Horsham’s fans, players and officials are celebrating after their local council finally gave the Ryman League club’s dreams for a new home the green light.
After rejecting previous plans for a new stadium in the town and housing on land the club owns to fund it, Horsham District Council approved the Ryman South club’s third application on Tuesday night for a new 1,300 capacity ground at Hop Oast to end their long exile since 2008.
With the club’s current groundshare agreement with Horsham YMCA not being renewed, the delighted Hornets also announced on Wednesday that they would be moving in with the Sussex County FA next season to share their headquarters and Culver Road stadium in Lancing while their new stadium at Worthing Road is developed.
Horsham chairman Kevin Borrett said: “The option to play at the Sussex County FA HQ in Lancing was one of a number investigated and, whilst it is further away from the town than we would have wished, it has excellent facilities and is the right choice for a temporary home whilst the new ground is constructed. It also means that we can continue in membership of the Ryman League.”
Sussex County FA chief executive Ken Benham said: “Following on from the brilliant news last night that Horsham’s plans for a new stadium have been approved, we’re really pleased to be in a position whereby we can help the club by housing them here until their new ground is built.
“This is a very exciting period for the club and we’re delighted to be a stepping stone for them on a path which hopefully leads to a secure and successful future.”
The landmark victory for the self-funded project, originally rejected in 2015, will see the installation of two new all-weather 3G pitches, which will provide a much-needed sporting facility for all age groups and genders across the community, a clubhouse and low impact floodlighting.
The project will be financed with the development of 58 new homes next to the Holbrook Club, Horsham’s tenants, whose future was also secured after the council backing paved the way for the signing of a new 25 year lease.