Football club likely to stay in Wroxham

One of Norfolk's top football clubs looked increasingly likely to stay in its home village last night as officials vowed to try to extend the lease on the current ground.

One of Norfolk's top football clubs looked increasingly likely to stay in its home village last night as officials vowed to try to extend the lease on the current ground.

There were fears that Wroxham FC could be forced to move to a neighbouring parish after a planning application to switch to a new site in the village was rejected by Broadland District Council.

With the lease on their Trafford Park ground down to seven years, Broadland District Council has drawn up a list of 13 possible sites - as far away as Aylsham and Sprowston.

But last night, club trustees and officials released a statement saying they were now looking to stay put. Kenny Cooke, writing on behalf of the club, said: "Our main objective now is to try and get an extension to our current lease, which has seven years to run with our landlord Trafford Estates.


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"Discussions are actually taking place at present to try and get us out of this predicament."

Club officials were seeking to move to Salhouse Road in Wroxham because of doubts over whether the ground owners would extend the Trafford Park lease.

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In the letter, they said the extension was required because the FA had brought in new ground regulations that required upgraded facilities for Ridgeons League clubs like Wroxham by the 2007-8 season.

Mr Cooke said: "Grants are available, but to be able to apply we must have at least 10 years on our lease.

"Without this grant the club would not be able to afford the improvements. If this proves to be the case then the worst scenario would be that we would have to move to a lower league."

He also said Wroxham FC - which won six Eastern CountiesLeague titles in the 1990s - would have struggled to finance a move.

He said: "While we would all like a new ground, the matter of finance has to be taken into account and a figure of £1.5-£1.7m has been quoted to build a ground with community use.

"While we are aware that certain grants are available for such projects it would still leave the club having to find a considerable amount of money that we don't have."

Mr Cooke added: "Most clubs are struggling to keep themselves on an even keel, with smaller gates that are not helped by the ever-increasing coverage of live football on TV and the expenses for the officials averaging £150 a match in our league."

The district council initially backed the scheme at Salhouse Road.

But a planning inspector objected to the land being earmarked for such a development, and councillors eventually agreed to delete the scheme from the Local Plan.

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