Delight as Wymondham Town Council proposes U-turn on ASDA plans

A town council could be about to withdraw plans to develop an area of recreation land as a new ASDA store, to the delight of campaigners who have fought a long battle against the proposal.

Wymondham Town Council has called an Extraordinary General Meeting at Kett's Park in Wymondham on Tuesday to discuss a proposal to rescind the resolution made by the council in September to sell the town's King's Head Meadow, which is the current home of Wymondham Town FC, to ASDA.

The council's apparent U-turn follows angry scenes at a packed council meeting at Fairland Church earlier this month when residents, including members of the Wymondham Asks Why (WAW) campaign group opposed to plans, screamed 'shame on you' and 'you're supposed to be representing us' at councillors who had rejected a motion to put the sale on hold until the results of the town's area action plan were known.

The WAW group does not want to see a greenfield site providing public recreation space, including a children's play area, being taken by the store. Traffic was another major concern for residents.

WAW chairman Andy Gardiner described his delight at the news of the EGM, adding: 'I went loopy when I heard about the EGM to be honest. Nobody is being a Nimby in this and we are all for having another supermarket in the town, but it was just the most ridiculous proposal in the world to build on King's Head Meadow and potentially knock down a viable pub which has been systematically run down.

'The catholic church would have gone and the war memorial and then we would have seen the full extent of the development.'

An online poll conducted by the EDP asking readers if they supported the plans to develop King's Head Meadow found 86pc were opposed.

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Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman said he had sent a number of e-mails to town councillors following the Fairland Church warning of the gravity of any decision to sell the greenfield site. He preferred ASDA to develop the store on brownfield sites in the town.

Earlier today, he said: 'This is fantastic news and a tribute to all those people in Wymondham who have made clear their concerns about the development of King's Head Meadow and the need for a vision for Wymondham to guide planning decisions.

'I am delighted that the town council has listened to the level of public anger and I hope that allparties will now be able to work together to put together a plan for the town, providing the various facilities that we need.'

The motion has been proposed by town mayor Neil Ward and supported by councillors Mike Gibbins and Colin Foulger.

Mr Foulger said the pressure from residents at the Fairland Church meeting had led to the proposal to rescind the sale.

He said no contract had been signed to sell the land to ASDA and if the motion was passed the sale would definitely not go ahead.

As part of the sale the football club would have been given a new ASDA-funded ground at Ketts Park, but Mr Foulger said if the proposal was carried, the club would have to decide on its own future bearing in mind it still had time to run on its King's Head Meadow lease.

'The officers and the mayor and myself had a chat following the Fairland Church meeting and we felt that in the light of the residents's concerns we should call an EGM with a proposal to rescind the decision to enter into a conditional contract to sell the King's Head Meadow.'

Follow Dominic on Twitter @Barichel78.

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