What’s next for North Walsham football club, after council decision?
- Credit: Archant
Club bosses in North Walsham have admitted they don't have a 'contingency plan', after planners refused a new 200-home development in the town which held the key to a new football ground.
North Walsham Town Football Club (NWTFC) wants to relocate to a larger site where it can focus all its activities in one place and provide greatly improved facilities.
That dream looked set to become a reality when a planning application for 200 houses on the land to the south of the club's existing ground on Greens Road included a proposal to provide 16 acres of land to the club further along Cromer Road.
But North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) development committee refused the application, as per its officers' recommendation, on Thursday, March 16.
Alex Brady, the club's chairman, said afterwards: 'The next step is to reassess the options available to us. We will take advice from the local FA.
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'We don't have a contingency plan, but the club's not in jeopardy. We've got a 15-year lease on the current site.
'We're hoping this one-time opportunity has not gone for good, but it's back to the drawing board.'
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Meanwhile, Berni Marfleet, who called for the application to be refused due to traffic concerns, was happy with the decision.
He said: 'Obviously, we're very pleased that members listened to our concerns. We recognise that affordable homes are needed in the town, but they should be in a safe environment where people can live.'
Mr Marfleet led a protest march through the town last week against the plans for the homes, between Aylsham and Greens Road on the western edge of the town.
Councillors at the meeting expressed sympathy for the football club, but said it was a 'premature' development that could jeopardise the future growth of the town. Several also argued that the site was in the countryside, and that more affordable homes were needed in the proposal.
The meeting was told the council had the required five-year housing supply. North Walsham Town Council also objected to the application. Holly Bryant, an agent for applicant, MLN (Land and Properties) Ltd, said they would now discuss what to do next.