A Sussex-based football club have announced exciting new plans that could see them move into a new £3million purpose built community stadium by the 2021/22 season.
The planned site of Burgess Hill Town's new stadium will be built on the Bedelands playing field, immediately to the west of the Green Elephants Stadium, and will boast other facilities that will benefit the area.
A 3G playing surface fit for intensive use will be made available to local clubs, helping to alleviate the shortage of playing pitches in the district, as well as off-street parking which will be used in conjunction with the proposed new church at Maple Drive.
Mid Sussex District Council, the club’s landlord, insisted that, as the ground has for many years been earmarked for housing development, Hill could only have a five year lease.
Over the last 18 months Burgess Hill Town chairman and director Kevin Newell has engaged with housing developers and sports ground specialists to produce a scheme to persuade the council to ensure the future of the club.
Newell has received a positive response from the council and the Hill chairman firmly believes that new facilities will not just help the team, but help the community.
He said: “The big benefit is that it provides a facility for the community. There’s a lot of football clubs who don’t have adequate training facilities in the Sussex area, certainly where we are.
“Making that facility available is great for them and it also generates revenue for the football club.
“New facilities obviously do attract players. They like the idea of something new so that will help us with recruitment.
“We want to introduce into that community facility a community cafe and things like that because we’re right on the edge of the Northern Arc development of Mid Sussex council which is going to see another 3,000 houses coming along over the next five years.
“The majority of which are going to bought by young families and the area around the football club is desperately short of proper community facilities.
“We will bring that to the community and generally raise the profile of the football club around there to the benefit of everybody of the town.”
To afford the new development Hill will be selling the Leylands Park site for housing development, with the council applying the proceeds to cover the costs of the new facility.
Newell has been able to obtain figures from specialist contractors who have anticipated that the sale of Leylands Park could fetch between £4million to £5million.
The club would also look to secure grants from the Football Stadium Improvement Fund to help in the building work.
This will be offset by the approximate £3million cost of constructing the new ground as well the cost of a groundshare for the 2020/21 season.