Permission to demolish Storrington Squash Club and build a three-storey block of eight flats in its place has been granted.
The outline application for the Greyfriars Lane site was put before a meeting of Horsham District Council’s planning committee on Tuesday (October 16).
A similar application, for nine flats, was refused in 2017 on the grounds that not enough parking had been included.
The meeting was told that the club was not financially viable and would close whether or not planning permission was given, with owner Michael Corby explaining that it had been in debt when he bought it, was ‘in debt at the moment and will continue to be in debt’.
The council received a number of objections to the application, with concerns including increased traffic, a loss of privacy, and lack of sufficient parking.
Access to the site was described as ‘absolutely diabolical’ by Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury), while neighbouring Storrington Tennis Club said it would be ‘impossible’ for people to reach the parking spots at the flats without entering the club’s land.
Mr Corby, 78, told the meeting that he had since received a letter from Paul Finch, of the tennis club, who was prepared to negotiate the sale of some of the land so that access would no longer be a problem.
He told members: “I will do anything and everything to make the site work. We will change the building, we will change the fabric. We will do anything you want.”
The application was approved.
Neither Nigel Jupp (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley) nor Gordon Lindsay (Con, Billingshurst & Shipley) took part in the discussion or vote as they both knew Mr Corby ‘quite well’.