Decision due on new clubhouse for Haywards Heath RFC

Plans for new clubhouse
Plans for new clubhouse

A new clubhouse for Haywards Heath Rugby Football Club could be approved next week.

The existing clubhouse, car park and pitches sit in a larger open space known as Whitemans Green Recreation Ground on the north western side of Cuckfield village.

The existing clubhouse, which would be demolished, is a part pre-fabricated steel frame structure that is very dated and is no longer fit for purpose.

A planning application has been submitted for a new state-of-the-art clubhouse, amendments to access and extra car parking.

The application says: “The club has become a victim of its own success - and this new clubhouse and external areas will provide a safe environment for all users and give the club a ‘permanent’ home.”

Almost 400 letters of support have been received by Mid Sussex District Council compared to 11 objections.

The plans are due to be discussed by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday (May 29).

Officers are recommending planning permission be granted subject to conditions.

The new clubhouse is larger than the existing single-storey premises.

This increase in size reflects the success of the club and addresses the host of deficiencies that are apparent in the existing structure.

In addition to the enlarged changing area provision, there is a proposed first floor that includes a function room and bar area - leading out to a viewing balcony.

The club has seen a significant growth in the number of players, especially younger members who train regularly, and needs facilities to accommodate this. In particular as rugby is the fastest growing team sport for girls in the UK, the accommodation needs to provide separate changing areas.

As well as being used by the club the first-floor space can be used for outside functions and will also be a home for the Fairfax Building Young Futures charity.

The access geometry has been improved to allow for two cars to pass each other comfortably - which will ease congestion at the entrance - which in turn will reduce the need to queue on the road when turning in to the site.

The existing car parking area close to Whitemans Green is shown as being upgraded in terms of geometry and surfacing to provide additional, correctly sized spaces.

An area of car parking is also now shown on the eastern side of the clubhouse which will create additional spaces and also a turning area for service vehicles and parking for visiting team coaches that otherwise cause congestion in the main car park.