When the former leader of the council, Cllr Lesley Clarke was interviewed by Tim Ashburner on Monday, she revealed very little. Indeed she appeared to know very little about the stadium project, including how big the stadium was likely to be and about any potential access arrangements to the site. Would GASP’s Chairman be any better informed?
There was little ‘How do you like your tea?’ preamble in the interview with Gary Nuttall. Tim opened by asking what GASP is and how the organisation came about, then questioned Gary closely on various aspects of GASP’s policy and details of the stadium proposals.
Among the subjects discussed were the foundations on which GASP is built – that GASP is apolitical, fact-based and that it targets positions, processes and procedures not individuals.
On the housing figures about which Cllr Clarke was so uncertain, Gary was able to back GASP’s claims with links on a GASP web page and further citing the WDC-commissioned documents from which the information was gleaned. (PMP, Grant Thornton and IPW reports – some were obtained under Freedom of Information requests and so have restrictions on circulation, but for others, see links here: Grant Thornton | IPW report
During the interview it was suggested the Air Park is not Green Belt but a Brownfield site. The definitive document is the Wycombe Plan in which Wycombe Air Park is clearly designated Green Belt. The area does have its own unique sub classification (GB10) which indicates it’s an area for Major Development, however the restrictions are to Aviation and Aviation related services only.
In response to Cllr Clarke’s assertion that the stadium development would help tackle obesity, Gary pointed out that playing football helps tackle obesity, not watching it. He also raised the point that in the stadium proposals no funding was allocated to community facilities, only to the professional clubs. Amateur clubs would have to fund themselves.
Gary acknowledged Cllr Clarke’s recognition that instead of asking the public where the stadium should be, they should have asked: do you want one, do we need one? He also said that the Council should use this hindsight to review its policies and procedures that such an error is never repeated.
Half a million pounds has been spent, said Gary, and still (as evidenced in Cllr Clarke’s interview) there were still no answers to the most basic of questions. ‘Imagine if that were on the Dragon’s Den!’ Gary also said the new Cabinet has the opportunity now to review the business case for a new stadium and investigate other options, such as Park & Ride facilities to Adams Park.
Gary was able to quote facts and figures and reference all his assertions, often from Council documents. So who do you think came out as the better informed, more reasoned interviewee? Have a listen.
*credit: Reproduced (unedited) with permission of Marlow FM 97.5 on 8th June 2011 (08:30 -09:00) - The Breakfast Show with Tim Ashburner