes to a public inquiry. Llanelli RUFC has made heavy losses since their move to a new stadium, putting at risk the £40m investment of the county council. Managers of Keepmoat stadium, home to Doncaster Rovers FC and Doncaster RLFC, have asked the council for an extension to a £1m overdraft guarantee after another loss-making year. Saracens RUFC is looking for a new home after being turned out of the groundshare they had with Watford FC. QPR is considering moving to a new stadium on the site of the BBC TV centre. This would leave Loftus Road (20,000 seats) going spare. And finally, Salford Council has formed a joint venture company to provide a £26m sports complex for Salford City Reds RUFC. A previous development complany went into administration three years ago after submitting stadium plans.
There seem to be differences of opinion over whether flying would continue if the stadium were built, with no hard facts forthcoming from WDC to quash 'rumours'. Read more. Meanwhile, in a front page article in the Marlow Free Press, a retired commercial pilot has given his view that if Booker airfield ceased to function, the airspace would be used by traffic in and out of Heathrow.
WDC's Cabinet has 'considered' the recommendation of the council's Improvement and Review Commission to call-in the stadium decision and, unsurprisingly, decided to press ahead. Read more. This is by no means the end of the story because the Council has not yet shown what exceptional reasons there are for going against its Core Strategy which bans development of the Green Belt. In other news, a senior Councillor has left the Tory party citing the stadium amongst his concerns, more here. And the Council Leader has clashed with the leader of the Lib Dems over what exactly Steve Hayes said in his brief BBC TV appearance on 22 Feb (see below). Story here.
The stadium plan has been given an airing in an article on the The Guardian's football league blog. It helpfully lists all the protest websites and blogs.
The BBC's short piece on how the football club feels about moving can be seen here. It includes an interview with Steve Hayes, including his view that the main reason for moving to a new stadium is ......... to avoid paying maintenance costs. Read more.
Wycombe Wanderers Independent Supporters Club has published the results of a short survey of fans on whether a new stadium is needed, read more.
What are the arguments for building a stadium? Here's an analysis of the reasons. And here (updated link) is a view from the Wasps nest about how it's all going. There seem to be doubts creeping in about whether it's all going to work out.
WDC has continued to defend its consultation process and is treating the results as valid. Read here a letter to the Bucks Free Press setting out in detail exactly why the consultation result cannot be relied upon.
After weeks of silence, local MP Steve Baker has given a view on the importance of listening to local residents. Read more. Meanwhile, Wanderers supporter Matt gives his views on whether or not green belt land needs to be sacrificed for a new stadium, read more.
WDC's Improvement and Review Commission tonight voted 15-0 (one abstention) to recommend scrutiny of the Cabinet's decision to go ahead with the stadim plan. Read more, and particularly the first comment on the story.
A local resident has called for a referendum on the same day as the local council elections to 'clear the mud' on the stadium issue. WIth a straightforward question of course: 'Does Wycombe need a new stadium and do you want to pay for it?' Brighton & Hove Council did it, when considering helping to provide a home for the local team. 67,895 votes cast of which 84% were in favour. And the site was chosen by 68% of 66,533 votes cast. What were the figues for WDC's consultation again?
Local MP Steve Baker has so far refused to comment on the stadium proposal, saying it is a 'local issue'. Today two Lane End residents have challenged him in an open letter to say where he stands. Maybe he will be as forthright as he is about his opposition to the HS2 rail link.
Council Leader Clarke has insisted that 'the only decision that has been made is about the stadium’s preferred site and the council is still at the beginning of a long process'. She denies that she is pushing the project through. Makes those job adverts even more odd. Read more here.
Not only is Steve Hayes's WSDL advertising for a Stadium Project Manager (see below), he's also looking for a Senior Construction Development Manager for a '£70m project [including] a 20,000 seat stadium, a leisure village, and hotel and retail outlets.......due for completion in 2014'. Council Leader Lesley Clarke, meanwhile, has said she was 'surprised' to see the Project Manager job advert, story here. A bit of that 'transparency in local government' promoted by central government wouldn't go amiss here.
Hughenden Valley Residents Association has joined the anti-stadium coalition GASP, their main concern being protection of greenbelt. Read more. For a look at just how much green space is threatened, see here.
A cabinet member has given support to the decision to 'call in' the cabinet decision to continue with the stadium project, although he has not stated his own position on the matter. Read more.
