Hopes for better suited idea as Homefield park plans withdrawn

Campaigning residents are relieved after a council planning application to develop four of Homefield Park's tennis courts into football pitches has been withdrawn.

Wednesday, 3rd May 2017, 11:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:52 pm
Liz English, Gemma Spicer and Reece Spicer next to the public notice on the tennis courts

The council proposed to create up to three five-a-side football pitches, surrounded by 5.5m high fencing and eight 8m high floodlights at the site.

In response, 16 objections were registered online, along with a petition against the plans with more than 100 signatures.

Last Tuesday, the council announced it would ‘withdraw the application at this stage for further consideration’, in light of ‘the number of objections received and issues raised’.

Liz English, 59, of Tower Road, said: “We are absolutely delighted.”

When she returned from holiday to find a notice of the plans posted through her door, she said she was ‘a bit horrified’.

After a lot of research Liz, joined by Gemma and Stuart Spicer of Park Road and nine-year-old Reece Spicer, knocked on neighbours’ doors to gather views on the scheme.

“A lot of people were unaware of it,” said Liz.

“Very few households had been informed directly.”

Liz and the Spicers objected to the scheme on the grounds that residents would be affected by the light from the flood lights, sound from the pitches – which would be open until 10pm Monday to Friday and 9pm on weekends – and the lack of parking provision.

No changing facilities or toilets were to be provided.

Liz estimated that 98 per cent of residents she spoke to did not support the plans.

Both Liz and Gemma welcomed development at the site but stressed it must be ‘suitable for a residential park’.

“We want to see the park utilised,” Liz said.

They hoped a public consultation will be held next time redevelopment is considered so that residents can work with the council.

“We would really look forward to that.

“Only together are you going to come out with what is best for the community,” Liz said.

A Worthing Borough Council spokesperson said: “We consulted residents as well as put up site notices.

“The outcome for these residents prove the process is sufficient, but of course we always welcome feedback on our processes.”

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