Relief as sale of recreation land for Wymondham Asda scrapped

A bittersweet mood filled the air at a Norfolk community centre last night after councillors withdrew controversial plans to allow an area of recreation land to be developed as a supermarket.

Wymondham residents packed into Ketts Park Community Recreation Centre to hear town councillors agree to rescind resolutions passed in September to allow the council-owned Kings Head Meadow to be developed for use as a supermarket and for the land to be sold to Asda as the preferred developer.

However, although the residents, including members of the Wymondham Asks Why (WAW) action group opposed to the store plans, applauded the decision, many felt disappointed the proposal had reached the point where a large schism had arisen in the town, pitting residents against councillors who they believed were representing them.

The WAW group had fought a long campaign to protect the meadow, home to Wymondham Town FC and children's play facilities, from development and had called for a public consultation to be held before any decision to sell the land was taken.

WAW chairman Andy Gardiner told the councillors they had failed to maintain the standards of public service provided by previous town councillors and called on the town's mayor Neil Ward to seek the resignations of councillors who had supported the store plans. However, Mr Ward said he had no power to seek the resignations of fellow councillors.

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Following the meeting, Mr Gardiner said: 'Wymondham residents should now fight for a full independent enquiry into the whole affair. A vast majority of the Town Council members positions are untenable and they should start the healing process in Wymondham by resigning and resigning now.'

His fellow WAW member Derek Ward recalled once playing football on the meadow and wanted the land to be preserved for future generations to use for sport.

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He said: 'I think we have come a long way round to get to where we should have been in the first place. I think all the bad feeling could have been prevented if the town council had consulted the public in the first place.'

South Norfolk councillor Joseph Mooney, who represents Wymondham, had also fought for the public to be consulted.

He said: 'I am extremely pleased with this result. It is great news for the town and the residents have fought a fantastic campaign and they deserve all the praise for a great result.'

As part of the sale the football club would have been given a new ASDA-funded ground at Ketts Park, but Mr Foulger said if the proposal was carried, the club would have to decide on its own future bearing in mind it still had time to run on its King's Head Meadow lease.

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