Plans to demolish football ground revealed
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
A football ground which has hosted several Norwich City pre-season friendlies is set to be demolished and replaced by 97 houses.
The proposal is subject to the club which currently uses it receiving planning permission to build a new stadium.
Emerald Park has been home to Gorleston FC for 35 years but dwindling crowds and increasing maintenance costs have made it unsustainable for the football club to remain at the ground in Woodfarm Lane.
The club hopes to build a new stadium on the site of East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Church Lane.
A spokesperson for Gorleston FC said the club will only move from its current ground once funding and planning permission at its new site is finalised.
Owner of Emerald Park, Albert Jones, believes the deal would be a win-win for both parties.
He said: 'The club can no longer sustain the cost of rent so it has been looking for a location that would be more sustainable.
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'It is my priority to ensure the club finds a new ground giving them the best chance to be successful in the future.
'The move to the college will allow greater access for spectators which should boost the club financially.'
Mr Jones said a housing development was his first choice option for the land in Woodfarm Lane.
He expects part of the development to be made up of social housing but is yet to make any further detailed plans.
'I will look at all options once the club has found a new home but I need to have income from the asset that I own,' he said,
Mr Jones, who also owns Pleasure Beach in Great Yarmouth, has described proposals for the stadium as 'really exciting'.
These include a new artificial 3G pitch, supporter grandstands and a clubhouse.
It is hoped to provide more opportunities for the community, particularly amongst low participant groups, to engage in sport and physical activity, according to a planning document submitted on behalf of the club.
The development would allow students at East Norfolk College to have access to the pitch during school hours.
The site already has a 144-space car park with an additional five spaces set to be added as part of the development.
It is hoped improved public transport links and a location closer to the town's centre will boost attendances.
A decision on the new stadium is expected to be made in February.