New football ground for Horsham FC could be approved this week

JPCT 020115 S15010075x Football. Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Worthing -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150201-092303001
JPCT 020115 S15010075x Football. Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Worthing -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150201-092303001

A new football ground for Horsham FC could be given the go-ahead this week as council officers have recommended plans be approved.

Horsham District Council is set to discuss two planning applications this Tuesday January 20, one for the new ground off Worthing Road at Hop Oast, and another for 57 homes at the Holbrook Club.

The two applications are linked, with the homes part of an enabling development to fund the construction of a new home for the organisation.

The club has been without a permanent home since leaving Queen Street in 2008, when its bid for a new ground at the Holbrook Club was refused by HDC, and has ground-shared with Horsham YMCA in recent years.

The first application would include two all-weather 3G pitches on two disused golf holes at Horsham Golf & Fitness, a stand, dug-outs, clubhouse, associated structures, and car parking.

Southwater Parish Council has objected on the grounds of building in the strategic gap, the insufficiency of parking and public transport, pedestrian safety, and the absence of community gain for its parish through developer contributions.

According to the officers’ report 168 letters of support were sent in compared to 112 letters of objection. Rival petitions for and against the ground have both been submitted.

Supporters argue the proposal is for a modest football ground, would provide a range of benefits to the town, and is relatively close to the urban area of Horsham.

Meanwhile objectors believe it will cause significant light and noise pollution, and have raised concerns over pedestrian and road safety, and impact on the landscape and neighbouring residential properties.

The officers’ report concludes: “On balance, with the restrictions proposed in the conditions and limiting the spectator capacity to 557 it is recommended that planning permission be granted subject to the following conditions.”

The second application would see the 57 homes built on a rectangular piece of land off Jackdaw Lane north of Kestral Close.

Only 17.5 per cent of affordable housing is proposed on site, below HDC’s current target of 40 per cent. The council has received 77 objection letters, 58 in support, and four neither in objection or support.

HDC’s Development Control North Committee will hear the applications in Park North at 5.30pm on Tuesday.