Plans for 58 new homes have been approved safeguarding the future of Horsham Football Club and the Holbrook Club.
The enabling development with a new access off Jackdaw Lane will help fund a new football ground at Hop Oast, which was also given the green light by Horsham District Council’s Planning Committee North last night (Tuesday March 21).
Both residents and North Horsham Parish Council raised concerns about the loss of green space for sports activities, a lack of available parking, and the amount of affordable housing provided in the size.
Tony Rickett, speaking on behalf of the parish council, explained that while they supported Horsham FC’s search for a new ground, this did not extend to it selling off playing fields to fund it.
He described 58 new homes on the eastern third of the Holbrook Club site as ‘overdevelopment’ and suggested the number of new cars would compound parking problems in the area.
While Andrew Baldwin (Con, Holbrook East) did share concerns about parking problems alongside only 24 per cent affordable housing, which is below the council’s target of 35 per cent, he expressed his support for the scheme.
He explained: “At the end of the day this is a significant community facility which we need to keep and I think a 25-year long lease which they will be getting will safeguard it and protect the long term future of the club.”
Karen Burgess (Con, Holbrook East) said they were faced with a Hobson’s choice, suggesting that 58 homes were ‘far too many’ when the area’s schools were full and doctors’ surgeries were oversubscribed.
Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater) questioned why the football club’s tax liabilities and operating costs were included in a viability appraisal to justify not meeting the council’s affordable housing target.
Peter Burgess (Con, Holbrook West) suggested that if the application was not enabling development to fund the Hop Oast football ground it would not be recommended for approval by officers.
He explained that green space was in short supply in the North Horsham parish, and thought it was unrealistic that many residents would travel to Hop Oast to use the new facilities there.
Mr Burgess added: “It [the Holbrook Club] has got to be preserved so it’s with considerable regret I have to support this application for this and only for this reason.”
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