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Fire at derelict former football stadium to 8th tier club believed to be arson attack

A big fire at a derelict former football stadium to 8th tier club Gorleston is believed to be arson attack, as BBC News report.

Over 30 firefighters dealt with the blaze at the Isthmian League North Division side’s former Emerald Park site on Woodfarm Lane, which started at about 6:40pm on Sunday evening.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said it took more than three hours to bring the flames under control with a spokesman for the fire service said: “We are treating the incident as deliberate.”

People were told to keep away from the area and residents were advised to keep their windows shut.

Group manager Alan Jay said: “It’s the old Gorleston Football Club social club.

“On arrival, we found the building well alight.

“We have sectorised the incident and we have currently got three jets on it and one hydrant.

“Because of the state of the property and where it is, we will be putting this down as a deliberate ignition.

“We will be here for the next two or three hours making the premises as safe as possible for the future.”

It’s thought to be the club former social club that has been destroyed, as can be seen in pictures within the article.

Gorleston are currently ground-sharing with Lowestoft Town for their home matches while they get the go ahead over their new facility which is expected to be built at East Norfolk Sixth Form College.

The Emerald Park site had already been earmarked for demolition and housing to be built in its place.

Albert Jones, who owns the land, said: “I’ve been liaising with the police and the fire service for the last three to four weeks.

“We’ve had constant problems with kids breaking the fence down and going into the site.”

In December 2020, Great Yarmouth Borough Council approved of plans for Pleasure and Leisure Limited, run by the Jones family, to build 97 houses at Emerald Park.

They also included the demolition of the buildings on the site, which included the stand and the former social club which was house in two portacabins.

Remains of social club after fire


Jones said: “The building was ready to be demolished.

“But even though we’d secured the site, the kids were climbing over the fences.”

The only reason the landowners didn’t demolish the building earlier was due to the fact that Gorleston FC were still playing at the ground until May, he said.

“Then we offered the football club all the steel that was left in the grounds. We were waiting for that to be finished.”

Once the club had cleared away all the steel, the demolition would’ve started, Mr Jones said.

“The site is being cleared at the moment and most of the buildings are down. We’d arranged for diggers to go in this week and start taking the building down,” he adds.


Trevor Wainwright, borough councillor for Magdalen ward in Gorleston, said: “It’s really disappointing. Once again, at enormous cost to the emergency services to come out.

“Luckily there was no loss of life or injuries to anybody. It could have been much worse.”

Wainwright said he could not understand why it has “taken so long” to demolish the building.

“It’s for the site owners to get a grip on this,” he said.


Social media users reacted to the fire at a derelict former football stadium to 8th tier club which is believed to be from an arson attack…

@CatIpswich: That’s how developers get their way.

@andyh2602: Sad to see this. Went there a few times. What’s happenning with the new stadium @gorlestonfc?

@steveyOTBC: Another brown envelope job?

@scottyruss1981: Probably got a planning application on it at the mo

@dahliasanddaisy: Insurance claim?

@Aaronrutter9: Sad to see an old classic retro local football ground on fire, thoughts to any ex associates who were (thankfully they’ve groundshared now) part of gorleston fc at emerald park. 😢

Michelle Jasper: When it was the day of the queen’s funeral my son and I went for a walk and looked around the grounds of the old football club and back then it was wrecked loads of kids in there glass smashed walls bashed in and talk of a small fire being started but even tho fences were stuck up kids were still in there I was worried about the broken glass the kids climbing in and out of windows with shards like spikes around the edges let alone the fire risk which we have now seen, people reported the kids a lot or so I heard but it sat there nothing happening for weeks and now I guess that’s the end of it 🙁 just glad no one got hurt 🤞

DAvid James Gibson-Brown: Makes the development slightly quicker to start. 🤡🤡🤡

Matt Morley: How convenient

Bill Screen: Sounds like there’s an arsonist on the loose

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