Fears over future of sport in Cromer as town’s football club faces fight to survive
- Credit: Archant
Time is running out to save one of the oldest institutions in Cromer.
And fears have been voiced that, if Cromer Town Football Club is allowed to fold, it could spell the end for sport in the town.
Cromer mayor Tim Adams spoke out as uncertainty continues to surround the future of the club after North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) revealed it planned to sell a piece of its home ground for a new medical centre at Cabbell Park to help pay for a new sports hub in the town.
And he urged the community to rally round in support.
The town councillor has asked the local authority for written confirmation that the football club will not be forced to move and given them 20 days to reply.
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Mr Adams said: 'We want to make sure everything is done so the club can survive. The community needs to stand behind the football club as I believe this will have wider implications for the future of sport in Cromer.
'It isn't just about football, it's our culture, heritage and history. The football club has been going in excess of 120 years, it's very important to our future.
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'My worry is, if we lose the football club, a few years down the line the district council won't see the need for the so-called sports hub and the youth will also miss out.'
But he added: 'I'm desperate to see it saved and I think the district council can turn this around.'
Football chiefs have warned that the Almary Green Anglian Combination, Premier Division club, nicknamed the Crabs, could go out of existence if funding is not urgently found.
An emergency meeting last week heard the demolition of its clubhouse would result in the club losing around £13,000 a year from hosting events.
Speaking at this week's meeting of Cromer Town Council, the football club's general manager, Les Frary said: 'All we need to survive is our clubhouse and an extension to our license to hold car boot sales. But NNDC are going to take away all the things we need to survive as a football club. They will wipe us out with the stroke of a pen.
The district council is negotiating with the owner of the former golf practice ground, on Overstrand Road, which it hopes to convert into a sports hub for the town's adult and youth football teams.
NNDC says it is investing £55,000 at Cabbell Park to ensure the football club can continue playing at the ground. The money includes £35,000 to relocate the pitch and £20,000 for new a officials' changing room at Cromer Academy.
Chairman Paul Jarvis said the council could not guarantee that car boot sales would continue on the site, costing the club an additional £8,000 a year. That claim has been refuted by the authority, which insists they can carry on.
NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'I am very concerned that North Norfolk District Council's position has apparently been misrepresented at the recent football club meeting, to which we were not invited.
'If we had been present, we could have set out the correct position of the district council, and very clearly restated to the club and its supporters that we have actually been fully supportive both in terms of money and our time.'