New sports park could be built in Hailsham

Some of the current facilities in Hailsham
Some of the current facilities in Hailsham

A new sports park could be on the cards for Hailsham after town councillors agreed to give an ambitious project its full backing.

Representatives from Hailsham and District Sports Alliance, which was formed to unite sports clubs and promote sport in the town, attended a Hailsham Town Council meeting on Wednesday (March 25) to request formal support to improve access to sport in Hailsham.

The alliance’s project aims to secure land and funding for a new multi-purpose sports park to meet the needs of Hailsham’s increasing population.

Alliance chairman Steve Wennington, gave a presentation to councillors at the meeting, and outlined the current problem with the lack of indoor and outdoor sports facilities. He said local organisations can work together to secure the land for a new sports park and help make Hailsham a destination town – not a sports commuter town.

Mr Wennington said: “Hailsham used to be a leader in providing sporting facilities and back in the 1870s we had more sports area (by population) than is currently the recommended minimum. There is a severe deficiency in the amount of adequate sports facilities necessary to cater for the current population of Hailsham and Hellingly - which continues to increase as a result of new housing developments. Therefore, the creation of a multi-purpose sports park to include a floodlit artificial turf pitch as a priority as well as ancillary provision such as changing rooms, showers, toilets and function space.”

A spokesman for the town council said Hailsham is the largest town in the Wealden district, ‘yet has some of the least adequate sports field facilities for its size in the country.’ An analysis conducted this year by a sports consultant concluded that the deficit is already 15 acres of facilities. By the time the current agreed housing development in Hailsham is complete, it will rise to 26 acres (based on suggested guidelines from Sport England), the town council said.

It was discussed by councillors and Sports Alliance representatives that preference is to have a site for the new facility in or within very close proximity to Hailsham, so it is seen as a community asset. Mr Wennington said a committed team is needed to make it happen. He said: “This is a huge project, and to get this off the ground will also require massive support from sports clubs, businesses and influential people. We need to build a bit of an army for this project to highlight our current needs, and more importantly the needs of future generations in and around Hailsham.”

Town Clerk John Harrison said: “Proof that additional sports facilities are needed for future generations in Hailsham to thrive has already been provided and the next step is to form a workable plan to deliver a sustainable solution, and the determination of the community is essential to see the project through.” For more details about the proposal contact steve@pro-eco.co.uk