Fears raised over future of Aylsham Recreation Ground

Smile Park, part of Aylsham Rec.

Smile Park, part of Aylsham Rec. - Credit: Colin Finch

Fears have been raised about the future of a historic and much-loved town recreation ground.

Aylsham Recreation Ground has been used by thousands of people of all ages for sport and play since it was bequeathed to the town by the Goulder family after the First World War.

But the recent opening of the £2m Youngs Park on the other side of the town has prompted questions about the viability of the Rec.

The questions were voiced at Aylsham Town Council after the recreation ground committee asked for £48,000 to be put into its budget for park maintenance.

The town council is the ground's custodian trustee, while the recreation committee is the managing trustee. Councillor and recreation committee member Barry Lancaster said that the ground on Sir Williams Lane was 'grossly un-utilised'. And councillors said the money needed for maintenance did not match the income generated.

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One of the main reasons for concern is because Aylsham Football Club no longer plays at the Rec, as it has a new home at Youngs Park on Cawston Road.

After the meeting Harriet Lumb, acting chairman of the recreation committee, disagreed that the ground was 'grossly un-utilised' and said: 'The recreation ground has never existed to make money – it is a town asset and therefore maintained largely with public funds.

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'However, ideally, I would love to see the recreation ground start to generate more income and this is certainly something at the front of my mind as we move into 2016.'

The current facilities at the ground include several football pitches, a cricket ground, a tennis pitch and Smile Park.

Do you think the Rec has a future? Email hayley.johnston@archant.co.uk

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