Following last week’s County Times exclusive that Horsham Football Club are about to reveal their plans for a new ground, this week’s paper carried a story on a group of Denne Park residents who plan to oppose the move.
The debate is set to grow and grow ahead of the club submitting a full planning application at the end or March or beginning of May, and here County Times sports editor Steve Pickthall weighs in on a topic which has been one of the main talking points for the town for more than a decade.
There will be a number of concerns, naturally, from some Horsham people at the news that the main club in the town seek to build themselves a new home.
New developments of any sort always raise issues for those they concern and this proposal will be no different.
Having known the people at Horsham Football Club for a number of years, I know first hand how desperate they, along with their supporters are to build a modest new home that will cause the minimum amount of disruption to neighbouring people’s lives as possible.
The club is currently in its sixth year of ground-sharing, after a tough season down at Worthing FC they have been sharing with neighbours Horsham YMCA since, playing matches at Gorings Mead.
In that time the club have suffered both on and off the field, dropping down a league following relegation, the numbers of fans at games steadily reducing, while the club have had to cut their cloth accordingly.
My own opinion is that, after careful consideration the club have got their location right in choosing the Hop Oast site. There is access straight from the A24 off the Southwater roundabout, meaning both home and visiting supporters can bypass the town completely to get there, while there is ready-made parking available opposite at the under used park-and-ride.
What we do know of the plans is that, if they go ahead two synthetic ‘3G’ pitches will be built to serve not only the Hornets, but a great deal of other local sports clubs in the area, providing many with a unique facility currently not available to them.
As part of the whole plans some new housing will also be built on land at the Holbrook Club in North Heath Lane which again is always something of a sensitive issue. But from my understanding new homes have to be found, either at this location or another in the town, so finding the best place for them is the key thing. And that’s what the club and HDC feel they have done.
Individuals who live or serve on local councils near either Hop Oast or the Holbrook Club will no doubt have their own questions about Horsham FC’s plans.
And with the club announcing in this newspaper that it plans to hold four consultations during February, those people will be listened to by club officials ahead of them submitting a their final plans.
The club feels they have found the ideal site to finally build a new home they desperately need. All they ask is for people to only make their own minds up about the plans once they’ve actually seen them for themselves.
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