Sussex club to explore ground sharing options ahead of new ground development

A Sussex football club will explore the option of a ground share with one of their near-neighbours during the construction of their new £3million purpose built community stadium.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 7:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 7:38 pm
Burgess Hill Town supporters at their home game with Brightlingsea Regent. Picture by Chris Neal.

Burgess Hill Town 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.

But Newell stressed that this deal was 'not yet set in stone' and that other viable ground sharing options could become available.

The Hill chairman also recognised that lost revenue would be an issue during their year away from Burgess Hill but stressed that he didn’t want the move to ‘impact the playing budget’.

He added: “Although we’ve spoken to the Sussex FA, and in principal they’ve said yes we can have a ground share there, it’s not set in stone.

“There’s a new facility at Horsham, there’s also a possibility of sharing with Haywards Heath, or even Worthing.

“We haven’t had discussions with those clubs, which I will do when the time is right, but I had to have a fallback position. That’s why we spoke to the Sussex FA early doors and flagged up what was going on to them.

“We expect to get help from Sussex FA in other respects as well, but half of the proposition does mean that we have to look at the loss of revenue for at least one season when we’re not playing at home.

“Although we’ve got a fantastic band of loyal supporters, inevitably crowds are going to diminish and we will lose out on things like bar revenue and we will be paying to use somebody else’s facilities.

“Compensating the football club for that move has to be factored into the cost of doing the whole deal.

“I don’t want it to impact on what they’re providing in the way of budget for the management.

“If it did it would kibosh the whole thing before we started. Football even at Step 4 level is an expensive exercise.”