June 18 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 17, 2012
A car park for football fans which has emerged at a historic former cricket ground is being investigated by council officials.
Signs directing Norwich City and West Ham United supporters to the former Lakenham Sports and Leisure Centre lined the roadside from Martineau Lane, near County Hall, to Cricket Ground Road, on Saturday.
Supporters were being offered a parking space for £3 – half the £6 cost of parking at County Hall.
But Norwich City Council has confirmed it is investigating if the land can be used to provide this service under its current planning conditions.
A city council officer was spotted examining the area on Saturday.
A council spokesman said: “You would need planning permission or change of use to operate that as a car park and there is no such planning permission or change of use permission.
“If they are operating that, we would have to do something about that and, indeed, we are investigating.”
The land is owned by the SPC Group, whose chairman Andre Serruys, pictured, said the company is not operating the land as a car park. He added their “aspirations for the site are clear”.
Mr Serruys said: “Notwithstanding, if, in the interim, the site is utilised for car parking (by others) we do not believe this contravenes planning regulations.”
The former cricket ground was home to Norfolk cricket for nearly 175 years.
But recently it had been earmarked to include 65 properties, plus public open space or allotments, in the council’s house-building plans for Norwich.
SPC’s proposal was dropped by the authority in July after the cabinet suggested, among other reasons, there would be a loss of open space.
Mr Serruys has previously said there could be no loss of open public space as none currently exists, while his company’s plans aim to provide more than two acres.