A Bexhill football club could be set to secure its own FA-approved grounds if proposals get the go ahead from council leaders next week.
Next Monday (November 4), Rother District Council cabinet members are to consider plans to lease part of Little Common Recreation Ground to Little Common Football Club as part of an eight-year rental agreement.
If approved, the decision would be the first step in creating a pitch which meets ground grading standards set by the FA, allowing the club to play league games at home in Bexhill for the first time in three seasons.
In a report to be considered at the meeting, a council officer said: “At present Little Common Football Club is enjoying the most successful period in its history and is competing at their highest ever level including participation in the FA Cup and FA Vase
“Officers have attempted, without success, to find an alternative compromise with the FA’s ground grading panel. Members are invited to consider the benefits of granting a lease to LCFC.”
In order to comply with the FA’s standards for its league, the Little Common pitch would need to be fenced off throughout the season and have a larger spectator stand than is there now. The club would need to gain planning permission for these works as part of a separate application process.
In the report, a council officer said: “It should be highlighted that while LCFC propose to keep the pitch accessible to the public by including gates in the fencing the recommendation in this report will lead to a loss of Pitch 4 as public open space.
“Residents will be able to raise objections as part of the process of disposal of the land through Section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972.”
For the last three seasons The Commoners have played home games at The Oval in Eastbourne as it is the only local venue with the capacity to host the team.
However, the council report says, this arrangement is no longer viable and will not continue after the 2019/20 season.
The club currently runs three senior teams and fourteen youth teams at Little Common Recreation Ground, providing training and matches for more than 250 people each week.
As a result, Rother District Council anticipates it will see a loss of income – approximately £3,000 each year – from pitch fees. However, it also expects to make a saving of £2,500 per annum as a result of no longer having to maintain the football pitch.
The club will also be charged £500 per year as part of the eight-year lease agreement.
Along with Sidley United and Bexhill United, Little Common have also expressed an interest in playing at the now disused Gullivers ground in Sidley – if it is redeveloped for football.