Temporary seating at Withdean to become permanent

Posted On 27 Jul 2011 at 2:05 am

A temporary stand at Withdean Stadium is to become permanent and two sets of turnstiles are to be retained despite Brighton and Hove Albion’s move to Falmer.

The players’ lounge and changing rooms will also stay for three more years and the number of spaces in the northeast car park will be reduced to 100 from 116.

Eighteen secure cycle parking stands will be installed.

A number of neighbours objected to the planning application which was approved by Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee.

And two objectors were asked to leave the meeting for heckling after councillors voted in favour of the application.

John Catt, 86, and his daughter Linda, of Shepherds Croft, behind the 900-seat West Stand, both called out from the public gallery.

Mr Catt shouted at the committee members: “Not one of you stood up for local people. You’ve let the members of the public down.”

Linda Catt called out: “Shame on you!”

Afterwards she said: “They were just occupied with the nitty gritty of the parking spaces but no environmental impact assessment has been carried out.

“If there was an environmental impact assessment, people would be able to have an input.”

Improvements

Mr Catt added: “They haven’t enforced the condition that Brighton and Hove Albion should reinstate the stadium to the condition in which they found it.”

The council described the changes to the stadium since the club moved in there in 1998 as improvements.

It also said that the application, which was approved last Wednesday (20 July), would improve the landscaping of the site to provide better screening for neighbours.

Planning officer Mick Anson told the meeting that Whitehawk FC would not be using the stadium in the coming season after the club’s plans suffered a setback.

The club had hoped for a two-year temporary move so that its own ground could be improved.

Mr Anson said: “Whitehawk has postponed its move for a year while it negotiates with the Ryman League which restricts the use of temporary grounds to a year.

“The move is now scheduled for the start of next season, 2012-13.”

Worn out

Patcham Conservative councillor Carol Theobald asked about the athletics track.

Although it was not relevant to the application, Mr Anson said: “The council is planning to replace the track which is worn out and in need of repair.”

Green councillor Christopher Hawtree, who represents Central Hove, described the current state of the stadium as looking like a refugee camp.

After the meeting the chairman of the committee, Councillor Phelim MacCafferty said of the decision: “This is one of the spin-off benefits always promised as a legacy from the Albion’s time at Withdean.

“It will greatly improve the stadium for sports clubs and spectators.”

Although it did not form part of the planning application approved last Wednesday, the 1,300-seat North Stand is also being retained.

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