Fears historic Norwich sports field could be ‘bulldozed out of history’

PUBLISHED: 09:31 05 December 2012 | UPDATED: 09:57 05 December 2012

Lakenham Sports and Leisure Centre as it stands over grown and unloved

Lakenham Sports and Leisure Centre as it stands over grown and unloved


Concerns are growing a Victorian-era sports field, owned for decades by Norwich’s Colman family is at risk of being “bulldozed out of history”.

Sport -- Cricket

Cricket match at Lakenham Cricket Ground

Dated -- 6 September 1986

Photograph -- c10480Sport -- Cricket Cricket match at Lakenham Cricket Ground Dated -- 6 September 1986 Photograph -- c10480

Plans for 65 houses, a children’s play area, allotments and open space have been revived for the former Lakenham Sports and Leisure Centre site, off Cricket Ground Road, Norwich.

But there are fears the thatched pavilion at the former home of Norfolk County Cricket for nearly 175 years will be knocked-down if the latest designs are approved.

Planning documents state all existing buildings are to be demolished.

The artist’s impressions also do not include the run-down pavilion, said to be built more than 70 years ago.

Picture of the sports ground in Lakenham in 2007Picture of the sports ground in Lakenham in 2007

Previous proposals put before Norwich City Council have included turning the pavilion into flats or retaining it as part of a sports hub.

Strong opposition has emerged from neighbours to the application from Serruys Property Company Limited, although a letter of support is among those submitted during the consultation.

Julie Ann Moore, of Cricket Ground Road, called for the pavilion to be protected and wrote: “There is also another thatched building that used to be the groundsman’s cottage. This is an historic site and reference to this should remain and not bulldozed out of history.”

Andy Pritchett, of Jubilee Terrace, said: “Proposals to renovate and bring back into use such an historic building, in conjunction of the whole of the site’s use as a green space should be encouraged.”

Lakenham Sports and Leisure redevelopment.Lakenham Sports and Leisure redevelopment.

Other issues raised include vehicle access to the houses, the impact of added traffic in the area and the potential loss of green space.

Sport England are among the objectors.

Residents are due to meet on January 3 to discuss the proposal.

But Philip Atkinson, a director of application agent Lanpro, said: “It is clear from the consultation responses received to date that there is no real objection in planning terms to the planned redevelopment of the Lakenham site.

“We are currently working with the statutory consultees to redesign the scheme to address all the concerns raised in the current consultation.”

Mr Atkinson said he viewed the Lakenham redevelopment as “a force for good”.

Andre Serruys, chairman of Serruys Property Company, added the plan will create construction jobs, affordable housing and publicly available allotments.

But Patrick Manning, Labour city councillor for Lakenham, said the feeling among people in the area is “fairly negative” to the plan - and the applicants could not be surprised at this reaction as little had changed in the latest designs.

He said: “I think people don’t believe the landowner’s claim to be opening more land to the public. If you a look at the plans, the allotments are tucked away at the bottom of the site.”

Mr Manning said he was keen to find a way to spare the pavilion from demolition.

He said: “Perhaps it could be turned over to the community to be used for meetings or other ways to preserve it.”

The ground, a home for cricket from the 1820s until 2000, was acquired by the Colman’s in 1878. The land was sold more than 100 years later.

In July, the council removed the land from its list of approved sites for house-building up until 2026.

Norwich South MP Simon Wright said he hopes the council reject this latest application and is “very, very concerned” about the future use of the land.

He said: “This is a site of enormous heritage value associated with its past use. I know the Norwich Society has reported considerable interest from members of the public to the future of the sports ground and the pavilion particularly.

“I just hope the council, who has previously refused permission to develop on this site, will continue to see this as an important part of the area.”


  • I can remember as a child being taken to the cricket ground where my parents sat in deckchairs and my brother and I played on the grass close to them. They were not well off, we lived in a terraced house with no real garden and this was a way of enjoying the fresh air. So sad.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

  • Albert, you said we need new houses on the US supermarket thread, have you changed your mind now? How many of these properties will be affordable? can the pavilion not be used as a community centre were groups can meet for pilates, yoga, a nursery, pre natal exercises, etc.? Local meetings, parish council, a warm room for OAP's to meet up, watch telly read the papers, the list is long and the pavilion is bordering the site so It could be saved.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

  • This land could be better used for a new Tesco. Regards, Whiley.

    Report this comment

    Whiley Boy

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

  • There will be NO Pavillion ! if the developers get their way as they have made no attempt to keep thid building in good order

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

  • So what's you objection to the new houses you so dearly asked for in Lakenham? That the pavilion was vandalised by those who have too much time on their hands was inevitable, maybe a workfare solution would solve that program, thing is, after this statement today by Osborne, there will be no work, that will be replaced with inflation.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

  • Its destrution for financial gain ! at this site and also the attempt to build on flood plains near Norwich.both Serruys proposals

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

  • NCC and NchCC should never have let these fly boys get their hands on such an asset, never mind contemplate allowing their plans. Norwich needs green lungs- it was once a city in an orchard but now it needs all the green space it can get.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site


Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most Commented

Latest from the EDP

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 4°C

Listen to the latest weather forecast

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the EDP
digital edition