Decision due on revamp of Sussex County Cricket Ground

More than 100 people have written in support of plans to build flats and offices at Sussex County Cricket Ground in Hove.

The revamp at the ground in Eaton Road, Hove, involves demolishing the now closed Sussex Cricketer pub on the south side of the site along with a house and commercial buildings.

Sussex Cricket wants to replace them with a nine-storey building, including 37 flats, a new pub and restaurant, commercial premises and parking.

In a second phase of the scheme the club wants to demolish its offices and part of the south west stand.

In its place it plans to build a new extension, club shop, reception area, bar, café and hospitality area.

The planning application is due to be decided by Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee next week.

Officials have advised the committee to grant permission when it meets at Hove Town Hall next Wednesday (4 March).

This would give approval for the detailed plans for first two phases of the project and outline permission for the third and fourth phases.

The third phase is for two stands to replace the informal seating area and better hospitality.

The fourth phase is to demolish an existing hospitality area and build a new stand.

Sussex Cricket Ltd held two public exhibitions in February and September last year, before submitting its plans, to gauge the public response.

The club also consulted conservation and community groups about the project.

By the end of January there were almost 120 letters of support and more than 50 objections to the project on the council’s website.

A supporter, whose details were redacted by the council, wrote: “I fully support this proposal as the Sussex County Ground is an important community asset for Hove and would like to see it remain in Hove.

“Also this development will help create jobs and attract additional funds into Hove.

“I have been going to the County Ground since junior school and this has played a big part in my life.

“I now have the privilege of also taking my children who are having an even greater experience, which will further improve with the proposed development.”

Another supporter said: “The impact on local businesses on T20 days and concert days is a great boost. With this development, this will lead to increased employment and knock-on positive impacts to local businesses.

“It will enable the club to have a business use through hospitality to make use of the ground on more days, enabling cricket and its social benefits to continue within the centre of Hove.”

Letters of support were also received from the Regency Society and Hove Civic Society.

Objectors cited overshadowing, noise and overdevelopment of the site.

One objector, who was also concerned about noise and traffic, wrote: “It is unclear the role the development has in improving Sussex County Cricket Ground.

“The nine-storey block that will replace the Sussex Cricketer is too tall and bulky and imposes too much on the surrounding Willett Estate.

“To replace the pub and garden with a block of flats and a bar with outside drinking is an unsuitable change for the residential area.”

Another objector, who said that they were a long-standing member of the club, said that the development was unnecessary.

In another redacted statement they said: “There have been a continual stream of applications from Sussex CCC for the last 10 years and each one is having an impact on local residents in terms of noise, loss of view, loss of privacy.

“Local transport and medical services are already stretched.

“It is time now to make a decision that it will not impact on the local community any more.

“It is a cricket club and for that purpose alone is perfectly all right.”

Should the application be approved, Sussex Cricket is expected to pay the equivalent of 16 per cent for off-site affordable housing for the first phase and a further 16 per cent for phases two, three and four.

The club hopes to attract grant funding and, if successful, may contribute almost £900,000 for affordable housing in the later phases.

It is also expected to pay almost £95,000 for improvements to pavements, bus stops and the existing bike hub, almost £50,000 for education and £32,000 towards public art as well as more than £110,000 for open spaces and recreation.

The Planning Committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall next Wednesday (4 March).

The meeting, which should be open to the public, is scheduled to start at 11am.