Talks on King’s Lynn football stadium lease ‘not being held in secret’

The Walks stadium home of King's Lynn Town Football Club
The Walks stadium home of King's Lynn Town Football Club

Talks for a potential renegotiation of the lease of the Walks Stadium are “not being held in secret”, a West Norfolk councillor has said.

It comes after the matter, relating to the home of King’s Lynn Town Football Club, which is owned by West Norfolk Council, was discussed at a meeting of the full council on Thursday.

Alistair Beales, cabinet member for corporate projects and assets, said it was important to find the balance between taxpayer interests and the commercial interests of the club.

At the meeting, Labour group leader John Collop said he felt that the councillors representing the Gaywood Chase ward should be more involved with the discussions.

Mr Collop said: “It’s a town asset and it’s been with us for many years and I hope for many years to come. I don’t know what’s going on, I’m asking why we are not involved in this.

“Why does it need to be kept secret? I would ask the portfolio holder to open it up.”

Mr Beales said there was no secrecy surrounding the discussions.

“I would remind Mr Collop that the reason the club is in its current form is because of this administration. They took the initiative and made it possible for the council, and that didn’t involve you,” Mr Beales added.

“There’s absolutely no secrecy about this. This is a public document that’s been in place for many weeks. All councillors will be kept informed.

“The lease has 17 years to run, and as long as the terms of the lease are respected, it’s in the taxpayer’s interest should they want to look at any developments within the ground.”

Mr Beales said there were drainage problems at the stadium which has made outreach to juniors difficult.

“They train in Wisbech and it doesn’t reflect particularly well on this town, that’s the reason we are entering into these negotiations, I think it’s quite right to do so.

“It’s an important part of the fabric of the town.”

Gary McGuinness asked Mr Beales if changes to parking were likely to be part of the new deal.

He said: “Can you give assurance that nothing will change outside of match times? I would like assurance that it’s not going to be part of the renegotiated lease?”

Mr Beales said: “The car park itself is in particularly poor order, but the use of the Walks to park without being charged will be maintained.

“I can give you that assurance.”