Dereham Town plan development of Aldiss Park

Dereham Town have their eyes firmly set on climbing up the football pyramid and have outlined plans for new developments at their Aldiss Park ground.

The club are hoping to go up to the Ryman League in the next couple of seasons and want to further improve the complex well ahead of the move.

The Magpies – who sit fifth in the Ridgeons League Premier Division after a 2-0 defeat at struggling Diss on Saturday – are seeking planning consent for covered stands behind each of the goals and will apply to the Football Association for a �20,000 grant to complete the project once permission is granted.

'We have been trying for years to get this off the ground and it's been a struggle, but we have managed to save enough to apply for planning permission,' said chairman Mike Baldry.

'We have got some cracking youth players coming through, but we would rather know the ground is ready so once we achieve that first or second place we can go up without any problems.

'What we don't want is to be good enough to go up but not be ready financially and to not have the facilities up to scratch.'

The club will also need to install an extra ladies' toilet at the Norwich Road ground to meet promotion criteria and fund-raising for this project will begin shortly.

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Aldiss Park was built about 20 years ago when the club moved from the Recreation Ground.

'We intend to keep standards high,' Baldry added. 'This is not solely so we can go up, it's to make the supporters more comfortable and to improve the ground.

'We thought about these stands long before we thought of promotion.'

Dereham Town is also seeking planning permission to install two wind turbines, just under 15m tall, on an unused grassy area behind the main stand.

If the plans are allowed, the pale and dark grey turbines would be spaced around 20m apart and linked to the electricity grid as well as providing power to the club.

Breckland's environmental health officers have objected to the application fearing the turbines would be too close to a 200-home development granted planning permission near to the grounds in September last year.

The officer states: 'I recommend refusal of this application on the grounds that the development is likely to cause significant environmental concern in terms of noise.

'The turbines would need to be sited at least 100m to 125m respectively from the application site's western boundary. If those relocation distances can be achieved then the refusal recommendation could be withdrawn.'

Breckland is expected to make a decision on both applications by the middle of next month.