Apparently it is WSDL that has advertised the stadium job, according to this article. That's Wycombe Sports Development Ltd, whose published 2009 accounts show M.J. Brooks as Company Secretary and Director, S.E. Hayes as Director and holder of the entire share capital of the company, £100 when last heard. WSDL is obviously very confident about the outcome of the Council's decision making if they are prepared to hire someone on £55k plus.
Here's a lesson in making a survey give you the 'right' answer. Watch it here.
The stadium proposal involves the destruction of 240 acres of green space. To see just how big that is, have a look at this comparison with some familiar sites.
It seems that the stadium project is more definite than has been suggested by the Council, if this advert for a 'Project Manager - Stadium' is anything to go by. "Project Manager required for a 17,500-20,000 capacity state-of-the-art stadium at the heart of a wide-ranging sports village." Interesting. Something else they are not telling us?
Two stories from last year, 9/3/10 and 28/7/10, show that Wycombe District Council seems to have a habit of concealing facts about the stadium project and use of Booker Airfield from residents of the district and from the press.
The Information Commissioner has upheld a number of complaints that the Council withheld documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act. They now have 35 days to comply with the request. Read more.
In a related story, the Council has denied that a publicised plan showing a road from Ragmans Lane to Wycombe Air Park is official, but has not offered to clarify what their proposed route is. Story here.
Council Leader Lesley Clarke has attacked councillors who have expressed their views on the stadium to the press rather than speaking to her personally. Odd that the Council should have taken out a 3 page advert in the same press to put its own views across. Read the story here.
GASP, the coalition of groups campaigning against the stadium, has placed an advert in today's Bucks Free Press.
Don't forget to give the Bucks Free Press your views on the stadium plan with their survey, closing date Friday 4 February.
In other news, Bucks CC Councillor Bob Woollard has replied to attacks on him by WDC Deputy Leader Tony Green. Cllr Woollard is to chair a sub group of the South West Chilterns & Marlow Local Area Forum which will be monitoring developments on the stadium proposal. Read more.
Campaigners have raised more questions about restrictions on the use of Wycombe Air Park (Booker airfield), contradicting the Council Leader's claims that pre-sale agreements were intended to prevent the site's development as a major airport. News story here, airfield use agreement here.
Councillor David Shakespeare, leader of Bucks County Council, has declined to comment on the stadium plan, unlike two of his fellow Tories. This silence seems surprising since he is also a WDC councillor, representing Tylers Green and Loudwater. Read more.
Plenty of reading material on the WDC website with updated reports and FAQs.
Cross party support for the scrutiny commission's 'call in' of the Cabinet decision to press ahead with the stadium plan could result in it being put to a vote of the full Council. Read more. Meanwhile, news of the plan has reached Windsor and Maidenhead, two contrastin articles have been published in the Windsor Express and the Maidenhead Advertiser. Both online editions have comment sections, why not add your views?
A thought provoking piece from a Wycombe Wanderers fan about why the stadium is such a very bad idea, read it here.
Councillor Julie Pritchard has spoken out against the plan to build a stadium for Wanderers and Wasps at a time of council spending cuts. Read more. One person commenting on the article and the number of councillors standing down has suggested setting up a Wycombe Conservation Party to contest seats in the May elections. If interested, contact us and we will pass the message on.
WDC's Improvement and Review Commission has started the 'call in' process which will allow it to examine in detail the steps taken so far on the stadium project. Read more. Meanwhile, the Bucks Free Press has launched its own survey to gather views on the stadium project.
Apparently stung by criticism about failure to keep residents informed, WDC is set to spend an estimated £20,000 (of taxpayers' money) on a 3 page ad in Friday's BFP. Such an ad needs to be strictly factual and not attempt to persuade readers towards any particular viewpoint if it is to escape challenge by the Advertising Standards Authority. Also to be considered is the Dept for Communities and Local Government code of practice on local government publicity. Full story here.
Wycombe Sports Development Ltd have, oddly enough, issued a statement expressing their 'delight' at WDC's decision. On the other hand, Booker Common and Woods Preservation Society's statement insists that very few facts have been presented and that Booker must have a say. Meanwhile, another senior Bucks County Councillor has come out against the scheme, saying he does not want Wycombe to be another Reading. Read more.
In a statement issued today, GASP challenges the Council to listen to the voice of the people. Full story here.
