Demolition work to start at former Lakenham Cricket Ground in Norwich

Demolition work will soon start on the Lakenham thatched cricket pavillion. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Demolition work will soon start on the Lakenham thatched cricket pavillion. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Demolition work is set to start within days at one of Norwich's former sporting landmarks.

Seventy-five homes will be built on the old Lakenham Sports and Social Club site, off Carshalton Road, which was once the home of Norfolk cricket.

The redevelopment will also feature allotments, a playground and a five-a-side pitch.

Workers from Mitchell Demolition and developers, Hopkins Homes, which bought the site from Serruys Property Company, moved on site yesterday, and a spokesman said demolition work would start later this month.

The Lakenham Cricket Ground Residents' Association had campaigned to save the cricket pavilion and had been supported by cricket commentator Henry Blofeld, who said it would be 'appalling' if the plans went ahead.

Julie Moore, from the residents' association, said that, while they had given up trying to save the pavilion from demolition, because of its poor state of repair, they were still campaigning to save the Victorian wall on the site.

She said: 'Obviously, the residents want something to happen on the site, but our concern is that 75 homes is too many. We are also concerned about the traffic on the narrow Victorian roads.

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'It's sad that the cricket pavilion will be knocked down, as it could have been a community centre for the people of Lakenham, and we are unhappy about the Victorian wall being knocked down.

'We are also upset that there won't be any trace left that this was once the Norfolk cricket ground, and there will be no evidence of what the Colman family did for for Norwich- as a lot of the houses round the ground were built for their workers.'

As reported, Norwich City Council's planning committee turned down the plans for the site last year.

But Serruys Property Company, which wanted to build 75 homes on the land, appealed against the decision. And a planning inspector last year allowed that appeal and granted permission.

The reasons given by the council in turning down the application were that the loss of the former cricket pavilion would be 'detrimental' to the 'local distinctiveness' of Lakenham, that there was not adequate compensation for the loss of open space and that it was likely to increase traffic.

But the planning inspector said the building did not display any particular aesthetic qualities, and there was no suggestion the pavilion played any significant part in the history of county cricket.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said that the developers will have to wait a statutory eight weeks to knock down the Victorian wall and cricket pavilion, after submitting a photographic survey to the council.

A show home could be open to the public by October 2015.

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