Sidlesham Football clubhouse plans supported

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A CONTENTIOUS plan for a new football club house has been supported by Sidlesham parish councillors despite some opposition.

The decision to support a planning application for the club house was made after an argument as to whether the chairman should be allowed to vote.

Council chairman Paul Bedford, , presented Sidlesham Football Club’s plan for a new ‘football and social club’ in the Memorial Recreation Ground last Wednesday.

One resident said: “Is it not an important factor that nearly 100 people came along here and made it fairly clear they would be upset if by providing this facility we would be deprived of a village hall for several years?”

Another said she thought it was difficult for residents to comment on the application when the documents did not give detail of the internal layout, such as where the community facilities would be.

Chairman Bedford explained that there was no budget to build a village hall whereas the football club had the ability to get a grant for this build and this facility would still be available for the community to use.

“Everyone would agree a shiny new building would be grand, but it can’t be afforded.”

Cllr Corina Hall told Cllr Bedford she felt he should not vote as he had ongoing input into the application and assisted the club.He agreed to abstain despite support from other councillors who argued that he had no financial interest.

Cllr Elizabeth Smart addressed the public and said: “This has gone on for at least five years and if you all feel like that it’s a great shame you didn’t say anything before.”

Speaking about the club she said: “They have a future at the moment, if they don’t have planning consent they won’t have a future. You can’t knock someone down to get what you want just because you’ve just decided you want it.”

The Observer previously reported residents had held a meeting at the beginning of April and most said they did not want a new clubhouse as they would prefer a village hall for the whole community.

The final decision over the planning application rests with Chichester District Council.