Green light for Ringmer development paves the way for football club’s move

Caburn Field, Ringmer SUS-170911-084854008
Caburn Field, Ringmer SUS-170911-084854008

Plans for 77 new homes in the heart of Ringmer have been given the go-ahead this week.

Bedford Park Development is looking to build on Caburn Field in Anchor Field.

The development will facilitate the move of Ringmer Football Club to a new home at King’s Academy where new and improved sporting facilities are planned.

The application for Caburn Field was approved by Lewes District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday night (February 20), with only one vote against.

Peter Gardiner, Lib Dem councillor for Ouse Valley and Ringmer, said the plans were a ‘wonderful example’ of what cooperation between a developer, parish council and other organisations could achieve.

He described how the move for the football club to King’s Academy would mean all-weather facilities, ‘totally different from the mud patch we have at the moment’.

He also praised the developer who had ‘listened to local needs and changed his plans’.

Gavin May, speaking on behalf of the football club, described their 20-year ambition to find a new home as the current facilities were out of date.

He told the committee the plans were vital to ‘safeguard the future of Ringmer Football Club’, adding: “We are just about hanging in there financially thanks to the generosity of some of our committee members.”

Mr May continued: “We now have a real opportunity to move forward. I fear unless this happens our future is very much in doubt.”

Matt Hillier, principal of King’s Academy, described how the new sporting facilities at the school would only be possible if the development at Caburn Field was approved.

He looked forward to seeing the new facilities delivered so ‘young people can run off more excess energy’.

The meeting heard from officers that the scheme had originally been for 96 new homes but had been reduced to 77. This had removed a large block of flats at the front of the site which they felt would have been out of character.

Because the development was helping to fund off-site sporting facilities only 30 per cent affordable housing was being secured, below the council’s usual target of 40 per cent.

Drainage measures were being secured by condition as the site, particularly the south-east corner, is prone to flooding.

A new home for the rifle club has also been secured.

Richard Booth, speaking for Ringmer Parish Council, asked if the replacement skate park could be in place before the current one is demolished, whether the green space fronting Anchor Field and the car park could be fenced off to protect their usage during construction and requested the removal of visitor parking spaces outside individual properties.

Officers said they could request a change in the layout of the parking, while the skate park replacement was covered in the section 106 legal agreement.

Richard Turner (Con, Ouse Valley and Ringmer) said: “It’s not perfect but I think it’s as good as it’s going to get.”

He echoed a number of the points made by the parish council and praised the developer for ‘more than bending over backwards’.

Cllr Turner added: “It think it’s a great contribution to the village and it will really enhance all the sporting facilities.”

Tony Rowell (Green, Lewes Priory) said he appreciated the work that had gone into the plans, but asked if the site was being overdeveloped with its density breaching local plan policies.

He said: “It looks far more dense to me in there than the surrounding properties.”

Cllr Turner said that while the scheme might be a bit too dense it was ‘far less dense than it was’.

Sharon Davy (Con, Chailey and Wivelsfield), chair of the committee, said: “This is something we would like to see in all our villages.”