Tensions as plans for Sidlesham hall are revealed

A MEETING of the newly-formed Sidlesham Community Association (SCA) revealed plans for a new village hall last Thursday (May 22).

Around 50 residents attended the meeting, which saw discussions about the possibility of a multi-purpose hall for the community.

But the proposed site for the project, Sidlesham Recreation Ground, caused some contention, as it is the current home of Sidlesham Football Club.

Members of the football club were concerned the plans to build a village hall on the site would mean the eviction of the club.

But SCA committee member Richard Hall, said: “We want the football club to stay. We want something that will suit you and us as a community hall.”

The committee gave a presentation of its plans, which involved fundraising ideas and designs of other village halls around the district – including Oving and Bracklesham Barn.

There was also discussion about the possible uses of such a building – for fitness classes, local clubs, a pre-school, an outdoor gym and weddings.

The manager of Boxgrove village hall gave a talk on the village hall there, and how funding was secured.

But Sidlesham Football Club said it had plans to renovate the clubhouse at the site anyway, at its own expense.

“We are currently in the process of getting funding for the work on the clubhouse and changing rooms,” secretary of the club Tony Rowland told the Observer.

“This will be no short-term project, but the football club can promise we will be self-funding and there will be no cost to the people of Sidlesham.”

The SCA estimated the village hall could cost ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’, but would seek to secure grants and funding for the project.

Mr Rowland also revealed plans to set up a new junior football club integrated with the local school.

“We hope to cooperate with schools to revive our junior team and we are applying for funds from the Football Association and other bodies to make our clubhouse a credit to the village,” he said.

“The club is part of Sidlesham, part of what is often termed its social glue and carries with it from season to season tradition, memories, the highs of victories on the field and of defeats softened by a consoling pint in the bar after the match.

“As with all sport, it all becomes more than just a game – it’s about people.”