Plans have been submitted to remodel golf facilities at East Sussex National Resort and add a nine hole par three course, a footgolf course, and a 3G football pitch.
The club has applied for planning permission to:
- Remodel land currently occupied by three academy holes into a nine hole Par 3 course, footgolf course, and 3G synthetic grass football pitch.
- Provide a changing room building to service the football pitch
- Provide bench spectator seating adjacent to the changing facilities
- Remodel the driving range outfield to improve its drainage, ease of maintenance and the visibility of sections of the outfield from the teeing area
- Provide new synthetic grass and natural grass tee on the driving range
- Create a dedicated short game area, featuring a target green, practice bunker and surround practice approach fairway
- Extensive native planning scheme of trees, shrubs, native wildflower grassland
- Remodelling proposals would be undertaken using soils imported to the site by tipper lorries.
A statement with the planning application says East Sussex National has evolved over the years to meet different demands, a changing customer profile and competition for business.
It says: “The proposals set out within this document reflect the business’s desire to continue to broaden its customer base by creating both more accessible golf in the form of a par three course and short game academy, as well as diversify its leisure facilities through the provision of a high quality 3G synthetic football pitch.
“At the same time there is a pressing need to improve the golf driving range outfield that is in a poor state and not commensurate with the high standards of the other facilities at the resort.”
The statement says provision of the new facilities will help assure the resort’s long term viability so that it can continue to be an important sport and leisure destination for the local community and beyond, as well as provide long term employment opportunities.
The statement continues saying the use of a three-hole academy course has declined to an extent that it is no longer a viable feature and is costing the business significant capital to keep it in a presentable state for the occasional user.
A new Par 3 golf course and a state of the art 3G football pitch are considered more viable alternatives which would expand the range of facilities of offer both for hotel guests and the local community.
The practice ground is considered a vital component of the resort but the condition and appearance of the outfield are described as “not commensurate” with the overall quality of the resort and “does not meet its long-term aspirations”.
Remodelling of the entire outfield is proposed to improve drainage characteristics, improve its ease of maintenance and therefore aesthetic appearance, and meet the desire to East Sussex National to create an “exceptional practice facility and centre of excellence”.
Short game area
The statement says the resort lacks a dedicated short game area and a par three golf course would be of great benefit to the business and the local community.
Footgolf is growing in popularity and the proposal is to have features constructed within the par three golf course to allow the playing of that “informal and relaxed” version of golf.
Dedicated times would be given over to the playing of Footgolf during the weekend and at weekends.
Quality of teaching
The statement says the resort wants to raise the quality of teaching and practice facilities and to create a centre of teaching excellence and to that end there are proposals to improve the facilities.
“The practice ground is a vital component of the club, providing members and visitors an opportunity to develop their game, as well as a facility that local people can come and learn the game from qualified teaching staff.”
The plan is to re-shape the outfield to create a more exciting golfing terrain that drains properly and also allows healthy grass growth.
The outfield would feature purpose built target green complexes, Swales and banks, designed to be fun and interesting to practice on and be visually stimulating.
There would also be a state of the art synthetic tee to enable high quality practice whatever the weather.
Short game practice area
A short game practice area is also proposed with practice chipping green complexes designed with a variety of slopes, mounds, and allows, including bunkers, set up to enable the practice of the golfer’s short game, ie chips, pitches, bunker shorts.
3G football pitch
A 3G synthetic football pitch is proposed to broaden the customer base of East Sussex National Resort and enhance leisure facilities on offer.
It would be constructed on unused land to the north east of the hotel along with a changing facility with wash room and toilets, and bench seating for spectators.
The statement says cuts by Government to local councils are having a huge impact on grassroots football across the country with most authorities not able to fund grassroots football any more.
“Many grassroots clubs and teams are struggling to survive in these financially challenging times, with ever-increasing fees and a lack of affordable facilities both indoor, and out, affecting the opportunity to learn, train and enjoy playing football in secure, relaxed, and, more importantly, suitably dry conditions.”
The statement says the facility proposed at East Sussex National would fit in with desires of the FA, Football Foundation and Sport England.
Local schools and clubs would also be able to use the facilities for matches and training and PE lessons.
“In addition having high class facilities which elite academies can train on (premiership teams such as Brighton and Southampton use the hotel) is a perfect fit for this facility given the hotel, gym, and spa facilities available.”
Read more about the planning application on the Wealden Council website. The number is WD/2019/0715/MAJ.