Rival online petitions have been launched as the debate over Horsham Football Club’s plan for a new ground intensifies.
A group opposing the club’s plans set up a petition and website, www.worthingroad.com, at the beginning of the month to campaign against the proposal.
Supporters of the football club launched their own petition on Sunday evening.
As of this morning (Thursday March 13), the petition opposing the ground plan had surpassed 300 signatures, while the petition in favour of the ground had been signed more than 900 times.
The club’s followers have taken to Twitter and used the hashtag #Home4Horsham to show their support.
Sean Bravery of Horsham Independent Supporters Club said: “We’ve received an overwhelming amount of support in this first couple of days of the #Home4Horsham campaign.
“People understand that this is a facility for the whole community, that the Hop Oast location is perfect, and that saying no would be jeopardising not only the future of Horsham FC, but also of the Holbrook Club.
“At the end of the day we want to recycle two disused golf holes into something the community can continue to enjoy. How can you say no to that?”
The club has reiterated that it is yet to submit any plans and is gauging public support.
The campaign opposing the football club’s plan has continued with the creation of the website and petition.
The website robustly states why some residents believe the proposed site is not suitable for the football club.
Arguments include ‘this is grossly excessive for a small club’, ‘it poses a severe threat to wildlife and environment’ and ‘this would set up a precedent for further destruction of rural spaces’.
Rory Morgan, 65, lives near the proposed site and was one of a group of residents to set up the website and petition.
Discussing his reasons for creating the website, he said: “We sense there are two issues here that need to be separated.
“One is, should Horsham Football Club be helped to the extent it has been by the council?
“The other thing is if the council decides if this is the right place for it.”
Mr Morgan explained that another aim of the website was to convince the council to maintain gaps between residential areas - in this case Horsham and Southwater.
Mr Morgan believes that every resident living close to the site opposes the plan.
He said: “I can’t think of anybody who isn’t totally 100 per cent behind our aims.”
He also criticised the recent public consultations hosted by the football club.
He added: “They were obviously not prepared to take people’s questions on the whole issue.
“It was like a drinks reception, except there were no drinks.”
Mr Morgan promised he and fellow residents would continue their campaign.
To sign the petition supporting the ground plan, click here
To sign the petition opposing the ground plan, click here