Council chief defends controversial plans for Cromer Town FC
Contentious plans to site a new medical centre at a football ground can provide a win-win solution for health and sport in Cromer, a council chief has insisted.
Fears have been voiced for the future of the town's football club if the medical centre moves on to its Cabbell Park ground.
However, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) corporate director Steve Blatch believes the plan is key to unlocking cash for a new community sports hub.
Money from the sale of a section of the site, which is owned by the council, will be ring-fenced for a new football facility at the former golf practice ground on Overstrand Road.
Mr Blatch argues this presents the best outcome with the sports centre providing up to six pitches and improved facilities for youth and adult football.
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'The council wishes to work with Cromer FC to secure its financial position into the future,' said Mr Blatch.
'The sale price from Cabbell Park is not insubstantial and will support our acquisition of the Overstrand Road site. The new sports ground would be similar to those at Fakenham and Aylsham, on the edge of town with modern purpose-built facilities.'
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He added: 'I would like to think this will be available within a five-year window and we have already had initial expressions of interest from other local sports clubs.'
One of the oldest institutions in Cromer, the football club, nicknamed the Crabs, was founded in 1884.
An emergency meeting held earlier this month heard the demolition of the clubhouse to make way for the medical centre would result in the loss of £13,000 a year from hosting events.
The district council has pledged to allow the football club to remain on site until alternative facilities are available.
Work on the new Cromer Group Practice centre is set to start later this year.
Mr Blatch said: 'This will be a facility for the future and current population of Cromer with an investment of £3.5m in primary health care facilities. It will increase intervention around diabetes and other healthcare issues.'
What do you think about the plans? Write to EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk giving your full name, address and contact details.