HUNDREDS of Albion fans will have to use a different car park this season after talks with a landowner broke down.
The owner of Bennett’s Field, near the club’s American Express Community Stadium, is asking for more money after a previous three-year rental deal expired.
Brighton and Hove Albion do not want to stretch to the latest offer and have informed its 1901 Club members – premium season ticket holders – affected by the decision.
Executive director Martin Perry said: “We appreciate this news will come as a blow to many. It may be that in the future we are able to return to Bennett’s Field but in the meantime, we will put the original plans back in place. We apologise for any inconvenience.”
However, Matthew Bennett, who has owned the field with his brother for about 20 years, said: “It is a matter of seeing if we can come to a reasonable agreement.”
Asked if negotiations had broken down, he said: “It’s early days. I was not aware it had reached that point.”
The Argus believes the fee being demanded is about three times the previous one, although neither side would be drawn on the amount.
Despite the problems, the club says it still has enough spaces to cater for fans.
Fans who used to park in Bennett’s Field, which catered for 400 vehicles, will now have to park at the University of Sussex and walk under the A27 to get to the stadium. There are about 700 spaces at the university for mid-week games and 1,100 at weekends and bank holidays.
The club started using Bennett’s Field to make up a shortfall while the bridge car park was being converted.
Bennett’s Field was not part of the original design but the club still has permission to use about a third of it via a different landowner.
Disabled car parking remains unaffected.
The club’s total number of spaces is greater than the minimum number required in the planning permission for the stadium.