May 25 2013 Latest news:
By STEVE DOWNES
Thursday, March 14, 2013
A sleeping giant of the football world and a countess with connections to the Queen have pitched in to try to save a north Norfolk club from possible extinction.
In a new twist to a remarkable tale, Leeds United instructed its solicitors McCormicks of Harrogate to give advice to Cromer Town FC to help its legal battle to stay at its home of 91 years, Cabbell Park.
Leeds stepped in after a plea from the club’s patron the Countess of Harewood, whose late husband the 7th Earl of Harewood was the Queen’s first cousin and a club president for 49 years.
Lady Harewood was concerned after hearing that Cromer Town could be evicted from its home on Mill Road because of a clause in its lease which ended its tenancy 21 years after the death of the last grandchild of King Edward VII.
That person was thought to be King Olav of Norway, who died in 1991. But Cromer’s former mayor Greg Hayman discovered Lord Harewood, who died in 2011 but was a few months from birth when the lease was agreed in 1922 – potentially adding another two decades to the deadline.
NNDC and Cromer Town are at loggerheads over who was the official “last relative in being”, with lawyers for NNDC confident that it was King Olav, and that the council should now be the legal owner of the ground. But lawyers for Cromer Town have advised that Lord Harewood’s death triggered the 21-year countdown.
Meanwhile, a bid to transfer the ground from the trust to NNDC has stalled, 10 months after tentative agreement was reached.
Last year, a document was put before the five Cabbell Park trustees, who all needed to sign it in order for the ground to be transferred to NNDC.
But it is understood that not all of them have put pen to paper, and NNDC is threatening legal action to remove those who have not.
NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick would not confirm the details, but said: “We are involved in a legal process relating to the transfer of the land at Cabbell Park to NNDC.
“As part of this process NNDC’s head of legal services has written to two of the trustees. We hope that the legal process will be concluded as soon as possible, after which the council will be able to take a longer-term view of the future of Cabbell Park in consultation with the residents of Cromer.”
NNDC has suggested redeveloping the ground, putting the current Overstrand Road GP surgery at the front and moving Cromer Town to the back.
The deal could see Cromer Group Practice giving money to Cromer Youth FC in compensation for lost open space, helping to fund a permanent base for the youngsters after more than 30 homeless years.
But Paul Jarvis, Cromer Town chairman, said: “We are concerned that if NNDC gets hold of Cabbell Park, we could cease to exist at the end of this season. If we were given notice to quit, that would the end for us.”
He added: “The Duchess of Harewood has been in touch and says she does not want us to fold. She spoke to Leeds United and their solicitors wrote to NNDC on our behalf.
“They have a solicitor whose opinion is that we are correct.”
Terrorism returned to the streets of London today as two suspected Muslim fanatics butchered a man in broad daylight in the name of “Allah”.
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