King's Lynn Town boss in council spat over concert plan

Stephen Cleeve is the new owner of King's Lynn Town Football Club. Picture: Ian Burt

Stephen Cleeve - back in 2016 when he took over King's Lynn Town - Credit: Ian Burt

A bid to use King’s Lynn Town's ground to host concerts has descended in to acrimony after the club’s owner accused a councillor of trying to block the plans.

The Linnets, who were recently relegated, are seeking permission to use The Walks stadium as a concert venue in an effort to help their finances.

The club has lodged the plans with King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council and has learned that the proposal will have to be considered by the authority's planning committee.

That decision has sparked an online row, with Stephen Cleeve, the club's owner, criticising Christine Hudson, a local councillor.

He accused her of "trying to stop the club in its tracks" and costing it thousands of pounds, by 'calling in' the scheme to be scrutinised by councillors.

A blanket of snow covers the pitch at The Walks, home of King's Lynn Town Football Club. Picture: Ia

A blanket of snow covers the pitch at The Walks, home of King's Lynn Town Football Club. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Mr Cleeve said: “Local residents have been excellent, however, one councillor, Christine Hudson is trying to stop the club in its tracks. 

“Christine Hudson, by calling in the application, has cost the club thousands of pounds on extra legal fees that we cannot afford, her actions speak volumes as to how out of touch she is with the local people of King’s Lynn.” 

Christine Hudson, Labour councillor for Gaywood Chase. Pic: Labour Party.

Christine Hudson, Labour councillor for Gaywood Chase. Pic: Labour Party. - Credit: Labour Party

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Mr Cleeve also posted the councillor's publicly available contact details online, and encouraged supporters to contact her directly to show their support for the scheme.

This move was criticised by another councillor, Jo Rust, who urged him to take the details down.

Ms Hudson has been contacted for comment. She told the Lynn News she was not against the application and was willing to help Mr Cleeve if asked.

A petition has now been launched by the club to show support for the planning application, which would see the club permitted to host up to four 'non-football related' entertainment events at The Walks each year.  

In a statement on the club’s website, it said: “It is very important that the club continues to remain economically viable, is able to expand in order to offer more opportunities for both football and other activities to take place.   

“This will enable the club to continue to form an important part of the local community.” 

The club has called on the public to visit the ground on Thursday between 9.15am and midday to sign the petition, or to complete a form of its website. 

The planning application has said the plans will bring an addition 25 part time jobs, bringing the total number of employees to 45 part-time and one full time. 

To date, two neighbours have written to the council about the plans. 

One objected, citing noise concerns, saying previous events have been intrusive and caused distressed. 

She said: “Not only was it impossible to escape the unrelenting music anywhere in the house, you could feel the ‘thud thud thud’ we were being subjected to, particularly upstairs.” 

A Yoxford Court neighbour said they had no objection to the plan but requested safeguards are put in place for residents from litter and excessive noise.