League One side Wycombe Wanderers have announced plans that would see them leave Adams Park for a new stadium. Despite their current stadium being less than 20 years old, Wycombe and Rugby Union side London Wasps are looking to build a 15,000-20,000 stadium at an alternative site after the Hillbottom Road site proved to be too restrictive for their plans.
The driver for change is that London Wasps need to move to a 12,000 capacity stadium in order to comply with Rugby Union Premiership ground regulations. Various plans for expanding Adams Park have been discussed, but the sticking point has been that the current site only has a single access road to and from the stadium, and that therefore the club's safety certificate will only allow a capacity of 10,000 spectators. Various attempts to provide a secondary access route have so far not succeeded and it now looks like Wycombe and Wasps are moving onto Plan B.
The two clubs go hand-in-hand because Wanderers owner Steve Hayes also owns the rugby union club, and he has now formed a third limited company Wycombe Sports Developments Limited (WSDL) with the goal of finding new land and building a new stadium, although the statement stops short of suggesting that WSDL will fund the new stadium. For now, WSDL and Wycombe District Council (WDC) have committed to spend up to £250,000 each on performing searches for suitable sites and conducting viability and suitability studies.
Their press statement talks of providing an accompanying 'sports village' and 'community facilities', claiming that the theoretical site will act as a central hub for all of Wycombe's Sports and Leisure facilities. This is presumably why WDC feel able to jointly support such developments financially.
The joint venture plans to report back by June 2011, with a series of public consultations along the way. Clearly any Wycombe or Wasps fan is going to have to be patient - the first sign that London Wasps may have a capacity issue with Adams Park was raised back in 2005.
Meanwhile Oldham Athletic appear to be encountering problems concerning the ownership of land they plan to use to build their new stadium in Failsworth. Oldham Council have been advised to approach the Charity Commission concerning the legal status of land to the North of the Lancaster Club in Failsworth (where the ground is due to be built), and the belief that the land should be regarded as charitable land. Oldham Council's initial advice is that there would need to be a search for equivalent value land to be purchased then 'swapped' with the Lancaster Club land to ensure that no net value is lost.
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