LETTER: Council’s own goal over football club

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It was very encouraging to read on the letters pages of last week’s County Times the level of support expressed for the proposed siting of Horsham Football Stadium. What was far less encouraging was the way in which our councillors for a range of the most flimsy and spurious reasons, once again ignored the views of so many people and voted against the planning application, even though approval had been recommended.

This proves once more how out of touch our councillors are with the sporting and leisure requirements for Horsham, let’s not forget their original and some say ongoing desire to knock down our sports centre in Broadbridge Heath. They are also so out of touch with what voters want and therefore should, as one reader’s letter concluded, be voted out of office at the next district elections in May.

With the youth service clubs already closed by the Tories, the proposed facility would provide much needed support for the youth playing for local football teams. A new home for Horsham Football Club would provide great facilities and become a hub for sporting excellence.

None of this seems to have registered with those councillors who voted to turn down the application.

Instead they fumbled around for excuses, citing; inappropriate location, the danger for cyclists and pedestrians travelling to and from the ground (that already exists and nothing is being done about it) the oversized clubhouse which some suspect might be used to raise money to fund the football club by holding community events, and surely the cherry on the cake was the objection that it just might urbanise a rural location, something our councillors would never support!

The councillors had an opportunity ahead of the elections to at last do something that many of us could support. During the last four years the councillors have subjected us all to a series of ill thought through and mismanaged vanity projects. This was their last chance to recover some credibility by supporting the application to provide the football club with a new home. Once more they fluffed their lines and instead slotted the ball into the back of their own net.

Horsham FC is a prominent club with a 135 year long proud history and the clubhouse, training facilities and stadium reflects the professional ambitions of the club. I sincerely hope the plan goes to appeal and the councillors see sense next time around and unanimously grant planning permission, thereby providing a permanent home for our town’s football team.

RAY CHAPMAN

Secretary, Horsham Labour Party, Pondtail Road, Horsham