Mid Sussex District Council allocates £1.5 million to improve local sports facilities

Mid Sussex District Council has awarded community groups more than £1.5 million in Section 106 developer contributions to support the improvement of local sports facilities.

The Council’s Cabinet Grants Panel met on 21 February 2022 to discuss the latest applications for Section 106 grant funding and agreed to award £1,558,426 to three Mid Sussex voluntary organisations. The funding was formally confirmed on 3 March 2022 following a 10 day ‘call-in’ period.

Colwell Ground Community Interest Company (CIC) has been allocated £1,450,147 towards the delivery of new sports pitches and a community building near St Francis Sports and Social Club in Haywards Heath. The ambitious £8 million project will see the delivery of three new all-weather sports pitches, suitable for hockey and football, alongside a new community centre that will feature a café, museum, nursery and accessible toilets.

Crawley Down Gatwick Football Club has been granted £100,029 to support the delivery of new dugouts, energy efficient lighting and new fencing. The current floodlights are powered by a large diesel generator, which is noisy, expensive to run and bad for the environment. With this funding, the club will be able to light their pitches in a more sustainable way by installing a new mains electricity supply to power energy efficient LED floodlights. The new dugout will ensure the club meets Football Association standards and an eight metre high fence will prevent balls hitting cars and homes at the nearby Beckers housing estate.

Burgess Hill Bowls Club was awarded £8,250 to install bi-fold doors that allow spectators to view games from the clubhouse during inclement weather. The improvements will integrate the outside area with the inside, making the clubhouse a more modern space which could be hired for community functions and social activities.

Councillor Norman Webster, MSDC Cabinet Member for Community said:

“These grant allocations represent a significant investment in local sports facilities and have the potential to benefit the lives of so many in the community.

“It’s exciting to see the plans Colwell Ground CIC has to create a new sporting hub in Haywards Heath, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support them with this Section 106 allocation. There is currently a shortage of hockey and artificial 3G pitches in the central and south areas of Mid Sussex, so these new facilities represent a real boost for local players.

“Sport is great exercise, which helps to improve our physical and mental wellbeing, but it is often so much more than that. Being part of a team brings people together, provides a sense of community and can help to break down barriers between people from different backgrounds.

“Colwell Ground is currently an underused site that is in need of improvement and therefore represents an excellent location for this project. By investing in first class sporting facilities, we can encourage more people to get involved with physical exercise and hopefully lead healthier, happier lives.”

For more information contact Mid Sussex District Council Community Facilities Project Officer Elaine Clarke on 01444 477275 or email elaine.clarke@midsussex.gov.uk.