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King's Lynn Town Football Club hopes to score concert consent

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It's usually the ball hitting the net that attracts the biggest cheers at the Walks, but could that soon change?

Proposals have been submitted which, if given the go-ahead, appear to pave the way for concerts to take place on the home turf of King's Lynn Town Football Club.

Planning permission is being sought for a change of use of the ground "to allow non-football related entertainment events to be held on the premises for up to four time[s] in one year".

The Walks Stadium, home of King's Lynn Town FC, and maybe soon a concert venue. Picture: Ian Burt. (43759391)
The Walks Stadium, home of King's Lynn Town FC, and maybe soon a concert venue. Picture: Ian Burt. (43759391)

Written elements of the application to West Norfolk Council do not offer further detail on the nature of the proposal.

But a proposed site plan, which has been published on the borough council's planning website, indicates a stage being set up at the Tennyson Road end of the pitch, with a broader staging area around it, and the rest of the playing surface designated as a "viewing area".

Music events are already staged in the ground's Blue and Gold Sports Bar with two more scheduled for the coming weeks.

But club chairman Stephen Cleeve this afternoon sought to play down the prospect of outdoor gigs taking place at the stadium in the near future.

He said: "What we're trying to do is have a concert for Festival Too at the club.

"It's not for this year. Nothing is happening this summer."

Festival Too, the long-established free music event traditionally held over three weekends in King's Staithe Square and the Tuesday Market Place, is expected to return this summer, having been cancelled in each of the last two years because of coronavirus.

But the event's chairman, Abbie Panks said: "We have not spoken to the Football Club, nor do we have any plans whatsoever for moving Festival Too there, so I'm not sure where that information has come from."

The council's website states the authority received the football club application on March 15 and validated it yesterday.

Consultations are now underway and the council has indicated it aims to reach a decision on the application by June 2.

The use of sports grounds as outdoor concert venues has become increasingly common in recent years as clubs seek other means of boosting their revenues, particularly in non-playing periods.

Both Norwich City and Peterborough United have hosted concerts at their Carrow Road and London Road homes respectively, while live music has also been a popular addition to the calendar at Newmarket Racecourse.

Several international cricket grounds have also branched out into hosting music events as a means of helping to fund major renovation of their venues to attract Test and other high-profile matches.

But some have proved controversial with complaints from local residents about noise and an excessive number of shows and matches taking place.

Details of the new application emerged as the Linnets' team prepare for the next stage of their fight for National League survival, when they host Yeovil Town at the Walks tomorrow.

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