A decision on revised plans for new sports facilities at Christ’s Hospital is due to be made next week.
A planning application for a new athletics running track, all-weather pitch and extension to the Bluecoats Sports Centre along with extra car parking was rejected by Horsham District Council back in January.
Although generally supportive of new sports facilities a number of councillors suggested the harm to the landscape character of the rural area and impact on neighbouring properties outweighed the benefits of the scheme.
In the meantime it submitted a revised second application to Horsham District Council.
This is due to be discussed by the council’s planning committee north on Tuesday (September 2).
According to planning officers they key differences between the current and previous application include:
• The adventure trail has been relocated away from Christ’s Hospital Road and reduced in scale
• The athletics track has been lowered into the ground by 0.5 metres
• Spectator seating at the track has been scaled down
• The 3G pitch has been moved south
• Floodlighting columns for the track have been reduced from 18m to 17m
• Floodlighting systems have been revised to minimise light spill
• The 2.5km running trail has been removed
• Individual tree removal has been reduced from 26 to 18
• Tree replanting has been enhanced
• Hardstanding areas have been reduced
• A community use agreement proposes restrictions on large events
• The applicant has agreed to fund a traffic regulation order to reduce the speed limit on both Tower Hill and Christ’s Hospital Road from 60mph down to 30mph as well as traffic calming measures on roads to the west.
A total of 116 representations have been received with 79 being objections and 37 in support of the plans.
Objectors argue the plans represent overdevelopment of the site, would result in a dangerous increase in traffic and would adversely impact the rural setting and character of the area.
But supporters suggest the new facilities would promote wellbeing and healthy lifestyles and would benefit clubs, schools and the community.
According to council planning officers: “Overall, having assessed the benefits that the scheme would bring to pupils of the school, current and future members of Bluecoats Sports Centre, and various local community groups, clubs and individuals; it is considered on balance, that the wider benefits gained from new facilities would outweigh the impact identified.”