Residents' concerns over proposals for new Mid Sussex polo site
Proposals to build a new polo pitch in Mid Sussex are being met with opposition from people living nearby.
Keen polo player John Bunn - owner of The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead - is seeking planning permission to convert farmland in Sayers Common into the new polo pitch.
He is also seeking approval for associated works including the formation of a new lagoon, landscaping, and vehicle access via Northend Lane.
Mr Bunn, who formed The All England Polo Club at Hickstead in 2006, wants to host private polo games on the site and also stage up to four major summer tournament events there to complement polo events at Hickstead.
But nearby residents are concerned about the effects of extra traffic in the area and the number of lorries using nearby roads during construction of the polo pitch.
Hurstpierpoint Parish Council has also voiced concerns saying that restricted access to the site makes it ‘totally unsuitable’ for world class events.
And one angry resident said that an access road to the polo pitch in Mill Lane was too narrow to cope with what is estimated to be more than 9,000 lorry loads to prepare the site.
Another said residents already had to cope with extra traffic and dangerous parking in the area because of car boot sales. Others feared that horse trailers would clog the lane.
Another resident predicted that during construction there would be a 2,678 per cent increase in heavy vehicles along the lane.
But agents acting for Mr Bunn, in a statement to Mid Sussex District Council, say that the polo pitch will generate new jobs in the area and that it is needed after the loss of two ‘grass root clubs’ in recent months - Sussex Polo at Rowfant and FHM in Burgess Hill.
They say: “John Bunn believes that this new facility will help to cement Hickstead’s Polo credentials offering facilities all year round rather than just the winter arena facility currently offered.
“The proposal will offer employment opportunities and generation of rural business opportunities.”
And the proposed new polo pitch has won support from some who say it is ‘a great use of space.’
One added it would enhance the area and bring in more revenue, as well as jobs.