WDC's Cabinet decided tonight to press ahead with the controversial stadium plan despite the recommendations of its own scrutiny committee. Initial report here. The meeting was told that it that it would be possible to expand Adams Park to seat 17,500 for £17m, much less than the projected cost of a new stadium. Story here. Several more Tory rebels spoke out against the plan during the meeting. Read more.
Large numbers joined the GASP demo outside the WDC offices this evening, encouraged by the hooting of passing cars. Full story here.
Bucks County Councillor Bob Woollard has attached the stadium plan, citing the lack of consideration for the infrastructure required, the cost of which would fall on the County. Full story here.
A scrutiny committee has expressed a number of concerns about the stadium proposal and has recommended a series of 'public inquiry' meetings if it moves to the planning application stage. The committee's report has been welcomed by GASP. Full story here.
Former Mayor Councillor Val Razzaq, who represents Booker and Cressex, has decided to stand down at the May elections. She cites the stadium and says 'I don't know why it has gone so far as this'. Her fellow Conservative Darren Hayday will also be standing down, for the same reason. Full story here.
Jean Teasdale, Conservative councillor for Lane End and member of the Council cabinet, has publicly stated her opposition to the plan for a stadium at Booker. She and fellow councillor Ian McEnnis, member for Chiltern Rise, recently conducted a local survey which came out overwhelming in favour of the clubs staying at Adams Park. Full story here.
A local pilot has unearthed documents showing that when the airfield was original sold to Wycombe Rural District Council, safeguards were put in place to ensure that it remained in use as an airfield. It was sold to WRDC by private treaty at less than the open market value because the Ministry of Defence and other ministries supported this position. Full story here.
Wycombe's Lib Dem councillors have attacked the consultation and warned that the Tories could suffer in the May elections. They say that the level of public feeling over the issue is unprecedented. Full story here.
GASP has issued a press release condemning the consultation results as 'flawed' and 'skewed'. Full story here.
Analysis of the consultation results show that a significant number of those wanting a stadium at Booker come from outside the district. This is presumably the result of Wasps supporters being encouraged to fill in forms and told which options to select. Full story here.
Wycombe Council has isssued a press release stating that of the 8376 written responses received during the consultation period, 71% supported the option of a stadium plus sports village. Opponents of the scheme are doubtful how representative of local opinion these results are. The full consultation results will be published on Wycombe DC's website later today. Full story here. See What to Do… for information on how you can get involved.
The Bucks Free Press asked readers to choose which major story affected them most. Options were the High Speed 2 rail route, the closing of Hollywell Mead outdoor pool, the stadium and spending cuts to public services. The stadium came top at 38% followed by cuts to public services at 34%. Full story here .
Two parish councils, Lane End and Great Marlow, may be holding a referendum in January on the plan for a stadium for Wycombe Wanderers and London Wasps on Wycombe Air Park. Full story here .
Lesley Clarke, Leader of Wycombe District Council, has responded to Monday's demo by saying that 'stadium rumours are out of control'. The comments on the news story are well worth reading as they list a number of these 'rumours' and ask Ms Clarke to clarify whether they are true or false.
Read all about it here.
At the full Council meeting on Monday, a Lib Dem motion to cease the spending on the stadium project was referred to the Improvement and Review Commission which meets on Wednesday 12 January at 7pm at the Council offices in Queen Victoria Rd. The meeting is open to the public. If your local councillor is a member of the Commission you could lobby them. List of Commission members here. Read the full story here .
GASP, the coalition of anti-stadium action groups, organised a lively demonstration before the meeting of the full Council on the evening of Monday 13 December. Demonstrators filled the pavement on both sides of the street and numerous motorists passing through on their way home tooted their support. A number of campaigners put prepared questions to the Council and had the opportunity to ask a follow up. Read all about it here. For details and developments email firstname.lastname@example.org .
A group of sports clubs has formed to support the idea of a "sports village" including a stadium. News story here
Residents of Great Marlow Parish are being urged to attend the parish council meeting on Thursday 9 December, 7pm, Bovingdon Village Hall in order to trigger a referendum on the Booker Stadium proposal. For more information, call 01628 673423 or email email@example.com. News story here
At a meeting of the High Wycombe Local Community Partnership on 13/10/10, WDC's Spatial Planning Manager gave an update on the stadium consultation. He stated that 'the consultation has arisen as a result of the pressures faced by Wycombe Wanderers and WASPs to have a stadium that met their current requirements on capacity and access'. Nothing to do with providing facilities for the community then. Full minutes here, item 6. The reference to 'currently having discussions with the gliding club' could be described as 'an economy with the truth'.
