‘Bonkers’ plan raises concerns for residents

Richard Fisher (foreground) with concerned residents.  Picture: Grant Melton
Richard Fisher (foreground) with concerned residents. Picture: Grant Melton

Plans to develop a sports and social club in Haywards Heath have left a group of residents concerned.

The people, who live in Southdowns Park, have fears about access, safety and ‘noise pollution’ if the £1.2 million development goes ahead.

St Francis Sports and Social Club. Picture: Grant Melton

St Francis Sports and Social Club. Picture: Grant Melton

The planning proposal for St Francis Sports and Social Club in Colwell Road is yet to be considered by Mid Sussex District Council.

If it goes ahead it will include a new community hall in replacement of the Norman Hay Hall, new changing facilities and parking.

The club said it would ‘not be a party venue or pub’ and it was happy to continue to work with residents to address concerns.

However, Richard Fisher, 46, who lives with his wife and three children in Southdowns Park, believed the plan was ‘bonkers to consider’.

He said: “We have had to make a lot of noise about this as this development will affect 250 people.

“There will be 1,000 extra cars a week all going through the hospital grounds. I am worried about the safety of my children and the elderly.

“On the surface the development looks fantastic – a slick modern building greatly improving the facilities of the current pool. However, this large community hall will be licensed to midnight holding events for up to 250 people.

“I can’t help but think there is going to be significant noise pollution to residents as people leave an event at night where alcohol is on offer.”

He said the hall would destroy the ‘peace’ of the area. He added: “In the local plan it talks about being green and sustainable – with access to walk and cycle. This is not the case in this application.”

Resident Judith Barnard was concerned about the impact on the hospital, traffic and parking.

She said: “The impact on patients trying to get to appointments will be enormous.”

Stuart Campbell, chairman of the club, said he was ‘more than happy’ to meet and work with the residents as the club had been doing for the past five years.

He said: “We are a good neighbour and we take the residents’ concerns on board.

“The community hall is not going to be a party venue or pub at the end of the road.

“It is primarily to be used for the benefit of the community as a whole. We are trying to sort the access issue and agree this could become a problem.

“We have also made the community hall smaller and have made sure it will be away from nearby residents.”