Another serious threat to the rural nature of Southwater parish has emerged recently. This one affects the strategic gap between our village and Horsham. Horsham Football Club is planning to pave over approximately five acres of land opposite the Hop Oast park and ride, at the front of the golf course. The site is next to Denne Park House and lies within the beautiful and historic Denne Park Estate, with ancient woodland bordering it.
They are proposing to build a football stadium on this land, with floodlighting and public address system, two pitches, a large 2-storey clubhouse with function rooms, and car parking for 60 cars. This plan represents a significant environmental threat in this location, not only in terms of noise and light pollution but also bringing with it increased traffic and parking problems along the Worthing Road.
Furthermore, the proposed site is on land long since protected from development, in order to retain the rural gap, but incredulously this plan has actually been facilitated by Horsham District Council itself.
For many years, a key planning objective has been the preservation of green spaces, and specifically protecting the strategic gaps between settlements. Consequently, for decades, HDC has imposed stringent building controls in this area. No new houses or buildings were allowed.
Although the golf course was welcomed, as contributing to the quiet recreational nature of the area, the golf club’s facilities were largely converted from pre-existing farm buildings so as to preserve the character and avoid increasing the build density.
Now, however, the football stadium proposal abandons all these principles by developing a virgin greenfield site. It appears that HDC has abandoned its commitment to the community.
For all the facts pertaining to ecology, noise, lighting, and traffic, as well as a link to a petition calling for this football stadium to be sited in a more suitable location, please visit www.worthingroad.com.
UPDATE: On 20th January 2015, HDC refused planning consent for the football stadium. The West Sussex County Times report on this can be read here.