Photo by John Lines
The battle between those for and against the development of Hop Oast as a new ground for Horsham FC has continued to increase in momentum with both groups having launched online petitions.
Horsham Football Club moved out of Queen Street in 2008, where they had played for over 100 years, and were refused planning permission to build a new home on land at the Holbrook Club. At the start of the 2009/10 season they started ground sharing with Horsham YMCA at Gorings Mead an arrangement that the club still continue with.
Sean Bravery of the Horsham Independent Supporters Committee said: “We’ve received an overwhelming amount of support for the #Home4Horsham campaign. People understand that this is a facility for the whole community, the Hop Oast location is perfect, and that saying no would be jeopardising not only the future of Horsham FC, but also that of the Holbrook Club. At the end of the day we want to recycle two disused golf holes into something the community can continue to enjoy. How can you say no to that?”
Richard Duncan, who is opposed to the development of the Hop Oast site but not to Horsham FC having a new ground, has voiced fears of traffic and ecological damage on behalf of the group of residents living in the Denne Park House, Tower Hill and Salisbury Road areas of Horsham. The opposition group believe Worthing Road is over used and there are too many narrow bends on the road. They also feel construction work would harm local wildlife as the area is home to newts, door mice, badgers, bats and deer.
A Spokesman for Horsham FC said “The plans are for a modest ground, designed with 3G so that it can be of use for the wider football community in Horsham who face dangerous frozen or waterlogged pitches in winter. The ground would be 1/4 mile away from the nearest residential area, screened from view by existing woodland, with ample parking and excellent transport access to the A24 out of town. It is also important to stress that this land was already part of a golf course up until recently. This would not be affecting field or woodland, just recycling two golf holes into two football pitches.”
As of midday Wednesday 19 the petition in support of the development has 1325 signatures while the one against has 368, both petitions can be found at www.change.org.