War of words over future of Cromer football club
Fears have been raised for the future of Cromer Town Football Club as a result of contentious plans for a new medical centre at its Cabbell Park ground.
The stark plight facing the club, which was founded in 1884, was made clear at an emergency meeting last night.
Football chiefs warned that the Anglian Combination team, nicknamed The Crabs, may have played its last game unless new funding is found before the start of the season.
It follows an anticipated detailed planning application for a new medical centre to be built on the ground, fronting Mill Road.
The team's club house will need to be demolished to make way for the medical centre.
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Speaking at last night's meeting chairman Paul Jarvis warned this would result in the club losing around £13,000 a year from hosting events.
Uncertainty over whether the club could continue to hold car boot sales at the ground would put a further another £8,000 of income at risk it was claimed.
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However, North Norfolk District Council, which is responsible for the site, insists 'everything possible' is being done to secure the future of the club. Mr Jarvis said: 'We have from now until the end of next month to get the situation resolved, if not the club will have to call an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the future. We have got just six weeks before we need to make a decision.
'If there is someone to take over the running of the club to ensure there are sufficient funds to run it we would welcome it.'
The club, which has been in existence for more than 130 years, has been based at Cabbell Park since 1922.
Cromer Mayor Tim Adams pledged to fight to save the football club.
He said: 'This is not acceptable position, I am sure people would mourn the loss of the football club, it is the longest surviving institution in the town apart from church and RNLI.'
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 clubs, plus other sports groups.
Work is under way to shift the football pitch within the site to make way for the medical centre. The new pitch will be ready for use in mid-August.
A provisional date of September 1 had been set for making the land available for the development.
The district council says it is investing £55,000 at Cabbell Park to ensure the football club can continue to use the facility. The money includes £35,000 to relocate the pitch and £20,000 for new a officials' changing room.
Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'We have done everything possible to help secure the future of Cromer Town Football Club.
'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.'