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Running club claims it is being forced out of its base after lease negotiations break down

PUBLISHED: 09:24 24 August 2019

The Coltishall Jaguars running club has been based at the Scottow Enterprise Park since 2016. Photo: Coltishall Jaguars

The Coltishall Jaguars running club has been based at the Scottow Enterprise Park since 2016. Photo: Coltishall Jaguars

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A group of Norfolk runners say they are being forced out of their base at a council-owned business park after lease renegotiations broke down following a notice of termination.

Club chairman Steven Neal, right, at one of the club's races. Photo: Coltishall JaguarsClub chairman Steven Neal, right, at one of the club's races. Photo: Coltishall Jaguars

Coltishall Jaguars running club, which has been based at the Scottow Enterprise Park (SEP) since 2016, was given a month's notice on its unit's lease at the park on Thursday, August 8.

The group, which is set to hold a fully-booked championship race on Sunday, September 22, says it entered into negotiations with Hethel Innovation Ltd (HIL), a Norfolk County Council-owned company which manages the site on behalf of the 
council.

But the club says talks broke down after HIL offered a lease renewal at four times the current rate - on the condition the club could no longer host races at the Scottow site after security complaints about unauthorised persons being on site, and other business owners not being able to access their units on race days. The company deny the club is being evicted and says it is undergoing a lease review, with discussions over the club's rent ongoing.

Club chairman Stephen Neal said they had received complaints after past races, but had addressed them with additional security and traffic management measures. He said: "Over-arching, faceless bureaucracy seems to have come crashing down on our heads.

The flat and traffic-free site is ideal for the club's junior runners and wheelchair racers. Photo: Coltishall JaguarsThe flat and traffic-free site is ideal for the club's junior runners and wheelchair racers. Photo: Coltishall Jaguars

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"We weren't informed there had been more complaints. We were just given notice."

He added: "We were going to fund professional security and improve traffic control measures."

The club currently pays around £330 per month with income from races, and says it has been asked to up this to £1,200.

The club say they have been asked to pay four times their current rent to stay on the site. Photo: Coltishall JaguarsThe club say they have been asked to pay four times their current rent to stay on the site. Photo: Coltishall Jaguars

Mr Neal also said the flat and traffic-free site is ideal for the club's junior runners and wheelchair racers - who he fears would be prevented from taking part at an alternative location.

A HIL spokesperson said: "The club has not been evicted. The Hethel team are continuing to work with the Coltishall Jaguars to make the races safe and enjoyable for all and minimise any disruption to other tenants. Every effort is being made to ensure that all parties are happy and treated fairly. We hope the Coltishall Jaguars can remain part of the Scottow Enterprise Park community."

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