Hailsham football pitch saved

A Hailsham football club’s training pitch has been saved after months of campaigning.

Wealden District Council has agreed to offer Hailsham Town Council a lease extension to secure the future of Maurice Thornton Playing Field, off Marshfoot Lane.

Hailsham United Junior Football Club trains at the playing field which is owned by Wealden council and leased to the town council.

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The lease extension allows the club to establish a permanent base at the field while also ensuring the site is eligible for funding from the Football Association and Sport England so improvements can be made to the facilities.

Nusrat Ghani MP, Steve Wennington of Hailsham Active, East Sussex County Councillor Gerard Fox and Leader of Wealden District Council Bob Standley. SUS-210716-110010001

Hailsham United JFC is a grassroots community club offering organised football to boys and girls aged five to 16.

In support of the campaign, Wealden MP Nus Ghani helped convene meetings with club chairman Rick De Sousa and Steve Wennington of Hailsham Active while councillors Gerard Fox and Bob Bowdler helped to explore an optimal solution.

Following the meetings, leader of Wealden council Bob Standley agreed to extend the current lease for up to 50 years.

Ms Ghani said, “Wealden’s grassroots football clubs are at the heart of Wealden sport and play a key role in local communities.

“I’m pleased to have secured meetings with all parties involved to discuss the case and as a result, Wealden District Council has agreed to extend the lease.

“This will be of great benefit to Hailsham communities which use this open space, and especially to Hailsham United JFC which can now establish a permanent base at Maurice Thornton Playing Field and secure funds for improvements.

“Last year, I secured grants worth £24,500 to Wealden clubs from the Football Foundation and I will continue to campaign for improvements to Wealden sports facilities.”