New hope for Cromer Youth FC as its 30-year hunt for a home continues
A chunk of land and a five-figure sum look set to breathe new life into the 30-year quest by Cromer Youth footballers to find a permanent base.
Two months ago, the search appeared to have hit a wall when hope of setting up a base on land at Roughton Road dwindled.
But now a new piece of land could be on the horizon -and Cromer Town Council is set to salt away �60,000 over three years as a 'fighting fund' to support sports and youth provision.
The potential breakthrough was reported at Cromer Town Council on Monday - hours after 11 town and parish councils met at North Lodge in Cromer for a 'pan-parish' gathering to seek a way forward.
Representatives were there from councils in Mundesley, Northrepps, Swafield, Trunch, Trimingham. Felbrigg, Knapton, Antingham, Aylmerton, Overstrand and Cromer.
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Those present agreed to look into possible sites for the youth football club and other sports groups.
And soon after the meeting, one of the councillors called Cromer mayor Greg Hayman to say he had spoken to a landowner who had a parcel of land he would be willing to sell.
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The name of the landowner and location of the site remains confidential.
Later, at the town council meeting, members agreed to look into setting aside �20,000 for each of the next three years for the 'fighting fund'.
Mr Hayman said: 'It's all very well us saying we support Cromer Youth, but they're not going to get land unless somebody helps them purchase it.
'The only way we can do that is to identify money to purchase land.'
He added that any development could one day include space for rugby, Cromer Town FC and even Cromer Cricket Club - both of which had leases on their home grounds that were running out.
As a result of the developments, the members voted to not hold a planned public meeting on the issue.
Chirs Lightfoot, Cromer Youth chairman said: 'It looks very positive at the moment. We are very grateful to Mr Hayman for his help and look forward to seeing something happen for the good of Cromer.
'There are still things that could be an issue, but we are looking forward with cautious optimism.'
The new twist moves the focus away from the future of Cromer Town FC.
At one stage it looked as if the Sterry Cup-winning club would have to move off its historic Cabbell Park ground on Mill Road in January next year under a quirky clause of its lease which ends 21 years after the death of the last surviving relative of King Edward VII.
Mr 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.
But the earl has now died too, at the age of 88, meaning the 21-year countdown appears to have begun again.
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 youth football club was keen to join forces with the relocation, to end its 30-year search for a ground in its home town – instead of teams having to play in outlying villages.