Approving new plan at Hop Oast is a no-brainer, says Hornets boss

Horsham Football Club latest Hop Oast plan 2016
Horsham Football Club latest Hop Oast plan 2016

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola has called on the council to do the right thing for the whole community and give the club a home once again.

Plans have been unveiled for a revised design at their Hop Oast site after planning permission was rejected by Horsham District Council 18 months ago (see page three).

The club have been without a home since 2008 when they left Queen Street and they have led a nomadic life since.

Permission for two different sites - Hop Oast and the Holbrook Club - have previously been turned down.

The last came in 2015 when a hugely-controversial move saw councillors vote against their own planning officers’ recommendation and deny planning permission.

The new plans see the ground capacity dropped to 1,300, the height and footprint of the clubhouse lowered to one storey and floodlight height reduced.

There are fears another refusal could spell the end of the club and Di Paola said: “I really hope the council see sense. In my mind I think it is a no-brainer for the local area and it will provide facilities for people to use.

“Hopefully it will mean we can provide youth teams from under-eight all the way up to academy and under-21s.

“With 40 children at each age group, that keeps a lot of them off the streets and not causing trouble.

“I can’t actually see one downside. It’s on a bit of disused land opposite a car park and a waste tip. The lights aren’t going to affect anyone as the roundabout lights are higher across the road. And noise wise, how much noise can 500 people make? And it would be drowned out by the cars anyway.

“The club as a whole has stagnated. I know we got promoted last season, but we cannot really do much else.

“You can’t progress as an entity, I hope they see sense and the council, who probably aren’t that interested in football, see more than just the football side.

“It’s more of a community asset if anything. It will also mean they have to do less on their parks, which they do not do much on anyway, but it will keep people off them during the week as they can use our facilities and a 3G.”

Hopes are that this time the plans on the site on a unused golf hole on Worthing Road will get the green light after much disappointment for the community and fans followed the last refusal.

The Hornets have been ground-sharing at Gorings Mead with Horsham YMCA for seven years, an agreement which will end on June 30, 2017.

Di Paola added: “I think people that know Horsham supporters know they are just a nice bunch, there are no trouble-makers.

“There are just so many benefits to the area, so fingers crossed they can see that. Even if I am not here, it’s for the benefit of the club and everyone.

“It’s a great club with great people, a lot is done behind the scenes just to keep the club alive.”

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