Horsham Football Club will share draft plans of their proposed new ground with local residents and councillors at a series of presentations this month.
The club have stressed the four consultations, which will finish on February 26, will be very much an informal chance to showcase their draft plans prior to a full planning application being submitted in late March, early April.
It will also be a chance for interested parties to raise any questions and give feedback which could shape the final submitted plans.
Local, district and parish councillors will be invited to attend the evenings, along with local residents to the Hop Oast site where the club plan to build their new ground, and the Holbrook Club where some new housing will be built as an enabling part of the whole development.
This will be the first opportunity for interested parties to have a detailed look into Horsham FC’s ground plans and discuss any concerns with club officials, who stress they are keen to involve the local public as much as possible.
Horsham chief executive John Lines said: “We are proceeding towards submitting our planning application but before we do that we want to hear what are the main concerns of local residents as well as local, district and parish councillors.
“I must stress this is very much being done on an informal basis, we have sent out invitations to 52 local and district councillors and we’re hoping most will be able to attend.
“We will aim to identify and address any valid concerns people may have, and we hope by holding open discussions there is not the spread of misinformation that hampered our last planning application.
“For example I want to again say we are not building a football stadium, we are building a clubhouse and one and a half football pitches. It’s surrounded by trees so it won’t be visible to neighbouring residents or from the road.”
The planning application process usually takes between 13 and 16 weeks, meaning theoretically Horsham FC could be ready to break ground by August of this year, as soon as builders Croudace Homes are ready to start work.
Mr Lines added: “It has been described as a “win, win, win” situation because, firstly it will provide an excellent facility for the whole community to use and benefit from. Secondly, the Holbrook Club will be safeguarded by a new lease for the next 25 years and have essential investment to help it thrive, and finally, of course we will have a permanent new home. We very much want to involve local folk in what we are doing and very much hope people don’t make up their minds until they’ve come along and taken part in the discussions.”
Horsham moved out of Queen Street, their home of more than 100 years, in 2008 and had planning permission to build their new home on land owned at the Holbrook Club refused. After playing home matches down at Worthing FC for a year they began groundsharing with neighbours Horsham YMCA at the start of the 2009/10 season, and are currently in their fourth year at Gorings Mead.