Southwick Football Club’s plans for a new pitch and facilities have been approved by Adur District Council.
The council’s planning committee approved the club’s plans for a new clubhouse, 3G artificial pitch and ball net between the railway and the grounds at Old Barn Way, Southwick, at a meeting on Monday, December 4.
The old clubhouse and its associated buildings were demolished after a decision made by the council’s director of place in October this year, and the grounds were deemed unfit for use in 2021 – returning to use earlier this year.
Sussex football charity the Russell Martin Foundation (RMF), headed by Swansea City coach Russel Martin, was awarded the lease for Old Barn Way in 2021 and will fund the £2.5million project with support from the Football Foundation.
Councillor Jim Funnel (Con, Eastbrook) said he had memories of going to football games as a child and to see the site being revamped was ‘really welcome’ – but said access for people attending games in the past had been ‘chaotic’.
He said: “You’ve got a very narrow road between the leisure centre and where the road goes down – you just haven’t got the turning space.”
He said at a game last week usual two-way traffic ensured by the police ‘just couldn’t happen’, adding if emergency vehicles had turned up they would not have been able to get through.
Council officers said the site had always had ‘limited’ parking and that problems last week would continue even without development – even with increased use of the pitch all year round due to the new artificial surface.
Councillor Gabe Crisp (Green, St Nicholas) raised a concern about the impact of floodlights, which she said was ‘really significant’ where she lives. Carol O’Neal (Lab, Eastbrook) said she had received many complaints from residents about floodlights, and raised concerns about having only single-sex changing rooms.
An agent for RMF said floodlights would be kept off when possible due to running costs, and single-sex bathrooms would be looked into.