Horsham’s nine-year nomadic existence ending is ‘overwhelming sense of relief’

Football - Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Faversham. Goal for Horsham about 4.14pm Pic Steve Robards  SR1633402 SUS-160711-120036001
Football - Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Faversham. Goal for Horsham about 4.14pm Pic Steve Robards SR1633402 SUS-160711-120036001
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Horsham have secured their biggest ever victory; namely the club’s future with their nine-year long nomadic existence brought to an end.

Permission for a new home off Worthing Road on former Horsham Golf & Fitness land was comprehensively approved by Horsham District Councillors, voting 19-1 in favour of the plans on Tuesday night.

HOR 190408 Horsham FC at Queen Street for the last time, against Billericay. DM SUS-160121-092053001

HOR 190408 Horsham FC at Queen Street for the last time, against Billericay. DM SUS-160121-092053001

The club did not hide the fact that this would be their ‘third and final’ application with their prestigious 135-year history at stake - and it turned out to be third time lucky.

Construction will begin on the 1,300 capacity ground featuring a new clubhouse and two 3G pitches with hopes the club could return to the town for the start of the 2018/19 season.

The second application for 58 homes to be built on part of the Holbrook Club to fund the new ground and secure the future of the North Heath Lane club was also approved by the councillors.

It’s the third attempt by the club for a new home, previously having one application turned down at the Holbrook Club and another on the Worthing Road site in 2015.

An artist impression of what Horsham Football Club's new home could look like SUS-170902-144043002

An artist impression of what Horsham Football Club's new home could look like SUS-170902-144043002

Leaving Queen Street in 2008 was something that had been muted up to 30 years ago and with no home forthcoming, the Hornets had to play a season in Worthing, before residing with neighbours Horsham YMCA.

Borrett said: “I think firstly it was just an overwhelming sense of relief. There was a lot of uncertainty for Horsham Football Club and the Holbrook Club and it’s been a long journey over several decades.

“With regards to Hop Oast, it is a site we have been working on for over eight years both John Lines and myself and to finally have a positive decision is just amazing.

“I think it would be fair to say that over the last eight years, John has put in on average two to three days a week and during that period for myself I have had two lengthy spells where I have been unemployed for six months and I know how much time I devoted to it.

“I would like to thank Horsham District Council officers in the way they have dealt with this in a professional manner. The way they have dealt with both applications has been exceptional to gauge the pertinent matters.

“And also the members of development north for their decision on that night. It’s a decision that secures the future of both clubs.

“The general belief is that both decisions gives sovereignty to both us and the Holbrook Club and I know all their directors were very happy.

“Through it all, John in particular has always been very focused. We genuinely believe it is the place for a football club. I do appreciate the Worthing Road is a very fast road as a whole, but that is something that the West Sussex Highways Agency needs to look at in general.

“There will be two 3G pitches that will be available a lot of the time for community use and we have our own dedicated parking there.”

Horsham announced on Wednesday that they will be groundsharing at the Sussex County FA headquarters in Culver Road next season as their eight-season deal with Horsham YMCA ends in May.

The club hope construction will start on the new ground in the summer and plan to be away from the town for just one full season.

Borrett said: “There are planning procedures that need to complete before funds can be exchanged and before we get on site. I would expect development to commence early in the summer and looking realistically, it would be 12 months from then.

“We want to get back in the town as soon as possible, but the question is, we will be able to for the start of the 2018/19 season? If not then it will be some when during the season.”

Borrett also led a tribute to the clubs fans - the council chamber and over-flow room was packed out with supporters, players, club staff and even trusty mascot Howie the Hornet on Tuesday evening.

The chairman added: “Horsham Football Club fans have always behaved with distinction and on Tuesday night was a great example of that. We have always had great backing by the fans and match day committee.”