Without a home ground since 2008, Horsham Football Club has been described as being in the ‘last chance saloon’ after plans were revealed for a potential new home for the Sussex club.
In January 2015, the hopes of the Hornets were dashed when Horsham District Council refused planning permission for a new ground at Hop Oast despite the application being recommended for approval.
18 months later a modified plan for Hop Oast that reflects the changes wanted by councillors, is being unveiled at a series of public consultation events. The main changes include reducing the capacity of the ground from 1,950 to 1,300, creating a smaller one storey clubhouse, shortening the floodlights by three metres and lowering the height of the stands.
Assistant Director of Planning at DMH Stallard, Katie Lamb, said:
“This really is the last chance saloon for Horsham Town FC. Along with our partners we have reviewed every conceivable ground option for the club in Horsham and have no doubt that our revised plan for Hop Oast is the only viable new home out there. It’s unthinkable what could happen to this community club if the application isn’t ultimately supported.”
Horsham were immediately relegated following the initial planning decision in 2015 and recently lost their u18 development squad too, as the aspiring youngsters had nowhere to play. However, the club bounced back last season winning promotion to the Ryman League. But without a permanent ground of their own, they face instant relegation to park football, putting the existence of the whole club in doubt.
Funding for the new ground will be achieved by the development of 58 new homes on part of the Holbrook Club in Horsham. The development area equates to approximately one third of the site and the Holbrook Club itself and facilities will be retained. Reside Developments, the club’s development partner, has confirmed the new properties will include a mix of affordable and open market homes.
“I encourage as many local people as possible to visit the upcoming exhibitions and share their views about the revised plans and hopes for Horsham Football Club.
“If agreed, the proposals will deliver a community solution that will preserve a community institution, and I hope everyone can get behind them.”
The exhibition events are being held on Saturday June 25 in Horsham Market and on Saturday July 2 in Southwater. For more information visit www.home4horshamfc.co.uk.
For more information, please contact Chris Gape at firstname.lastname@example.org.