Work underway to transform field into football pitches

Henfield Parish Council has submitted plans to transform the common into two football pitches. Malcolm Eastwood (Henfield parish council Chairman), councillor Gary Pettifer, Vas Siantonas (project team member). Pic Steve Robards
Henfield Parish Council has submitted plans to transform the common into two football pitches. Malcolm Eastwood (Henfield parish council Chairman), councillor Gary Pettifer, Vas Siantonas (project team member). Pic Steve Robards
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Work to transform the Memorial Field into two first class football pitches is now underway.

Sprays to kill off existing grass started late last month, on Henfield Common, in the early morning hours.

Formal work is due to start on May 30 and is expected to take up to two months to complete.

There will be a period of up to three months after completion where a temporary barrier will be put up to restrict pedestrian access in order to allow the seeds to germinate.

A temporary pathway will be made on the southern and eastern perimeters to allow access to the woods.

Kevin Wright, Henfield Parish Council clerk, said: “The work will commence during May with a number of sprayings to kill off the surface grass, followed by the removal of the top soil at the end of May.

“The topsoil will then be replaced and the new drainage inserted, followed by a number of seedings. The Memorial Field will be fenced off for a period of three months to allow germination and secondary drainage, and any other required seedings.

“At this time pathways around the fields will allow access to the woods. Henfield Parish Council would request that members of the public keep off the fenced off areas during this period.”

The field previously played host to many sports but, due to poor drainage, the main pitch nearest to the cricket pavilion has only been used for men’s third team football fixtures and the odd men’s veterans’ game.

As a result, Henfield Parish Council decided to create a playing fields committee, headed up by Mr Vas Santionas, to look at Henfield’s playing fields quantity and quality.

The committee consisted of representatives from each of the Henfield sporting bodies.

The outcome was a decision to improve the drainage of the Memorial Field and transform it into two first class football pitches.

The project required a grant of £75,000 from Sport England as well contributions from Henfield Football Club, Henfield Cricket Club, the parish council and S106 totalling more than £53,000 from Horsham District Council.

Mr Wright added: “On completion of the project it is hoped the pitches will be available for use by junior teams from April 2018, and ready for senior use from September 2018.

“Henfield Football club has recently gained much success both at senior and junior levels, these pitches will then complement the club’s future strategy. It will also help with the growth of sport within the village and save on the hiring of pitches outside the village.

“The cricket club will also benefit from a first class outfield. As from completion of the project, Sport England will expect a return in the measurement of the usage of the new pitches. Henfield will then have adequate class A grade and B grade to accommodate their football needs.”