Sussex club 'welcome talks' with Burgess Hill Town over ground sharing agreement

Burgess Hill Town fans at their home game with Leatherhead earlier in the season. Picture by Chris Neal.
Burgess Hill Town fans at their home game with Leatherhead earlier in the season. Picture by Chris Neal.

A Sussex club has extended an olive branch to Burgess Hill Town by offering their facilities for a ground sharing agreement while Hill's new £3million community stadium is being built.

Bostik South East side Haywards Heath Town have said 'they would welcome talks' between the two clubs, as the Hillians look to find a temporary home for the 2020/21 season.

Last week Hill announced plans to move into the new ground on the Bedelands playing field by the 2021/22 campaign, but they will have to face a season away from the town while building is completed.

Hillians chairman and director Kevin Newell has provisionally agreed with Sussex FA to use their Lancing headquarters, which would cost approximately £250,000 in lost revenue and rental outlay.

In a statement released by Haywards Heath Town chairman Mick Cottingham, a ground share at Heath's Hanbury Park would benefit Hill, and the Mid Sussex area, due to the close proximity between the two clubs as well as reduce costs for the Hillians while they play away from Burgess Hill.

The statement read: "We at Haywards Heath Town Football Club read with interest the announcement by our neighbours Burgess Hill Town Football Club that they have plans for an exciting new stadium.

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"Their ground move would of course necessitate a ground share for a period of time and we'd like it to be known that our club would welcome talks with Burgess Hill's chairman Kevin Newell on this matter.

"As stated by the Hillians, they have already held talks with the Sussex FA about using their facilities at Lancing, but we feel that Hanbury Stadium offers a better solution for the club and their loyal supporters

"We have currently passed our ground grading for promotion to Step 3 football - so provide facilities which meet Burgess Hill's requirements

"Hillians' supporters would incur far less cost and travel time and at the same time keep the carbon footprint to a minimum. By staying in Mid Sussex, it would also ensure that money remains in the local economy, benefiting our local businesses - such as the hospitality trade.

"Most importantly, for Burgess Hill's 'Forza Alliance' supporters - unlike the Sussex FA in Lancing - we have no restrictions on drums and other musical instruments, so they would be able to recreate the same atmosphere they currently enjoy at their home games. We also warmly welcome dogs, another thing outlawed at Culver Road, Lancing.

"We really hope that Burgess Hill Town Football Club sees the benefits all-round for the clubs and its supporters and make contact to open discussions as to how we can help them in the interim as their new stadium is built."