Wymondham Rugby Club’s relocation dreams dashed for a second time

Wymondham rugby club committee, members, supporters outside South Norfolk District CouncilChairman A

Wymondham rugby club committee, members, supporters outside South Norfolk District CouncilChairman Andrew Kilby and President Peter Barry.Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Wymondham Rugby Club has had its relocation scheme blocked for a second time.

South Norfolk Council originally refused Wymondham Rugby Club's plans to move from their current ground on Tuttles Lane to a new site off Melton Road in January.

The scheme would have seen 90 homes built on the Tuttles Lane land and 300 more on Norwich Common.

Despite the refusal, the club appealed and submitted the bid a second time.

Yesterday, at a special meeting of South Norfolk Council's planning committee, councillors unanimously blocked the plans for a second time, citing the strain on school places and the erosion of a gap between Wymondham and Hethersett as the reasons.

During the meeting, councillor Christopher Kemp said: 'It is necessary for us to balance the interests of the whole community.

'We articulate the views of the community - and the community wants us to maintain this gap between Wymondham and Hethersett.'

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The club has already been granted planning permission to move to the Norwich Common site, which falls in the so-called strategic gap, but say the land off Melton Road is more suitable.

Andrew Kilby, chairman of the club, said: 'Clearly we're hugely disappointed - this is not the decision we hoped for and it's not the way to build a legacy from the Rugby World Cup.

'It's an opportunity wasted to create the fantastic sports facility that our club badly needs and all of south Norfolk would benefit from - and all at no cost to the public.'

The club, which says the current facilities are outdated and tired, now has its hopes pinned on the appeal, which is due to be heard in February.

Twenty four objections were sent to the council - centring on road and drainage concerns among other issues - while 44 letters of support were received.

What do you think of the council's decision? Email reporter Lauren Cope on lauren.cope@archant.co.uk