As if 2020 hasn’t been testing enough, Newark FC, a team who changed their name (dropping Flowserve) in the summer, sparking a new era, a new beginning, now find themselves with a new unrequested test of uncertainty, as a club that now may be forced to search for a new home.
Newark have progressed from the Notts Senior League to the Midland Football League in recent seasons and this year even with restriction the first team have regularly housed gates of 300 at their Lowfields ground off Hawton Lane. But developers have now moved in. Newark have been served a section 25 notice and the club may soon have to find new premises.
The land on which the ground, clubhouse and bowling greens are tenanted, are set to be at the centre of a new housing development plan which has disgusted many locals, and given Newark Chairman Gary Clarke a real big headache.
Clarke said ahead of a potential move “We haven’t as such got a list of areas to potentially play, but the important thing for the football club is to remain very close to Newark.”
“The YMCA (Bowbridge Road) will certainly be on the list, but the facilities there are not sufficient to facilitate step five football.”
“There isn’t anywhere in Newark or nearby, that I can think of, which can.”
“I believe Grantham Town is the closest facility where we would meet all of the requirements for step five and step four football. That is not to say Grantham would be on our list, but it gives you an idea of the scale of things.”
The club may need to move by May 15th 2021 unless a new deal is struck for their current home and then it won’t be a simple case of moving, but finding the right home, to match the clubs ambition, to match the leagues requirements and the growing number of supporters who follow the team and its progression up the football pyramid.
The move however won’t just effect the football club, but the community too. Clarke relayed “The loss of Lowfields would be a huge hit not only to us, but to local sport.”
“We have our academy, Sunday football, veterans football, the two bowling greens, we host the Newark Alliance semi-finals and finals, and then there is the charity side of things, with most charity football being played here, and the dementia support groups.”
“It would be a big hit to Balderton Parish Council, and to Newark and Sherwood District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, which would be losing more green space, and sports pitches.”
Clarke continued “In recent years it has been reported that the East Midlands has some of the lowest rates of sporting activity in England and Newark has some of the highest rates of inactivity within the district.”
He said “As things stand we are looking at every eventuality, including speaking to the landlord to see if the football club can take on a lease or looking for other grounds in areas to potentially play from, but the important thing for the football club is to remain as close to Newark as possible.”
Newark Town Council’s planning committee reported by the Newark Advertiser, heard earlier this week that an appeal against the district council’s decision to refuse outline consent for the 322 homes proposed for the site has been lodged.
*Main image @NwkFlowserveFC Hawton Lane or Lowfields could be no more come May.