Wycombe Air Park sports project turned down


A Buckinghamshire stadium and sports project has been turned down over concerns about funding and planning.

Wycombe Air Park at Booker was to replace community facilities in the town and be the new base for Wycombe Wanderers FC and Wasps Rugby Club.

The district council said work on the site with Wycombe Sports Development Limited (WSDL) would stop and future sports provision investigated.

Protesters had mounted a campaign and marched through the town on Saturday.

Members of Groups Against the Stadium Proposal (GASP) felt the Air Park was not appropriate for green belt land, that it "gambled" public money for a private enterprise and would put pressure on the roads system.

Six out of 10 district council cabinet members could not vote on the plan at a meeting on Monday due to a "perceived interest".

All four votes were against.

'World-class facilities'

Council leader Alex Collingwood said: "The risks to the council for a development at the Air Park were threefold - funding ability, planning consent and long-term viability.

"We want to provide a new sports centre at Handy Cross and would like to engage with the community on possible options so that ultimately, we can provide facilities that we can all use and be proud of."

A planning application had not been submitted but there were concerns about infrastructure, he added.

Steve Hayes, who owns both clubs, said the plans by WSDL for a 17,500 capacity stadium were vital for their future.

WSDL said the complex would have created at least 400 jobs, generated at least £12.5m of rent receipts for Wycombe District Council over 25 years, and offered "world-class leisure facilities" for the community.

It added it was disappointed but would strive to find the "best possible future" for professional sport in Wycombe.

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