Four sites for potential new Cromer sports complex and football club ground revealed

Cabbell Park in Cromer. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Cabbell Park in Cromer. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Four sites to re-home Cromer's football club have been earmarked by officials in a bid to end a long-running saga.

The move comes as the town surgery gets ready to submit its plans to move to the historic Cabbell Road ground – whose future has been mired in controversy over historic pledges about the land's use.

Out of 16 possible sites in and around the Cromer parish for an improved community sports facility, four have been shortlisted which could go under public scrutiny – if North Norfolk District Council's cabinet back the idea on Monday.

The sites are all a minimum of 10 acres and are to the east and west of Roughton Road, south of KartTrak on The Avenue in Northrepps and the former golf practice ground off Overstrand Road.

Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'I see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to strengthen the wishes of the original donor to improve facilities for the people of Cromer, in particular the youth football club.'

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He added Cabbell Park was intended to be used by everyone but Mr FitzPatrick said there were currently 200 youth football club players in Cromer who could not play matches in the town on Saturdays or Sundays.

He added: 'It was never intended that Cabbell Park was solely for Cromer Town FC. Cabbell Park is the ground that Cromer Town FC uses, it is not Cromer FC's ground. We are very keen to make sure the needs of Cromer Town youth clubs and other sports are not only accommodated for but there are better facilities for everyone.'

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He said the farmland and golf sites were well-related to Cromer and were judged on their suitability to hold a multi-purpose sports site including two adult pitches, or a number of smaller pitches, a club house and changing areas, car parking and space for expansion.

'We are not bothered about who owns the plots,' Mr FitzPatrick added.

Other sports clubs, including North Norfolk Hockey Club and the North Norfolk Beachrunners could potentially use the £1.2m new sports hub, which would take between three-five years to establish - and would need to get planning permission.

It is understood a pre-application consultation for Cromer Group Practice's planned move from its cramped Overstrand Road centre to a new one on Cabbell Park will be made public over the next few weeks.

Steve Blatch, council corporate director, said: 'We see merits of the new doctors' surgery for the expanding population.'

Mr Blatch said consultation on the four sites would start within weeks and results in June or July.

It will also have to invite comments to lift the open space restriction on Cabbell Park, breaking an historic covenant.

The park was given to the people of Cromer in 1922 by landowner Evelyn Bond Cabbell.

If the new medical practice goes ahead the football pitch could be moved slightly in the short term, until a new ground is ready.

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