Planners cast doubt on improvements to Eastbourne football grounds

Langney Wanderers Football Ground in Shinewater Lane (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150826-155534008
Langney Wanderers Football Ground in Shinewater Lane (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150826-155534008

An Eastbourne football club’s hopes of promotion could be dashed as new stand plans are recommended for refusal.

Langney Wanderers Football Club, based at Shinewater Sports Ground, gained promotion to County League Division 2 after finishing third in the 2014/15 season.

Now, to meet the progression requirements of Sussex FA, the club will need to make a range of improvements to their current grounds.

The lack of amenities at the grounds has already prevented the club from one chance at promotion after they finished first in the 2013/14 season.

The club could now miss another shot at promotion as Eastbourne Borough Council recommend refusing the improvement plans due to its likely impact on the local area.

The plans, for a new 80-seater stand, has received opposition from residents living near Shinewater Sports Ground, who are concerned over its impact to the area.

A petition asks the council to refuse the plans over fears the stand will increase issues of anti-social behaviour and vandalism at the playing field.

Neighbours have also raised concerns over more noise pollution, increased parking demands and a loss of open space in the playing grounds – which are also open for public use.

In recent years planners have approved a range of improvements to the club grounds including a barrier around the football pitch.

In 2014, planners approved the erection of four 18m tall floodlights at the grounds to be used on Saturday evenings and at a weekday fixture.

The floodlights have not yet been built at the grounds s the club awaits further approval.

In a report council planning officers write, “Whilst the club is a sporting facility with benefits to the local community the benefits are not considered to outweigh the harm caused by the expansion of the club.”

The report continues, “It is considered that this recreational playing field is not the location for a team with aspirations of continued progression through the footballing pyramid.”

A final decision on the application will be made at the council planning committee on Tuesday September 1.

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