Horsham director Andy Thompson has accused the council of ‘utterly failing’ the town and blasted their reasons for throwing out the club’s plan for a new ground on Tuesday.
The council’s development control committee were considering an application for two pitches, a two-storey club-house, and three stands for 557 spectators at Hop Oast near Southwater.
The club have been looking for a new home since 2008 after selling their Queen Street ground. Despite officers recommending approval, members voted 13 to 9 against the plan.
Thompson said: “I am staggered that Horsham District Council, in particular Southwater members and parish council, have dismissed the professional planning officer’s recommendation and refused a home for Horsham in the outskirts of town with such weak excuses as ‘it may startle a horse’ and ‘the wrong kind of parking’.
“Councillors voted against a fantastic community facility because of narrow unchecked equestrian concerns, or because they did not like or understand need for a function room just as the cricket club and rugby club must also have to survive.
“The people of Horsham district have been utterly failed by their council, yet again, who let the loud objections of a dozen or so Denne Park house residents crush the dreams and hopes of an entire district of folk.
“With thousands upon thousands of new houses being built in Horsham, the refusal to grant a football ground for no clear reason is unfortunately, an all-too-familiar example of Horsham District Council’s disconnect and lack of interest in providing sport or community facilities to a fast growing town.”
Thompson thanked the public and some councillors for their support. He added: “We are now experiencing a wave of public backlash against HDC’s decision last night, with messages of disbelief and encouragement coming from all areas of the district, and all walks of life.
“Our thanks go publicly to those nine community-minded councillors who voted for the town to have a football ground – in particular Jim Rae, Godfrey Newman, Laurence Deakins, and the other six.
“The refusniks have massively, perhaps fatally, ignored the wishes and needs of their constituents, and the thousands of local residents who signed our petition for a home will remember that come elections in May.”