News that the Norwich Rugby Club will move towards a plan to share pitches with UEA sports clubs, which would require the building of a 284-space car park on land adjacent to the university has angered local residents.
The proposals, which have been formulating since the Rugby club were forced to relocate from their previous home at Beeston Hyrne in Spixworth due to a housing development, highlight the land off of Colney Lane as a potential new home.
The development would include new multi-purpose sports pitches, as well as a newly built club-house on the land. It would also require the leveling of an area of land in the river valley for the construction of a large capark, which would decrease the available green space close to the university campus.
Supporters of the partnership argue that the building of the car park will prevent users of the facility from parking on Colney Lane, which would result in congestion and increased parking difficulty for residents. However, opponents have raised concerns that the proposed two-way access road to the facilities will create difficulties for cyclists around the university campus.
Local campaigners have also criticised the move as one which could destroy the rural aspect of the area, a problem which could be further exacerbated without the proper regulations and management of the facilities.
In protest, a number of local residence and environmental campaigners have launched an online petition objecting to the proposals, with many voicing their concerns directly to Norwich City Council.
As of yet, no environmental impact assessment has been released as part of planning permission documents to the general public, and it remains unclear as to the extent the construction will impact the rural land.
Details as to the exact nature of the relationship between the university and the Norwich Rugby Club are still unclear. It is uncertain to what degree UEA students will be allowed access to the facilities, or whether the university will be compensated for its work with the club.