You have until 21 April to comment on the St Francis Social & Sports Club planning application for a new community hall at Southdowns Park. You can find the application and associated documents here on the Mid Sussex District Council planning portal. The development proposes a large, two-storey extension to the existing 18m swimming pool, with enhancement to changing facilities, and conversion of the current tennis courts into parking. This extension will provide a cafe and licensed space for regular events for up to 250 people, running until midnight on any day of the week. In due course the club plans to create an additional three all-weather sports pitches to be available 24/7 to enhance sports provision in Haywards Heath. This phase is not part of the current application.
The council has awarded a grant of £1.12m (see their news page here.) The community hall is intended to be a replacement for the former disused Norman Hay Hall, which was destroyed by fire in 2006. The monies were provided by housing developers as part of a Section 106 agreement.
There are a number of issues that residents feel should be considered by the planning authority regarding the suitability of the location, with regard to road, pedestrian and cycle access.
The site is only currently only accessible via a private road which is not maintained by the council – so is never repaired, cleared, cleaned or gritted by them. It is narrow, with blind bends. And barely sufficient space in parts for two cars to pass. There are two children’s play areas on either side of the road. There are no public footpaths or pavements. Lighting is extremely poor. This road currently serves residents, providing access to their private parking. Public rights of way are permitted to access the football pitch, bowls club, tennis courts and swimming pool via the Princess Royal Hospital.
Post your comments to the council here. Please include your postal address – otherwise the council may disregard your comments.