Future of Horsham FC and sporting legacy ‘at stake’

Horsham FC new ground proposals at Hop Oast (photo submitted).

Horsham FC new ground proposals at Hop Oast (photo submitted).

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A new home for Horsham Football Club could be approved next week.

Plans for a new ground off Worthing Road next to Horsham Golf and Fitness and 58 homes at the Holbrook Club have been recommended for approval by Horsham District Council planning officers.

The two planning applications are set to be debated by HDC’s Planning Committee North on Tuesday (March 21) starting at 6pm at Parkside in Chart Way.

While Horsham FC’s plans have garnered support, with 360 letters in favour of a new ground, 237 objections have also been received, raising concerns around traffic congestion, site access, the effect on wildlife, and development in the countryside.

But John Lines, a Horsham FC director, explained how they had worked ‘tirelessly’ to ensure that the new ground will benefit the maximum number of local people.

He added: “It’s not just Horsham FC’s future at stake but the sporting legacy of our town and district.”

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.

Previous applications for a new ground at Hop Oast and 57 homes with access off Jackdaw Lane were rejected by HDC back in January 2015.

It has been ground-sharing with Horsham YMCA at Gorings Mead, but this arrangement is due to come to an end in May, with the club seeking a temporary home outside of the town.

The last year has seen the football club’s under-18 development team fold due to a lack of a permanent ground.

The 58 homes on part of the Holbrook Club’s land would held fund the new ground, as well as trigger a new 25-year lease for the club, helping to secure its future.

The Hop Oast ground’s capacity has been reduced from 1,900 to 1,300, while the height of the clubhouse and floodlights have both been reduced.

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