Hambledon Football Club’s Additional Pitch Proposal – Many Views Expressed

A planning application from Hambledon Football Club for an additional pitch and training area at its Badger Park ground has resulted in a considerable number of comments, both for and against.

So far approximately 100 householders from the village and beyond have registered their views on the Waverley Borough Council’s planning website. Many residents close to the Hambledon Road ground, which is in countryside designated as Green Belt and of National Landscape value (AONB), have submitted strong objections, but many others are in support.

(Photo shows pitch and club house. Proposed new pitch will be in the field in the distance)

Hambledon Parish Council considered the application during its February meeting. At that time, the application had only just been registered with Waverley and no comments – for or against – had been made. Nor were there any comments from statutory consultees, such as Surrey County Council which has since listed additional requirements for the application to be approved.

In its initial response the parish council affirmed its commitment to the provision of sporting facilities and noted that no new structures were proposed in the rural setting of the club. However, it also stated that it was too early to consider any neighbour responses.

The parish council has requested additional time from Waverley in order to consider and respond to the views of residents and other recent developments. This has been granted.

It is important to note that the decision on whether to grant or refuse permission is made by Waverley, which is the planning authority for this area. The parish council can only submit comment, which must be confined to relevant planning grounds.

The application and all documentation and comment can be found HERE

Please read on for further details.

Hambledon Football Club’s ground has been at the current site since the 1950s, using a field provided by local farmers the Parker family from Feathercombe. In the late 2000s the club purchased the site, enabling it to build a new clubhouse in 2013 and on-site car parking the following year.

Four adult sides use the pitch on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings, with some evening games when daylight permits. The ground is cared for by Martyn Grove and Matt Kiley, both named national champions as FA Groundsteam of the Year in 2022.

With just one grass pitch, Matt said the club has to be careful not to overuse it and it has to use facilities elsewhere for training and some matches. The Parker family has now leased an adjoining field which the club wants to turn into an additional pitch, training area, and a five-a-side pitch.

It does not propose any new buildings or additional access but it is asking for permission for portable pitch-side lighting to enable evening games and training. This will be removed at the end of each game. The existing club house and changing rooms will be sufficient but provision of an additional 25 car parking spaces is requested.

Nearby residents have broadly expressed support for sporting activities and for the club, but feel any expansion in an area designated as Green Belt, a National Landscape (formerly known as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and an Area of Great Landscape Value is inappropriate and detrimental.

The use of lighting in an otherwise dark sky area, increase in traffic, additional noise during games, and concerns that the benefits will largely go to players living outside the village, are among views expressed. Some fear that the club is looking to expand its commercial activities and increase use of its clubhouse.

Surrey County Council, in its initial response, has requested provision for electric vehicle charging points, a cycle shelter and a pedestrian access off the adjacent Bridleway 131. The Surrey Hills National Landscape board has yet to comment.

On behalf of the football club, Matt said it would be resisting the SCC requirements as they are not needed and was prepared to offer conditions to ensure that resident concerns can be addressed. He said that only one pitch would be in use at any one time, so there should be no additional noise or traffic. Although the removable pitch-side lighting would increase training opportunities, it would consider compromising on this issue.

(Photo shows site of proposed new pitch, with existing pitch in the distance)

The only thing that would remain in place at the end of a game on the proposed new pitch would be the goal posts. The extra pitch and training space at the Badger Park ground would enable the club to strengthen its links with nearby Milford Pumas and its provision for youth football.

He added that the club’s committee was planning to meet shortly to consider neighbour objections and how it might address their concerns. “We are essentially a community club for Hambledon and we want to work with that community. We have no plans to expand beyond the provision of an second pitch and the additional opportunities for local sport that go with it”, he said.

Hambledon Parish Council will further consider the application as part of its ordinary business at its next monthly meeting at 8pm on Tuesday March 5th. The Agenda will be posted on the Parish Council section of this website, as usual.

In the meantime, please use the comment link below this article to post any views or suggestions you may have.

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T. Vincent
T. Vincent
3 months ago

Whilst I am in favour of the opportunity a project like this presents to the healthy promotion of sport, once again my thoughts turn to the disruption and impact upon our nature and ‘Dark Skies’ conundrum. Already we have had losses and disruption of habitat at the field by Hydestile Crossroads, the field by No1 Hydons Farm (opposite the football field location) . It seems that people who do not live within or near the disruption are always ‘OK’ with development? Here at Hydestile we are coping with months of flooding and mud causing reduction of the usable, walkable road… Read more »

Trudy Feather
Trudy Feather
3 months ago

Really……we, Hambledon, want to loose a large area of land in an ANOB to football!!!

This is not a proposal for the community to benefit and enjoy together, it is only for a select few.

I support T Vincent’s comments below and also ask

How is access to the second field planned – I believe it is by cutting a wide path through a hedgerow thereby destroying various habitat – can this be verified

The subject of lighting – how is this proposed -is this via generators or mains -ie extra level of noise if from generators.