Borrett ‘quietly confident’ over Hornets final bid for a new home

Horsham FC new ground proposals at Hop Oast (photo submitted).
Horsham FC new ground proposals at Hop Oast (photo submitted).

Horsham Football Club chairman Kevin Borrett is ‘quietly confident’ the club’s planning hearing to build a new ground will end with a positive result.

Horsham District Council’s planning committee will consider their latest proposals for a new ground at Horsham Golf & Fitness in Worthing Road and a residential development at the Holbrook Club at a meeting held at Parkside on Tuesday, March 21 at 6pm.

It is the third time the club has attempted to get planning permission for a new home.

In 2008, Horsham left their former ground at Queen Street, however their application at that time for a new ground at Holbrook was turned down.

In January 2015 a new proposal to build a 3G pitch at Hop Oast together with a clubhouse was turned down due to access problems, the clubhouse being ruled to be oversized, suggesting extensive commercial use.

At the same time a plan to build 57 homes at the Holbrook Club was refused.

Borrett said: “It’s taken us approximately two years to get that reapplication heard.

“We’ve wanted to carefully consider the feedback from last time and also put forward the strongest possible case for a small residential development at Holbrook and community football facilities a Hop Oast.

“There will be two 3G pitches built and we have met all the substantive planning requirements in both locations.

“Whilst you can’t predict the outcome of a planning hearing, I am quietly confident that the arguments we put forward are persuasive and deserving the support of local councillors.

“At Holbrook our proposal is a much smaller proposal. You will remember before it was a two-story building with a fairly significant height to the eves as well and there was concern about the height and the appearance of the building.

“The new building is a single-story building. It’s very much in Sussex barn-style, so it’s very much in-keeping with the expanded golf club we are right next to.

“All the natural woodland and fauna is being supported. It’s not intrusive and we have an appropriate number of parking spaces.

“There is similar parking across the road at the park and ride, but we have a core amount of parking that I believe will be sufficient for many of our games. In addition there is an excellent bus service.

“We have worked in partnership with the Holbrook Club over the last two years.

“I’m pleased to say the Holbrook Club board and directors is fully behind our proposals and one of them (Paul Finn) will be speaking in favour of the application on the night as well.”

Borrett is asking for Horsham fans to come to watch the planning meeting on Tuesday, but warns there will only be space for 30 people in the council chamber on the night in addition to those already taking part in the meeting.

The Horsham chairman said: “I ask for our fans to be very professional in their approach. We are obviously very keen to get a new ground and the fans are keen.

“But please keep the enthusiasm within appropriate boundaries. This is a formal process and I’m sure the fans will respond accordingly.”

The applications have the support and recommendation of planning officers as well as Sport England, West Sussex County Council Highways department and neither they nor the police are objecting to the proposals.

Borrett revealed these proposals are better prepared than the previous ones with a 25-year lease to the Holbrook Club which will be triggered by the passing of the proposals.

He said: “The last time at Holbrook we didn’t have such a clear agreement in place at the outset.

“I believe these two applications which give security for the Holbrook Club and give a football facility at Hop Oast is the right solution for the town.”