Horntye Park, Hastings SUS-210211-120244001

Horntye, Hastings - fears for future of sports clubs if housing development does not go ahead

Sports leaders say it is unlikely their clubs will be able to continue providing cricket and hockey for their members if land at Horntye Park is not sold for a major housing development.

A planning application has been made for outline permission for access and layout for the proposed redevelopment of land to build 95 houses and a 66-bed care home at Horntye Park Sports Complex in Bohemia Road.

John Morgan, chair of Hastings & St Leonards Priory Cricket Club, and Jeremy Bunday, chair of South Saxons Hockey Club, said they were two of the original clubs to based at Horntye.

They have a combined membership of about 360 members and been at the site for more than 20 years.

However, they fear for the future of their clubs.

In a joint statement they said: “As a private charity Trust the owners of the complex have been required to run the business with no external government or local revenue funding.

“The income generated over the years has not been sufficient to cover the costs of repairs and replacement of facilities.

“The point has now been reached where the complex requires a significant injection of funds to continue to provide any sports facilities and the only way to secure this funding is to sell the grounds, repair the building - which will remain - and replace cricket and hockey facilities at another location.

“The Trust has spent significant time and money investigating other locations in the Borough but none have been identified as viable and hence the decision to build new facilities just outside the borough boundary.

“A strong community use agreement has been negotiated which will enable both clubs to continue to provide sporting opportunities to the people of Hastings and surrounding areas and secure the future of the clubs.

“Both Hastings Priory and South Saxons have an enviable reputation for engaging with all ages across the town and developing players with the skills for lifelong enjoyment of sport and the associated benefits. This investment allows both clubs to continue to develop wider opportunities for anyone who wants to play hockey and/or cricket.

“Should this application not be approved it is unlikely that the clubs will be able to continue providing cricket and hockey for its current and future members.”

The scheme, put forward by Hastings and Rother Sports Trust, has received mixed reaction from residents who have submitted comments to Hastings Borough Council planners on the authority’s planning portal.

Some raised concerns about the loss of recreational green space and felt it was a vital buffer for wildlife between nearby woods and housing.

Others welcomed the plan and said it would provide much needed affordable housing and a new centrally located care home.

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