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Updated: 'Community stadium not needed', readers say in poll
Story updated Thursday at 2.10pm.
A NEW community stadium is not needed in the Wycombe area, readers have overwhelmingly voted in a poll.
The record breaking response to a Bucks Free Press ballot showed 87 per cent against.
Thirteen per cent voted in favour.
4,799 votes were registered – significantly more than any previous poll.
The highest previously came in a poll asking readers their voting intentions before the General Election – 3,732.
But Wycombe Sports Developments Ltd today reacted angrily to the poll, saying the result was 'ridiculous' because multiple voting could not be controlled on internet ballots.
Message board users had 'skewed' the vote, it said.
More in depth statistical examination of the votes today shows there were 402 'distinct browsers' voting yes and 1,312 'distinct browsers' for no.
This gives a closer figure to the number of individuals who voted.
If these figures were used instead, nearly 77 per cent say 'no', a new community stadium is not needed, as opposed to just over 23 per cent that said 'yes' it is.
The ability to register more than one vote depends on a number of technical issues, including what computer operating system and internet browser are being used.
Multiple votes occurred for answering both yes and no.
Mike Brooks, Chief Executive of Wycombe Sports Developments Ltd said: “We do not believe this survey is in any way a reliable indication of the views of local people.
“With such internet polls there is no control on multiple voting by a single person and we know for example that those people opposed to the plans have been using message boards encouraging people to vote "no" multiple times and skew the vote.
“We did no such activities and we also note that the early days of the poll showed an even split.
“The only proper forum for assessing true and credible public opinion is the Council run consultation process and we await the results of this.
“The benefits of the Sports Village for the whole of Wycombe are absolutely clear and we have been inundated with support.
“Quite apart from allowing both clubs to remain and thrive in Wycombe, it would bring new jobs and investment and provide first class sports facilities for everyone to use.
“To suggest that 87 per cent of people oppose this is simply ridiculous.”
Wycombe District Council, which has pledged cash for a feasibility study, has asked the public's views in a consultation, which has now ended.
Wycombe Wanderers and Wasps have already announced Wycombe Air Park, Booker, Great Marlow, is where they want the new ground to be.
Wycombe District Councillor Darren Hayday, Conservative, is quitting because of his anger over the proposed stadium.
He does not believe taxpayers money should be spent on the project.
Reacting to the poll, he said: “This reiterates what I have said all along that this has already gone too far and it shows people power.
“People don't want the stadium and I hope the powers that be look at this carefully.”
Wycombe District Council did not say whether it would take the result into account alongside the findings of its consultation.
It released this statement: “We know from the consultation we have just completed that there is a lot of local interest in the community stadium and sports project and a great many people have made their views known to us.
“We are very pleased that local people are finding out about the project, making informed choices and telling us their views.
“We have had our best ever response to the recent consultation we ran as king local people for their detailed comments about the stadium.
“With over 8,500 responses received during the consultation, we now have a wealth of information and specific feedback from local people.”