Local FA ask parish to back a new pitch

LH 090115 Monks recreation ground, Lancing. photo by Derek Martin SUS-150901-181848001
LH 090115 Monks recreation ground, Lancing. photo by Derek Martin SUS-150901-181848001

SUSSEX County FA has asked Lancing Parish Council to support its plans to build a new football pitch on Monks Recreation Ground.

At the full parish meeting on Wednesday, last week Sussex County FA chairman Mathew Major told the council it would like to implement a 3G pitch – an artificial football ground – on the site.

This will be funded, either in full or partly, using the £1.3m Section 106 money from Brighton and Hove Albion’s training ground, if approved by Adur District Council.

“For some years now, we’ve been working on the prospect of an artificial grass pitch for Monks Rec. We at Sussex FA said we’d be happy to look after it because we’ve got the staff,” said Mr Major.

However, in the summer of 2014, it was announced by the district council that around £700,000 of the 106 money was to be granted to the Robert Woodard Academy for a 3G pitch, despite Sussex County FA’s attempts to create their own.

“We were surprised because we thought it was going towards Monks Rec,” said Mr Major. “We still believe in this project, regardless of this decision.”

Sussex County FA met with Adur council following the decision.

“They were quite sympathetic about our case, but they made it clear that the decision had been made. However, we felt that some of their conclusions for that decision were wrong,”

Mr Major said he would still like to go through with the project even if they had to borrow part of the money.

If the Sussex County FA is awarded the full funds, it will receive £500,000 to build the 3G pitch, which will be used for the community, football clubs, charity initiatives and potentially other sports that are appropriate for the pitch type.

Lancing Parish Council chairman James Butcher said that some residents previously had voiced their disapproval of the 106 money being spent on another football ground when it could go towards other projects, like a skate park. “If we could organise a meeting between all the councils, that would be a good way forward,” said Mr Butcher.

Mr Major and his colleague, Ken Benham, chief executive of Sussex County FA, agreed and promised to show their draft proposal to the parish before submission.