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Petition to save archery club from council enforcement exceeds 1,100 signatures

PUBLISHED: 14:54 10 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:54 10 July 2019

Jon Hancock, founder of Holt Woodland Archery and Air Gun Club. Picture: Archant

Jon Hancock, founder of Holt Woodland Archery and Air Gun Club. Picture: Archant

Archant

A petition calling on North Norfolk District Council to ditch enforcement action against an archery club has received more than 1,000 signatures in less than a week.

Holt Woodland Archery and Air Gun Club, which has been ordered to shut down. Picture: ArchantHolt Woodland Archery and Air Gun Club, which has been ordered to shut down. Picture: Archant

The council has ordered Holt Archery and Air Gun Club, which is nestled in 11-acres of woodland in High Kelling, to close down in a row over planning permission.

The club, which is based on private land, was formed nine years ago by Jon Hancock, and is known for providing a sanctuary for ex-military personnel - among others.

However, following noise complaints from those living nearby, the council has decided to take action against the club, arguing it requires planning permission to operate.

But in the last week, a petition against the enforcement has been set up and by Tuesday morning had been signed by 1,176 people and counting.

Mr Hancock, who set up the club to help him with his own wellbeing, said: "I'm truly humbled by the level of support I have received in the past week.

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"I don't particularly like too much attention myself, but people have said such kind things - it's humbling."

Mr Hancock has lodged an appeal against the enforcement with the Planning Inspectorate, in hope of being able to continue running the club.

He added: "I've never run the place as a business and have spent a lot of time making it what it is, so to be honest it all seems a bit churlish."

Meanwhile, a former Holt councillor has also written to the council urging them to reconsider.

Michael Baker, who represented the ward on North Norfolk District Council, wrote: "Here we have a privately-funded operation which carries out an excellent job on behalf of our ex-servicemen - a job which should be funded by the taxpayer - and which the district council sees fit to destroy.

"When I was a councillor we bent the rules for the greater good."

A spokesman for NNDC said: "As a council, we do not believe we have ever "bent rules" on such issues and it is important the public has faith in the fairness, proportionality and transparency in all our process, including planning.

"On that basis, as an active case, it is not appropriate to add any further information other than to confirm it continues to work with Mr Hancock as the planning enforcement appeal proceeds."

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