Wisbech face another obstacle over ground plans
Chris Lakey Wisbech Town's plans to move to a new ground have hit another obstacle after they were slapped with a surprise five-figure bill.Club officials were hoping to complete the paperwork this week, but having been told that work on the access to the new site would cost �71,000, they were then told they would also have to fork out �37,414 for future maintenance.
Wisbech Town's plans to move to a new ground have hit another obstacle after they were slapped with a surprise five-figure bill.
Club officials were hoping to complete the paperwork this week, but having been told that work on the access to the new site would cost �71,000, they were then told they would also have to fork out �37,414 for future maintenance.
It's left club chairman Paul Brenchley fuming at what he calls another example of local authorities “dragging their heels” over the club's move away from Fenland Park and just over the border into Norfolk.
“To be honest, we knew the bill for the access work would be around the �70,000 mark, although that was perhaps a little high,” said Brenchley. “But we had no idea that the extra bill was coming. It was a shock, to say the least.”
Brenchley now has to go back to his board of directors to seek approval for the extra spending and admits it could compromise plans for the new ground, which is site just off the Lynn Road - less than a mile from their old ground.
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“It does mean that if we have to pay it p- and it seems that we will - something might have to go,” admitted Brenchley. “We have to look at different things, the dressing rooms, the community area and the caretaker's bungalow. The police said they would prefer it if someone lived on site, but it looks like that might have to go.
“It's just more money being whittled out of our coffers - and because we're in between grounds, we don't have any income.”
Planning permission for the new ground was granted in May last year and the club hoped to be playing at a new home sometime in the coming season, but that now looks likely to be shelved - meaning they could be staying at The Nest in Outwell for another year.
“This latest development could end up compromising us and what we are trying to do,” said Brenchley. “If the board says they won't pay it, that we can't afford to pay it, what happens to Wisbech Town FC? And will we have a ground that is up to Ridgeons League standard by the time it's all done?
“I've had my knuckles wrapped before over things I've said, but it seems we are no further forward. I don't know whether it's Norfolk County Council or West Norfolk Council, but it just seems that someone doesn't want us to move. I don't understand it.
“I know I'm angry about it.
“We have already handed over a �10,000 bond in December to draw up plans and another �1,000 a month ago for legal fees. We actually paid a firm from Peterborough �7,000 to draw up plans for us for the access, but while the council accepted them and gave us planning permission, they said they would have to do their own plans.
“Somewhere along the line someone keeps putting a spanner in the works.”