As delayed groundwork finally got under way to create Broadbridge Heath Football Club’s new home this week, the club has moved to quash any rumours of future parking concerns for local residents.
Planning permission for a new permanent home for the village club was agreed back in February last year and will see three football pitches, a club pavilion, two small stands, floodlights and fences on land south of the leisure centre, where they currently reside.
Work since has seen the pitches being levelled, drained, fertilised and the grass seed sown, but construction delays from developers Countryside has meant that the completion date has been pushed back a fourth time – now estimated to be August 4, 16 months after the project was approved.
Last week the developers have finally started work on the access road, drainage and service ducts, but masonry work on the new pavilion is still yet to begin.
The club has been made aware that Wickhurst Green residents have concerns regarding parking in nearby roads once the ground is open and are keen to reassure their neighbours.
The Broadbridge Heath hierarchy is keen to dispel any such issues and wants to make clear that a new, purpose-built 170-vehicle car park will be built on the existing leisure centre site and that any access from the Wickhurst Green and Cook Way will be for service vehicles only.
Football club secretary Andy Crisp said: “When the new leisure centre is complete, the existing one will be knocked down and replaced by a new car park for 170 vehicles, this will be used by people attending both the centre and the football facilities, the existing parking in front of the bowls club will also be kept.
“The new car park will be immediately to the north of our pavilion just a few metres away and much closer than parking in our neighbours’ streets.
“The new access road is needed to allow the developers to get access to the site to build the pavilion.
“In future, this road will only be used by service vehicles, for deliveries to the pavilion, emergency vehicles, grass-cutting machinery and disabled parking.
“Everyone else will park in the new car park to the north.” The club was also set to meet with Horsham District Council chief executive Tom Crowley and a Countryside director this week to try to bring the completion date forward.