Uckfield pitch hold-ups but end in sight

New all weather pitch, Uckfield Community College and volunteer fundraisers with Hugh Hennebry (head UCTC)
New all weather pitch, Uckfield Community College and volunteer fundraisers with Hugh Hennebry (head UCTC)

There’s been a temporary hold-up in construction of Uckfield’s new all-weather sports pitch, but hopefully the pitch should be ready for use by October this year, in time for the football season.

Jeremy Hallett from the Uckfield All Weather Pitch campaign group (AWP4U) said: “As many people will be aware, there is no construction work going on at present. This is nothing to worry about. We have had an update from the Community College project team about the delay.”

He explained that there are two major power cables in the way of completing the pitch. The cables - which supply the Manor Park estate - cross a spot where the pitch was not originally going to be constructed. Meeting planners’ requirements meant that the pitch had to be moved closer to the existing buildings, and levelling it now means the cables must be moved.

He explained: “It may only be a couple of metres of movement required but it is a significant job and the contractor initially wanted more than we could accommodate in our budget.

“We have been re-negotiating the work and fundraising, but all has now been agreed and we have paid a lower fee. We hope that they will be able to squeeze our job in sooner than anticipated but it may mean that the pitch is not opened until October.”

The seal of approval for the scheme was given in January last year when planners agreed the siting and construction of the £650,000 pitch. A major fundraising drive by the group pulled in grants from Sport England (£100,000,) The Football Foundation (£203,646,) Uckfield Community Technology College, Freedom Leisure, Uckfield Grasshoppers, Uckfield Town Council, Uckfield Lions and many groups and individuals. Several sports groups such as the Uckfield Grasshoppers and town football and rugby clubs are planning to play or practice there, as well as sports clubs in Lewes where pitches are often too wet in winter.