Lease means another century of football at The Walks in King’s Lynn

PUBLISHED: 13:21 08 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:21 08 October 2018

Ryan Hawkins (foreground) of King's Lynn Town FC heads towards goal during the first round FA Trophy match at Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead
Picture by Simon Moore

Ryan Hawkins (foreground) of King's Lynn Town FC heads towards goal during the first round FA Trophy match at Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead Picture by Simon Moore

©Focus Images Limited +447814 482222

The hallowed turf of The Walks will be the home of the Linnets for another 99 years.

After lengthy talks, a deal has been agreed between King’s Lynn Town FC and West Norfolk council. It means the club’s footballing future is secured and long-awaited improvements can be made to the ground.

Linnets chairman Stephen Cleeve said the club could now apply for grants it would not have been eligible for with 17 years of a 25-year lease remaining.

“At the moment we have a friendly council towards the football club but you never know what might change,” he said.

“We had 17 years of our lease left and if they decided to build houses on it we’d be out.

“It gives us more security as a football club. It’s not as secure as owning your own stadium but it’s the next best thing. It gives us some certainty in a world of uncertainty.”

Fans are delighted at the news. Lifelong supporter Jamie Heaphy said: “It’s good news that the club and council have agreed on a 99-year lease which helps safeguard The Walks as our home stadium.

“With the lease now in place the chairman can now move along with any plans he has for redevelopment and stadium improvement as I understand the smaller lease could potentially cause some issues should we want to apply for grants. As a fan of almost 30 years I don’t want to see us play anywhere but The Walks, the lease extension meaning this won’t be happening anytime soon.”

Fellow fan Sally Webb-Jones said: “Personally I think it’s good for the club. More stability.”

Linnet Mark Mortimer said: “Great news for the club and the town. The town needs a football club to be at the heart of the community.”

Supporter Matty Hannay said: “Credit to Stephen Cleeve and the council for coming to an agreement and securing the club’s future.”

Avid fan Dave Swinton said: “I think it’s a great thing for the club. The fan base is fantastic hundreds of fans turn up every home game to cheer on the lads even if they are not winning games they still turn up.”

Alistair Beales, West Norfolk council’s cabinet member for assets, said: “It’s worked out well, the football club is a very important part of the town and a lot of people support it.”

As part of the deal, the car park at the stadium will be tidied up and opened up for people visiting the park as well as the football ground.

Mr Beales said it was possible parking charges might be imposed on non-match days in the future.

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