Saturday 14 May 2011

Withdean Stadium moves on . . .

 At the deserted Withdean Stadium, the City Council has made a planning application BH2011/00973 to remove the North East, East, South East, and South stands, and seems to have anticipated giving itself permission, as most of these have already disappeared. Three office buildings and 11 toilet blocks are also to be removed. The Council is also seeking to retain the unobtrusive west stand seen above. 

However the original planning permission for the Grandstand canopy, see below, was evidently permanent and it seems the superstructure will remain. This is unfortunate as it is unsightly and obscures the more pleasing facade of the 1930's Withdean Sportsman and terrace.

The Stadium opened in 1936 as the finest tennis centre outside Wimbledon and hosted the 1939 Davis Cup Match. It has since morphed through numerous changes including a mortuary (during the war), a zoo, athletics arena, circus pitch, cricket pitch, horse show arena, and, since 1998 until their departure this year, the Albion's home. 

The whole site is nowadays referred to as the Withdean Sports Complex and  has 3 indoor and 3 outdoors tennis courts, 8 squash courts, exercise studio, health suite, five a side football / netball pitch, crèche and a 50 station fitness gym. The venue is also the home of the highly successful Withdean Tennis Academy which has obtained both LTA satellite & tennis clubmark accreditations. For the future  local campaigners are looking for updated tennis courts and a skateboard ramp for younger residents.

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