IN AN article written by Wycombe MP Steve Baker, he explains his stance on the community stadium in the context of the Government's new Localism Bill.

By MP Steve Baker: "A radical decentralisation of power into the hands of individuals, communities and councils was one of the manifesto commitments on which I stood.

"Last week’s Bucks Free Press showed clearly why that decentralisation is so desperately needed. The editorial called on the Prime Minister to act fast to “resurrect the notion of true local democracy”.

"The Localism Bill, which will do just that, is going through the Commons right now.

"After decades of centralisation across all levels of government, our democratic institutions are too remote and unresponsive.

"That’s what brought me into politics. We need a dynamic renewal of democracy and freedom and that is what the Coalition Government has pledged to deliver this year.

"The Bill is the Coalition’s way of ensuring that people and their locally elected representatives can achieve their objectives.

"The Government has already done much to cut central targets, to ease the burden of inspection and to reduce red tape. It is now going further by changing the law.

"The consequences could be historic.

"I am determined to create the right environment for a flourishing local democracy.

"That means passing the Localism Bill and putting it into practice including, for example, Neighbourhood Planning Orders, which will enable local people to direct development.

"Now, people have asked to know my opinion on Wycombe District Council’s proposed stadium.

"It’s well known that I am sceptical of government projects, especially when money is so tight, and I am well aware of passionate opposition to the proposals from those who would be directly affected.

"People are right to be concerned about Green Belt land which is excluded from the AONB through a historical quirk.

"It is right to raise questions about infrastructure and the affects of increased traffic.

"People are right to question the level of entrepreneurial risk in the project and the use of public funds.

"These voices must be heard and heard properly.

"At the same time, I recognize that the Council is between a rock and a hard place.

"For example, if no action were taken, it’s likely that the District would lose both clubs and many thousands of hours of youth sport provided by them for free.

"That is why I am working hard to create the space necessary for localism to work.

"I don’t have authority over the Councils, and I would not want it.

"My job is to make the system work and I am very happy to see constituents who want to express their concerns.

"However, this is a democracy; people have a range of views and councillors answer to you.

I was driven into politics by anger over the state of our democracy.

"Our manifesto had the clear title “Invitation to Join the Government of Britain”. With the Localism Bill, that invitation is about to become real.

"I urge you to accept it."

More information about the Bill may be found on related articles below.