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Horsham FC await Hop Oast decision

The eagerly awaited planning application regarding the construction of the new Horsham Football Club playing facility at the Hop Oast site, along with the relevant associated structures such as clubhouse, dug outs, stand and lighting etc, will be heard this coming Tuesday, January 20. The development at Hop Oast is dependent on Croudace Homes separate application for the development of land owned by Horsham FC off North Heath Lane on The Holbrook Club site that will provide the funding for the Hop Oast project.

Plans are that the new privately funded Horsham FC facility will provide opportunities for local schools, junior football teams and footballers of any age or sex to take advantage of the proposed all weather pitch for training or social purposes. Formal links with Collyer’s have already been made with regard to sharing the new facility and junior clubs such as Chesworth Rovers and others have also shown interest. With the facilities in place Horsham FC would also set up a NVQ Football Youth Academy. In addition the clubhouse will be able to be accessed by local businesses, organisations or groups as a conference, meeting or social venue.

The provision of the new facility would also allow Horsham FC to grant a 25 year lease to The Holbrook Club which in turn would ensure the long term survival of that club and it’s around forty employees. In addition, if consent is granted, Horsham FC will contribute £200,000 to The Holbrook Club to be used as they see fit towards improvement to the facilities at the club.

Horsham FC CEO, John Lines, said to The District Post “Horsham FC has been part of the town’s identity since 1871, having survived two World Wars and many periods of adversity. The site at Hop Oast provides a long lasting opportunity for the town and its people to experience the advantages of the all weather facility and by doing so, will ensure Horsham FC survive into a new era in a permanent home of their own. Sporting facilities of the standard such as those proposed will add to the health and well-being of the wider Horsham community from increased access that the all year round playing surface provides. In addition the clubrooms can provide excellent opportunities for dance classes, aerobics, table tennis and a wide range of social and leisure activities. This is not simply a planning application for a new football ground; it carries with it a raft of other responsibilities, hopes, aspirations and commitments that will make a huge difference to the community in which we choose to live”

The Planning Officer’s recommendation is that the application for the development at Hop Oast should go ahead; there is no recommendation for or against the Holbrook Club development.

The Hop Oast application will be heard first on Tuesday evening and it is successfully passed it will leave a decision to be made by Council members regarding the Holbrook Club application in that the Croudace Homes plans fall short of the percentage of affordable homes that Horsham Council have set as a minimum.

As the Holbrook approval is necessary for the funding of the Hop Oast development then both these applications need to be successful if Horsham Football Club’s dream of a new home and advanced facilities for the District are to come true.

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