Supporters hope to make ground a “community asset”
09:00 04 January 2014
Archant © 2009
Supporters of King’s Lynn Town Football Club have submitted a nomination for the team’s ground to be listed as a “community asset” - so fans would have a say in its future in the event of a sell-off.
Although members of the Blue and Gold Supporters’ Trust stress they are not suggesting there is a plan to sell off The Walks stadium, they are applying for the special status as a “safety measure”.
The Linnets went into administration in 2009 but was saved when West Norfolk Borough Council (WNBC), which owns the venue, awarded a 25-year lease to the family of current chairman Keith ‘Buster’ Chapman.
However Blue and Gold Supporters’ Trust chairman Phil Ellis said the result could have been very different and that fans felt they needed to make future sfaeguards.
He pointed out that in the 25 years prior to the Chapmans’ involvement, the club had faced other financial difficulties.
“If at any one of those times no-one had come up to run the club and the ground remained empty, the council might’ve thought: ‘Now’s the time to dispose of the ground,’” Mr Ellis said.
“We’re not suggesting at all that there are any plans to do anything with the ground. However by nominating it as a community asset, the supporters have to be consulted and have the opportunity to put a bid together to buy the ground in six months. It’s just a safety measure.”
The Blue and Gold Supporters’ Trust made the bid after a members’ survey showed there was “overwhelming support” for the move.
Under the 2011 Localism Act, a local council is required to keep a list of community assets. Any group with connections to the community can make a nomination. If it is accepted, the group will be given time to come up with a bid if that asset is sold.WNBC is now due to consider the application.
Mr Ellis said: “People have been going to that ground since the 1970s. If it went down the road, it would be devastating for a lot of the fans.”
Mr Chapman said he had no comment to make about the Blue and Gold Supporters’ Trust application.
What do you think about the bid to make The Walks a community asset? Write, giving your full contact details, to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk