Stadium future in jeopardy

A SENIOR council official s conclusion that Wisbech Town s proposed £1.2million new stadium would be a major blot on the landscape could be the knockout blow that destroys the whole project. The club wants to leave its stadium in Lerowe Road and build a

A SENIOR council official's conclusion that Wisbech Town's proposed £1.2million new stadium would be "a major blot on the landscape" could be the knockout blow that destroys the whole project.

The club wants to leave its stadium in Lerowe Road and build a new stadium on the off Lynn Road, just Norfolk side of the Cambridgeshire/Norfolk border.

Gemma Cousins, a conservation and landscape officer with West Norfolk Borough Council, says the sheer scale of the stadium "coupled with the light pollution from the floodlights would cause a major blot on the landscape".

And she adds: "As this is a very flat landscape, the visual effects of this would be greater."

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Her comments come on top of a new report from Mike Houldsworth, landscape officer for the council, who says the stadium "would be a major visual intrusion into the Fenland landscape".

In a final report to council before the delayed decision is taken - expected to be next month - Mr Houldsworth is recommending the scheme be refused.

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"It would be difficult to screen to any extent with landscape planting. There is little room for this to be done on the layout shown," he says. "In itself the landscaping would not be a very natural feature in the flat landscape. Walsoken already has a number of large intrusive industrial buildings and this development would add to the poor quality of the urban fringe and rural landscape."

Mr Houldsworth adds: "Whilst there is no major loss of trees as a result of the development, there is loss of Fenland landscape. I recommend refusal on the basis of landscape impact which I can see no way to mitigate.

"It is the site location that is the problem."

A council spokesman said the delay in determining the application "has been agreed with the football club's agents to allow specific issues to be further investigated".

No Football Club representative was available for comment.

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