New ground for football club amid village homes plan

The shape of things to come?
The shape of things to come?

Proposals for a state-of-the-art new football ground with a clubhouse and 3G pitch at King’s Academy, Ringmer, have been submitted to Lewes District Council.

The proposals represent a joint initiative between the Academy, Ringmer Football,Club and a local developer, Bedford Park.

At the same time applications for the redevelopment of the existing ground at Caburn Field for 90+ new homes and a new facility for the Royal British Legion Rifle Club and Ringmer Cricket Club will also be progressed.

Ben Ellis, of developers Bedford Park, said: “We are delighted that these joint proposals are now able to move forward to planning. After many years of discussions we will hopefully now be able to deliver a combination of benefits for the community.

“This would not have been possible without the positive input and support of so many local groups and individuals.

“The proposals have evolved through the input of many people including Lewes District Council, Ringmer Parish Council, King’s Academy, The Cheyney Trust, Ringmer Rifle Club, Ringmer Cricket Club, East Sussex County Council and the football club themselves.

“It is because of the commitment of these organisations that we hope to deliver all the schemes during the course of next year should we be successful at planning.”

The proposals for Caburn Field will include land owned by both the football club and Lewes District Council. A “significant” proportion of affordable accommodation will be provided and the overall proposals have been designed to meet local community needs.

The open space area will be transferred to the parish council to ensure its continued provision and upkeep.

Gary Holder, a Trustee of Ringmer Football Club, said: “So much hard work has gone into bringing these proposals forward. This is an ideal scenario as the club’s future is now guaranteed and it can remain in the village.

“The existing ground has been allocated for development for many years but no one has managed to facilitate the relocations or the proposals necessary to fund such a huge undertaking.

“This has been a true community effort and the club would like to thank all those who have supported us throughout the project thus far.”

Di Smith, Interim CEO King’s Group Academies, said: “We fully endorse these proposals which will not only bring huge benefits to our students at the Academy but also further cements our vision for the Academy to be at the heart of the Ringmer community.”

Should proposals be granted consent it is hoped that work will start on the new club facilities and the rifle and cricket club building early in 2019, with an anticipated completion for summer to allow football to be played at the new ground in time for the start of the next season.