May 19 2013 Latest news:
By STEVE DOWNES
Thursday, May 10, 2012
An “everyone’s a winner” deal could provide a breakthrough over Cromer’s football ground saga – and see a local surgery, adult and junior footballers all get their dream result.
Talks are ongoing to secure a deal that would see Cromer Group Practice relocated to the front of Cromer Town FC’s Cabbell Park ground, while the footballers would move their pitch to the back of the same site.
The deal could also see the practice handing over money to Cromer Youth to make up for the open space that would be lost – raising hopes that the youngsters could find and fund a permanent home after 30 years of frustration.
But the agreement is still in the balance and developer Medcentres, which is representing the practice, is believed to be resisting any call to compensate for the loss of open space.
The News also understands that the Cabbell Park trustees are reluctant to agree a key part of the deal - transferring the ground into the hands of North Norfolk District Council, which is claiming legal ownership.
They would rather hold out for a long-term guarantee that the ground will remain Cromer Town’s home, and the provision of replacement changing rooms and clubhouse facilities.
The potential solution comes despite continued disagreement about a quirky clause in the lease. As reported, the club was due to be evicted in January under a bit of small print which ended the tenancy 21 years after the death of King Edward VII’s last surviving relative, who was originally thought to be King Olav of Norway, who died in 1991.
But town mayor Greg Hayman has since discovered there was another relation, Lord Harewood, who died last year - potentially adding another two decades to the deadline to move out.
NNDC has received legal advice that the football club’s legal right to use the land has passed, and that the land is now in its legal ownership, but club officials have received contradictory advice saying they can remain until 2032.
A report to NNDC’s cabinet on Monday says the council has received an offer from Medcentres to buy part of Cabbell Park.
The park was bequeathed in 1922 by Evelyn Bond Cabbell, who wanted it to be a memorial to local residents killed in the first world war.
The report states that the clause in the agreement was triggered by King Olav’s death, and that the Cabbell Park trustees must hand over the deeds to NNDC when asked to do so.
Despite the ongoing difficulties, Cromer Town chairman Paul Jarvis was hopeful.
He said: “We are not opposed to the principle of Medcentres potentially purchasing a piece of the land, for which they would have to provide a replacement piece of open space, which could be used by the youth football club.
“There’s a lot of negotiations to go. We all want to move forward, and we do have the interests of the youth at heart as well.”
He added: “We still believe our legal advice that we have the right to stay here for another 20 years, but if all of our conditions are met and everyone’s a winner we are not going to fight over something that would become pretty much irrelevant.”
The group practice on Overstrand Road is keen to move onto Cabbell Park because its existing 40-year-old base is half the size needed for the 12,000 patients on its books.
A spokesman confirmed that discussions had taken place with the football club about sharing Cabbell Park, and added: “Should this happen, it would be a win-win situation for all concerned.”
Cromer Youth FC chairman Chris Lightfoot said the club was “still searching for a piece of land”, and asked landowners to contact him on 07423 015931 if they wanted to sell or lease some space.
He said he would not believe that any money would be handed to the club as part of the Cabbell Park deal “until it actually happened”.