Walks in line for a facelift
Paddy Davitt West Norfolk Council has allocated �100,000 to help upgrade The Walks stadium.Cabinet member Elizabeth Nockolds confirmed council chiefs were still committed to assisting the new football club to complete necessary building work at the ground.
West Norfolk Council has allocated �100,000 to help upgrade The Walks stadium.
Cabinet member Elizabeth Nockolds confirmed council chiefs were still committed to assisting the new football club to complete necessary building work at the ground.
The former regime was demoted last summer after failing a Football Conference ground grading but Nockolds yesterday reiterated funds are in place for new Lynn FC chairman Buster Chapman.
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“The cabinet did meet on Tuesday and there is �100,000 in the budget,” said councillor Nockolds, cabinet member for sports, arts and open spaces. “We did agree to work in partnership with whoever took on the lease to help them to improve areas like the changing rooms and toilet facilities.
“We have previously done the lighting and addressed electrical safety issues around the ground in recent months. That money was in the budget and we have agreed as a cabinet for it to be used in the same way.
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“In terms of the timing of when the work would take place that would be something we have to discuss with Mr Chapman to make sure everything is as good as it should be by the start of the new season. On our selection panel during this process was the chief executive of the Norfolk FA and he agreed if the changing rooms were improved the ground itself should be more or less up to spec.”
Councillor Nockolds confirmed Chapman's business track record and his community initiatives were key factors in the council's final decision.
“It's been a difficult decision as we had strong proposals from both the Blue and Gold Supporters' club and Keith Chapman's Lynn FC,” she said. “We selected Lynn FC because we believe their submission encompassed all the elements we were looking for. We were particularly impressed with their strong business focus and their knowledge and experience of running a successful stadium-based sports business. We were also impressed with their commitment to grass-roots football and their wish to develop and strengthen the Football in the Community Scheme.
“As a borough council we want to actively work with young people and this indirectly should help produce future players for the club. They have put together a strong line-up of individuals to take the club forward which gives us confidence for the future of football at the stadium.”
Councillor Nockolds revealed during the selection process officials had raised the possibility of both groups working in tandem. “We asked the question whether they would consider having supporters on board and Mr Chapman said they would like to have monthly forums with the fans,” she said. “In other words that proved to us as a council they wanted to work with the fans. We also asked Mr Chapman if he would think about having someone, perhaps not a councillor, but a person who could oversee and give them some advice. They do, after all, lease the ground from us as a council and we tried to have that similar link with the previous directors.
“I'm not a great football supporter, I must be honest, but even I have found it very strange for the town not to have a football club. I've lived in this area all my life and it has been strange at the weekends so it will be great for everyone in King's Lynn again.”