Public meeting plan to resolve Cromer’s football ground wrangle

The idea of a town referendum to end the impasse between Cromer's adult and youth football clubs has been kicked into the long grass after a public meeting on the issue was agreed.

Cromer Town Council voted to hold the meeting in a bid to make progress towards finding a home for Cromer Youth FC and to gauge views about Cromer Town's role.

The two clubs are involved in a impasse that centres on the future of Cromer Town's current home - Cabbell Park on Mill Road.

At one stage it looked as if the Sterry Cup-winning club would have to move off its historic ground in January next year under a quirky clause of its lease which ends it 21 years after the death of the last surviving relative of King Edward VII.

Town mayor Greg Hayman, however, uncovered another relative, the Earl of Harewood, which meant the lease run-down had not yet been actioned – a claim being checked out by legal experts.

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But the earl has now died too, at the age of 88, meaning the 21-year countdown appears to have begun again.

At last Monday's town council meeting, the issue was on the agenda once more as councillors looked for a way forward.

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Keith Johnson called for a town referendum, on the understanding that the two sides would abide by the public vote.

Tony Nash said: 'While I support that, I would have concerns about the legalities of the community voting to empower anything to go ahead.'

Jim Bond said it was 'asking for trouble'. He said: 'I agree with the sentiment, but I don't think this is the way to do it. A referendum is likely to lead to false expectations.'

He proposed that the council organised a public meeting to allow people to air their views and 'progress it'.

The council agreed to the proposal and asked the clerk, Julie Chance, to organise it.

North Norfolk District Council has already brokered meetings and discussions between all the parties in a bid to find a way forward.

The football club has voiced reluctance to move off Cabbell Park fearing an out-of-town site offered on Roughton Road was not viable.

The local doctors' surgery was hoping to relocate to the current ground – a development which would have helped finance the relocation – but is now looking for other sites because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the ground.

The town's youth football club was keen to join forces with the relocation, to end its 30-year search for a ground in its home ground – instead of teams having to play in outlying villages.

? Cromer Youth FC chairman Chris Lightfoot told the meeting that the club's recent 'home' tournament at Madra in Knapton last month had attracted more than 2,000 people. He said teams from the town's twin towns of Crest in France and Nidda in Germany had been invited to next year's tournament, and Nidda was 'very positive' about it

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