Worthing United facing relocation after Lyon’s Way ground earmarked for housing development

Worthing United Football Club has urged its supporters to help secure the team’s future after its home ground was earmarked for housing development.

A draft local plan submitted by Worthing Borough Council in October lists the club’s home at Robert Albon Memorial Ground in Lyon’s Way as a potential location for 60 new houses – on the condition that a new home for the football club can be found.

Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt stand at the Robert Albon Memorial Ground

Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt stand at the Robert Albon Memorial Ground

Vice-chairman Mark Sanderson said the possibility of being relocated for development has been well known since the club first moved in around 25 years ago.

“With the borough council being under so much pressure to build, it is always a question of when, not if,” he said.

“We are concerned and nervous – where on Earth do you put a football club? Our requirements are for a football stadium; maybe not that grand, but we need a fully enclosed ground with floodlights to comply with football league rules, which is able to accommodate so many people.

“It is equally as difficult to find us a home as it is to find areas to build houses on.

(Left to right) Worthing United sponsor Peter Saywell, chairman Bill Clifford and vice-chairman Mark Sanderson

(Left to right) Worthing United sponsor Peter Saywell, chairman Bill Clifford and vice-chairman Mark Sanderson

“At the end of the day, it will happen at some point, so we need to try and work with the developers and the council to find a new home.”

The draft local plan aims to supply a minimum of 4,182 new homes before 2033, at a rate of 246 year.

The Robert Albon Memorial Ground is currently classed as an ‘omission site’ on the basis that ‘the council is not satisfied that the football club can be suitably relocated and that the resulting loss of a playing field can be justified’.

The land is owned by a private landowner, but Mr Sanderson said the council has pledged to move it to council-owned land with a long lease.

“It is a historic home for us, it is our home and my preference would be to stay there,” he said.

“But if we could move on to a state of the art stadium, then great. We could move up the football pyramid.

“In terms of numbers, we are bigger than Worthing Football Club, we are a massive club, with a massive following on social media and what we are trying to say to people is support the council in their pledge not to develop on the land until the football club is rehomed.

“We just wanted to give this draft plan some exposure and publicity so that people can have their say.

“I would advise people to follow the links, have a read of the council documents and make their own minds up, but we want support for the fact that the council are pledging to rehome us and work with the developers to find us a new home.”

Full details of the draft local plan can be found here: www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/media/media,151142,en.pdf

The public can make comments on the plan here: www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/worthing-local-plan/draft/#how-to-make-comments

In August, Worthing United's CCTV captured cows exploring the Robert Albon Memorial Ground, a snippet of which can be found at the top of the page.

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