Horsham FC agree site for new ground

Horsham FC had permission for planning at The Holbrook Club turned down in 2008
Horsham FC had permission for planning at The Holbrook Club turned down in 2008

Horsham’s long search for a new ground edged a significant step closer with the club shaking hands on an agreement to buy land at Hop Oast.

The Hornets have purchased a plot at Horsham Golf & Fitness and amongst ambitious and exciting plans are proposals to build a synthetic ‘3G’ pitch as well as top-notch training facilities which will serve the district’s sporting community.

As part of the intricate and complicated deal, Croudace Homes has agreed to buy land at the Holbrook Club from Horsham FC with a view to developing new housing. Croudace has also agreed to be the builder of the Hornets’ new ground.

Both deals are subject to planning permission -expected after at least a year of consultations with neighbouring residents and parish councils - which if denied would give Horsham FC the option to back out of the purchase.

Crucially The Holbrook Club has agreed a new 25-year lease with landlords Horsham FC in a deal which will safeguard their long-term future, with the football club pledging money to help the North Heath Lane sports club grow.

News of the football club’s intention to buy land at Hop Oast was revealed more than two years ago, and CEO John Lines thanked supporters for their patience in waiting for concrete news.

He said: “It has been a long time in getting to this stage and there is still a lot of work still to do.”

And he added: “We have been working closely with Horsham District Council for five years now and we are grateful to them for their support but we know that it is now our own responsibility to try to show that this is the best and possibly the only way forward if Horsham Football Club are to continue to be the flagship for the town in non-league football.”

The club has been homeless and ground sharing for the last five seasons after moving out of Queens Street, their ground for more than 100 years, in 2008.

They purchased The Holbrook Club in 2007 but subsequently had planning permission denied, and the next season will be the club’s sixth year of ground-sharing.

Horsham chairman Kevin Borrett said: “Having listened to community feedback and taken time to reconsider the merits of various options I believe we are now a very large step closer to the ‘win win win’ solution we have been seeking since our 2008 planning application was refused.”

All the latest news and reaction on Horsham’s ground will be exclusively revealed in next week’s West Sussex County Times, out on Thursday.