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WDC leader hits back at Hayes
THE leader of Wycombe District Council has scoffed at suggestions from former Wanderers and Wasps owner Steve Hayes that the authority ‘simply talks a good game’.
Councillor Alex Collingwood said axing plans for a new stadium and sports village at Booker was the right decision and stated again that his door was open to the clubs if they wanted to talk.
He said: “I'd like to congratulate both clubs on the new chapters opening in their history. Both Wanderers and Wasps have a good local following and of course we wish them the very best for the season.
“The plans we worked on with the clubs to develop a new stadium and sports village were not the right thing at the right time, and our decision to change direction was supported by many local people.
“Our door was, and still is open to the clubs for continuing discussions.”
He told the Free Press last week that building a new sports centre - mooted for 2015 - was imperative to the district and to ensure the legacy of the Olympics was continued in south Buckinghamshire.
Mr Hayes broke his silence yesterday after the sale of Wasps to a consortium led by Ken Moss was finally completed , having also sold off the Blues to the Wycombe Wanderers Supporters Trust in June.
Mr Hayes said he was still “disappointed” by WDC’s decision to pull the plug on his stadium dream and believes the council needs to back its words with actions if Wasps are to stay in Wycombe for the long term.
He said: "I was quite dismayed by Cllr Collingwood’s seemingly complacent assertion in comments relating to the sports village that Wasps won’t move from Wycombe because the numbers don’t add up for them to go as it would be too costly.
"I still believe that as things stand, the numbers don’t add up for them to stay at Adams Park.
"I believe the reality will be that Wasps will move away from the district within a couple of years unless WDC and Buckinghamshire County Council start being more pro-active in helping them with a new separate location within the area so they cease to be dependent on a ground share.
"As a trust member and supporter of Wycombe Wanderers and ardent fan of Wasps I believe that both clubs need support from a pro-active local authority - not one that simply talks a good game and just makes the right noises.
"As both clubs start new chapters with new owners, I hope everyone gets behind them and that includes the council who claim that their long term vision is to ensure the “Wycombe district is economically strong and the place to live work and visit”.
"Now they really do need to turn that into action and a tangible commitment - or stand to lose an important and prestigious community asset that helps promote the district."
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