New twist in Cromer football ground saga

Campaigners keen to keep Cromer football club at its historic home may have found a paperwork loophole to achieve their goal.

The Anglian Combination league champions face being evicted from their Cabbell Park ground in January 2012 under a quirky lease clause linked to the royal family.

Back in 1922 land donor Evelyn Bond Cabbell of Cromer Hall asked for the land to passed back to the town 21 years after the death of King Edward VII's last grandchild King Olav, who died in 1991.

Moves have been afoot to relocate the club, reluctantly, to a new edge-of-town ground which would also house the local youth teams, currently scattered around a series of pitches. The move would be paid for by re-using part of the park for a new doctors' surgery and some housing.

But new mayor Greg Hayman, at his first meeting in the chair, revealed he thought there was still another living royal descendent.

The land deeds say the lease will expire 21 years after the death of all the descendents of King Edward VII 'now in being.'

Mr Hayman argued that the Earl of Harewood was unborn but was 'in being' as he was seven months in his mother's womb when the land gift was made. The lease would only revert 21 years after the 7th earl's death.

Most Read

He discovered the link through the royal editor of Burke's Peerage, the authoritative source for information on the family trees of the gentry - but it still

needed to be tested in law - he told town councillors.

Mr Hayman also said it was clear the ground had been given as a first world war memorial which meant it could not be tampered with. The area was gifted for the benefit of Cromer and the spirit of the donation should be honoured.

'The football club is not happy with the arrangements to move out of town. We will bring a motion to the next council meeting to fight to keep the club in Cromer,' he added.

'I believe that land belongs to Cromer not the district council and we should assert our right over it to keep Cromer Town fooball club in Cromer, not move it to another parish at Roughton, which would be detrimental to its long history in the town.'

After the meeting he said looked into the matter after it was raised by many people during the recent council election campaigns, and he was surprised about the lack of fight to keep the club in the town.

North Norfolk District Council , which has been brokering talks between the various parties involved in the long-running ground saga, has already stressed that experts say the ground will revert to the district council, not the town, like all other assets of former urban district councils under the 1974 local government reorganisation.

Chief executive Philip Burton said the council was more concerned with moving the matter forward. An internal working group was due to re-look at the issue next week, and all the parties would be invited to another meeting soon.

Since the last session officials had been looking at alternative sites, and come to the conclusion Roughton Road - being offered by Benjie Cabbell Manners - was the only one available. The agents looking at the surgery move were also assessing the costings and values involved to see if there was any shortfall, he added.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter