Brighton and Hove Albion training ground extension approved, despite flood fears

The site where the training ground will be built
The site where the training ground will be built

AN extension to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club’s training development has been approved, despite fears it will “literally open the floodgates”.

At a meeting on Tuesday, May 7, Adur’s planning committee approved the addition of three extra football pitches at the club’s training facility, which will be built on land on the south-west of New Monks Farm.

The extra pitches, one grass and two artificial, will bring the total of training pitches up to 15, with one to be exclusively used by the community.

The plans were, however, opposed by Lancing Parish Council on multiple grounds, including the flood risk of building on an existing water course, and increased traffic movements and footfall.

At the meeting, Geoff Patmore and Bill Freeman, from the Lancing Manor Residents’ Network and West Beach Residents’ Association, as well as newly-elected county councillor Lionel Parsons, spoke out against the plans.

All of them pointed to the flood risk of further development on the flood plain.

Geoff Patmore said building the training ground facility on a flood plain was like “putting a brick in a bucket of water” because of its effect on water displacement.

He said: “If you agree to this proposal you are literally opening the floodgates, opening adverse life-changing circumstances.”

However, Albion’s director, Martin Perry, said the club had taken the flood concerns of residents “very seriously” and had devised ways to deal with the problem.

This will include collecting surface water in storage tanks and using it to irrigate the training pitches.

He said: “We have no doubt at all that the ground flooding issues in the area are very serious. However, we will be collecting all our foul drainage and will not be discharging any into the system whatsoever. We’re above the groundwater table. The existing ground at the site is above 2.5 metres and the development will be 1.5 metres above that. We do not go below that on any part of the site. There’s no displacement of water whatsoever caused by this development. We believe we have adequately addressed the flooding issue.”

Southlands councillor Darren Burns spoke in favour of the development.

He questioned why the parish council had been concerned about extra fall, saying “this is what Lancing needs”.

He said: “I think Brighton and Hove Albion has always been very, very considerate to residents in its actions with things like the accoustic fencing.

“I think another couple of pitches is no problem. Mash Barn is quite a deprived area and Lancing needs developing.”

However, Marine ward councillor Ben Stride questioned the club’s flooding strategy, asking what would happen if the club’s rain water tanks became full.

In response, the meeting heard the water would be drained away.

The plans were approved unanimously.