A parish poll can be called for by at least 10 residents, under the Local Government Act 1972, asking any question they choose. Full story here.
The Marlow and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce says that Adams Park should be developed and questions the financial viability of the scheme. Full story here.
The poll attracted votes from 38% of the membership of the WW Trust of which 91% supported the Trust's statement that it was unable to support the stadium proposal. Full story here.
WDC Lib Dem councillors are ignoring 'advice' from council officials about how they are to answer their constituents' queries about the stadium proposal. They maintain that they have a duty to scrutinise plans and reflect the views of residents. Read the full story here.
At a meeting on 25 October 2010 the Board of WWT declared that it "could not support the proposal for a new Community Stadium, due to the lack of financial guarantees for WWFC in the plan". The Trust is therefore asking its members to vote on whether they agree with the Trust's stance. Read the full story here.
At a meeting on Monday night, representatives from about 15 action groups met to discuss co-operation and information sharing in the campaign to stop the stadium. An umbrella group called GASP (Groups Against Stadium Proposals) will co-ordinate action and ensure that all angles are covered.
To contact the group, email GASP@btinternet.com
Booker Gliding Club has recently been accused by a member of a local parish council of scaremongering about the threat of changes to airspace over the Wycombe area. Club member Jim White's response is printed below:
The gliding club negotiated with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to have the airspace lower limit raised from 2500ft to enable gliding to continue at Booker. The gliding club with the help of the British Gliding Association (BGA) is now negotiating with the CAA to have the airspace over Wycombe raised to the same level as the bit over Frieth (4500ft). Despite this negotiation going very well and having been giving the green light this process is expected to cost us about £6,000 as we have to apply formally to the Directorate of Airspace Policy at the CAA for the change and have to pay for a full consultation with affected airspace users and other parties. Not a 'fortune' but far more than we can afford if we are to lose our airfield.
So to answer your points directly:
1. The cost of applying for an airspace change is actually fairly modest in the scheme of commercial aviation
2. We do not know whether National Air Traffic Service (NATS) will apply for additional airspace but consider the following:
- They have done so before. New airspace has recently been established around Stansted
- The present Wycombe dent in the London Terminal Manoeuvring Area (LTMA) is an inconvenience to airlines and to NATS when Heathrow operates on runway 09. Ask an airline pilot. We have many as members.
- The airlines and the CAA are looking for ways to make air travel more fuel efficient
- If they do apply and there is no gliding at Wycombe Air Park (WAP) there is no reason not to give it to them as light aircraft are content to fly below 2000ft.
3. Wycombe residents will definitely lose the benefit of the raised airspace that we are currently negotiating
4. The removal of the 'Intense Gliding Activity' warning on the 1:500000 chart would deter fewer light aircraft from transiting the area.
You use the pejorative term 'scaremongering' to describe our campaign. This is somewhat unfair. Yes, we wish to stop the stadium being built at WAP and yes, we need the public to get behind our campaign. But what we are actually trying to do by visiting Parish Councils and running a campaign website is to provide information that has not been provided so far. Before I came to you, I attended a meeting of another parish council. They were generally unaware of the stadium proposal and the consultation, now closed, and were very pleased to be able to talk to someone knowledgeable about the local airspace situation.
If you or your colleagues wish to visit the club to meet with us we are happy to provide as much information, freely and without redaction, as you would like. This is in stark contrast to WDC's consultation where important information has been withheld from the public."
"There have been rumours of a plan by the current airfield operator to realign and extend the runway at WAP to allow use by executive jets. If this were to happen, WAP with its proximity to London could fast become a hub for executive business travel. Executive jets are much noisier than the types of aircraft that currently use WAP and would affect far more residents of the district. If any such plans exist or were discussed by WDC or its officers before the consultation we believe that they should have been placed in the public domain."
On Saturday, Steve Guy, Leader of the Lib Dem Group on Wycombe District Council and member for Totteridge, visited Booker Gliding Club. He was accompanied by Cllr Julia Wassell, Lib Dem member for Bowerdean, and Lib Dem agent Ian Morton. They discussed the stadium plan with Club chairman Geoff and other club members and expressed their oppostion to the scheme on financial grounds.
After the meeting, Geoff managed to sell Steve and Ian Trial Lessons, which they both enjoyed, experiencing for themselves what is threatened by the stadium plan.
A new website www.notbackingbooker.com has appeared, see link on right.