WISBECH: Tough conditions revealed in small print of Wisbech Town planned move
PUBLISHED: 15:49 01 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:27 02 June 2010
EXCLUSIVE By JOHN ELWORTHY CLOSER scrutiny of the small print and especially the late realisation of an extra condition from Fenland District Council could see football continue at Fenland Park, Wisbech, for some time to come. Fans expectation of a spee
By JOHN ELWORTHY
CLOSER scrutiny of the small print and especially the late realisation of an extra condition from Fenland District Council could see football continue at Fenland Park, Wisbech, for some time to come.
Fans' expectation of a speedy move to a new stadium in Lynn Road were dashed as club officials and the Lerowe Road ground's new owners, Purple Properties, conceded they have a mountain to climb before a move is possible.
Not only will Wisbech Town FC have to meet 19 conditions imposed by West Norfolk Council before they can set up shop just outside of the Cambridgeshire border, but it's the condition attached by Fenland Council to the sale of Lerowe Road that will prove the most challenging.
When Fenland planners agreed that Lerowe Road could be developed for 83 homes - 29 of them classed as affordable to meet a local housing shortage- they insisted that the new stadium is built before a single brick can be laid on the current ground.
Last November, in an email to West Norfolk Council that largely passed unnoticed, Fenland's principal planning officer Stephanie Thompson reminded them of the condition.
She confirmed that Fenland had no objection to the new ground but told her counterpart at Kings Lynn that she would be "drawing up a section 106 agreement to tie the relocation of the football club and residential development." In other words, new ground first then new houses.
Not only is the club faced with that challenge, but they also must produce noise assessments, a lighting scheme, water and drainage proposals and, the most costly of all, pay for off-site highway improvement works in advance.
Even landscape and parking proposals must be submitted and agreed before work starts but it is the ninth condition that could prove the most damaging if they hope to attract investors for their new clubhouse.
West Norfolk Council has insisted "the stadium and associated facilities shall only be open between the hours of 07.00 and 22.00 hours, Monday to Saturday, and 07.00 and 17.00 hours on Sundays."
As the club's agent, Peter Humphrey, pointed out this week: "Yes, as it stands I can see a cup replay 2-2 into extra time, penalty shoot out and the clock strikes 10.00. Floor lights off, lock changing room doors!"
He added: "No, the club is not happy with the time condition. We will discuss how to play this."
So football will live on for next season at Lerowe Road, although, as football correspondent Adam Lazzari reports on page 87, it hasn't stopped a tribute to Fenland Park being staged tomorrow.
Legends from the past will parade in front of fans- but a farewell to Fenland Park it most certainly will not be.
The champagne for that moment in the club's history will, for now, remain unopened.
4353: Site of the new Wisbech Town ground
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