LETTER: Community use of new facilities

Your letters
Your letters

I am writing in response to the letters printed in the WSCT and the comments online suggesting that Horsham FC should move to Broadbridge Heath. Why people think that Broadbridge Heath village has large amounts of open space available to put football pitches on is beyond me because in reality we don’t even have enough open spaces to keep our own junior teams in the village.

Broadbridge Heath FC run teams from Under 7s to Veterans (Over 35s), the Veterans play matches on the synthetic pitch, the First Team, Reserve Team and Under 18 teams hire the stadium pitch at the Leisure Centre.

The Under 15 and Under 16 teams already have to play on pitches outside the village and from next season the Under 11 and Under 12 age groups will also be forced to play outside the village on 9x9 pitches because all we have within Broadbridge Heath are two pitches, one small sided pitch for Under 8s, 9s & 10s and one Under 13/14 pitch, there are no more pitches and no more open spaces within the village.

For these reasons, plus the high cost of hiring pitches at the Leisure Centre, members of Broadbridge Heath FC started a campaign in 2004 to move away from the Leisure Centre to facilities of our own where our future destiny will once again be in our own hands, and members of our club have attended countless meetings over the years with Horsham District Council, the Broadbridge Heath Parish Council, Countryside Properties, Sport England and the Football Association.

Our members also attended every single workshop held to discuss the Countryside Properties development at Broadbridge Heath and throughout that period we made it very clear to the planners that we wanted our own facilities away from the Leisure Centre where the majority of current and future Broadbridge Heath football teams, juniors and seniors, could come together under one roof in facilities not just for football but for other community usage as well.

As a result of our efforts the requirements for Broadbridge Heath FC were documented in the West of Horsham Master Plan where it states that ‘On land south of Broadbridge Heath formal sports pitches (3ha) will be provided for community use linked to Broadbridge Heath Football Club with a Sports Pavilion to include changing rooms, storage and social facilities including car parking facilities’.

Subsequently £250,000 was included in the Section 106 Agreement towards the cost of the new pavilion, which at the time we believed would be built once the 750th house was complete.

Since then HDC has decided to build a new Leisure Centre and then decommission and knock down the existing centre where we currently play but not before relocating the majority of existing users first.

This does suggest that Broadbridge Heath FC could move to our new facilities much earlier than anticipated, facilities that we have had confirmed will be stand-alone and will meet the requirements of the league we play in and that is something that we all desperately look forward to.

Meanwhile we’re reliably informed that the site plan for the new pavilion and pitches as shown in last week’s WSCT has not yet been defined and further discussions will be held between the FC, HDC, the Broadbridge Heath Parish Council and the local community to ensure that as much community use of these facilities can be achieved as possible.

ANDY CRISP

Secretary, Broadbridge Heath Football Club, Wickhurst Lane, Broadbridge Heath