Oakwood Park just off the Maresfield by-pass where there are plans to establish a "premier polo facility" for the South East.

Plans for ‘premier polo facility’ next to Maresfield by-pass

Plans are being made to have a “premier polo facility” for the South East at Oakwood Park, on the Maresfield by-pass.

And to comply with Hurlingham Polo Association regulations – the governing body for polo – a planning application has been submitted to build a storage/livestock building and polo arena on the site.

They have been submitted by Francis Matthews who says he secured the freehold of the site last year and plans to relocate a polo club there from Hickstead.


Looking on to the Oakwood Park site, where a full-size, laser-levelled polo field could be built.

Documents submitted to Wealden Council with the planning application say the aim is to have a purpose-built, full-size, laser-levelled polo field and launch a “premier polo facility for the South East”.

A design and access statement says the nearest venues offering comparable facilities are as far away as Windsor Great Park to the north and Cowdray Park to the west.

Mr Matthews says he is a fully qualified HPA instructor of 12 years experience. He uses his own string of ten to 15 polo ponies to instruct newcomers and for hiring to regular club members.

“I encourage a broad cross section of the community to attend taster sessions and regular polo training.

“In addition to the club members, I currently organise regular group sessions for both Brighton and Sussex university students, preparing them for National tournaments.

“The Riding for the Disabled have also expressed a keen interest to become involved in the development of the site for their regular use.”

The statement adds there will be opportunities for local businesses to promote themselves through sponsorship, and corporate entertainment, during tournaments and events.

And there will be various job opportunities as the club is established.

The statement says that for the HPA club affiliation to be successfully transferred to the site the infrastructure will have to comply with HPA regulations as included in the planning application.

The statement adds that a previous planning permission allows for a significant number of horse lorries and trailers entering and exiting the site and the quota is unlikely to be reached as a result of the new plans.

It says: “There are seldom any public spectators as there are no professional players at the club to raise the level above amateur.

“I do not currently intend to be organising any equestrian events other than polo, and therefore this will also mean that the calculations submitted for the current permitted use dramatically exceed this of my intended use.

“Notwithstanding allowances for future expansion and growth, the current permitted use will more than meet my predicted use.”

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