Watch a video of the full press conference.

A COUNCIL chief today hailed a plan to move Wycombe Wanderers and London Wasps to a new stadium – said it could be “Wycombe’s next Eden”.

Wycombe District Council leader Councillor Lesley Clarke said a move from Adams Park would give massive benefits to the community – and was worth council cash.

Club bosses also backed the move – but said it was too early to set out specific details of the plan.

Plans for a ‘sports village’ with ‘training and academy facilities, health & fitness facilities and a wide range of publicly accessible sports, leisure and lifestyle uses’ were unveiled today.

It was also revealed that the cash-strapped council will spend a further £250,000 probing the move – on top of £500,000 already committed.

Some have argued that the authority – which could sell its land to finance the stadium – should not be aiding a private business.

Cllr Clarke told a press conference: “I truly believe that, alongside the obvious benefits for having two great clubs in our community, a new stadium is a platform for strengthening our economy, transforming perceptions of our town and really setting a new standard for sport and participation in sport.”

She said moves to now find a suitable site – mooted for Wycombe Air Park in Booker – must be done ‘diligently, transparently and with the involvement of the community’.

Asked by The Bucks Free press about using public cash she said ‘it’s not taxpayers’ money’ as the sums would come from WDC’s property deals, similar to its use of land for the Eden shopping centre in High Wycombe.

She said: “It’s not money that can actually be used for the taxpayer in that we can reduce the council tax. It’s actually making things better for people in Wycombe district.”

Cllr Clarke said: “It has the ability to be Wycombe’s next Eden.”

What do you think? Leave your comments below and see our website on Thursday to reaction to the press conference.

Steve Hayes, who owns both clubs, said: “This is not just about another new stadium, it’s about investing in a project to help us to achieve far more in our community.”

He pointed to the clubs’ work with schools and said ‘sport is a catalyst for good’.

Mr Hayes said: “The match day experience at Adams Park is not something we can truly be proud of.”

He said: “I have never even built a wall let alone a stadium so I need a great deal of help and support.”

The businessman said he was not trying to ‘hoodwink the council’ and said he felt fans from both teams were behind the plan.

He said: “There’s people who write anonymously about certain things on certain websites and write to newspapers and all the rest of it but not one person has written to the clubs. Now that seems a bit strange.”

“Every single” supporter will be asked their view, he said. “We will listen. This is a democracy, it’s not we are going to tell people what’s going to happen by any stretch.”

Council chief executive Karen Satterford said it would be ‘premature to talk detail on financing, on what’s going to be on the sites because we don’t have a site yet’.

Wasps chairman Mark Rigby was ‘also about building the clubs as more successful businesses’ with extra leisure and entertainment facilities.

He said: “It is a different commercial marketplace to how it was when Adams Park was built and to compete commercially at the top level we need to invest.”

The plan would ‘significantly enhance’ its conference and events business, he said.

Mr Rigby mistakenly referred to ‘Wycombe Wasps’. Fans have speculated whether the name would change to this is the club stayed in the town.

Asked about this by the Free Press, Mr Rigby said: “I think that the issue of names is an issue for the future and I think that we’ve got many difficult hurdles to overcome before we even get to that point.”

Cllr Clarke termed it a ‘Freudian slip’ and Mr Rigby said ‘very Freudian’.

He also did not go into details about the length of what WDC said would be a ‘long lease’ plan for the clubs.

The council would own the stadium and rent it to the clubs if it is built on WDC land.

Terming speculation ‘premature’ said: “We are at an early stage in this process.”

Asked about Wasps’ future if a new stadium is not found, he said: “We believe that the quality of the partnership is such that we don’t need at this stage to develop a plan B.”

Click the link below for more on the plans.