Wymondham football club escapes eviction at heated council meeting as final extension for new lease is agreed
- Credit: Archant 2013
A football club has been given a one-week extension to sign a new lease, after a councillor stepped in to save them from eviction.
At a full council meeting on Tuesday, Wymondham Town Council withdrew their lease offer, claiming Wymondham Town Football Club (WTFC) had failed to meet the final deadline by one day.
It seemed to signal eviction for the club and dozens of supporters at the heated meeting voiced their frustration, with some accusing the council of forcing the club out.
But they were thrown a lifeline when councillor Doug Underwood proposed one final extension, giving the club a further week to sign on the dotted line.
'If we are only talking about one day, I don't see the difference it makes to the council,' he said. 'I would like to propose that we offer them the grace of that day.'
Councillor Tony Holden suggested it be extended to close of play next Tuesday, a deadline the club, which has been in the town for 133 years, said they would be able to meet.
The row over the lease has rumbled on for months, with solicitors trying to agree on various terms. The latest issue centred on the receipt of an email confirming guarantors, which the club say was sent on Friday, two days before the Sunday deadline.
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But the council says it was received on Monday morning.
During the discussions, WTFC has accused the council of refusing to negotiate, something the council denies.
At Tuesday's meeting, club chairman Andy Gardiner asked: 'Has the council got any words of reassurance that the actual motivation is not to get rid of the football club?'
Mr Gardiner also said he had been told the council hoped to evict WTFC to use their clubhouse as new town council offices, something, at the meeting, councillor Chris Longhurst denied saying, but admitted could be a possibility.
The council has always denied the claim.
As members of the public grew angry, Mr Underwood also said: 'We all understand that emotions run high with this, but it is important to be respectful and the name-calling does not help anyone.'
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