Will Hastings get a new football stadium?
The Planning Committee met last week to decide on two controversial planning applications, possibly deciding the future of Hastings United football club and where they play.
The first application was to build a new stadium, some 3G all-weather pitches and a sports centre on the playing fields at Tilekiln in Hollington. The club’s owners have been in discussions and negotiations with Hastings Borough Council since 2018 to build a ground at Tilekiln Playing Fields and redevelop the Pilot Field for new housing.
It was a packed council meeting and there were submissions from the club’s representative, local residents and both councillors from Baird ward in which the Pilot Field stadium resides.
The plan for the new stadium had been recommended for approval by HBC’s Planning department and were unanimously approved by the cross-party committee. The first approval then allowed the second application to be heard which granted outline planning permission to facilitate the building of around 85 new homes on the old Pilot Field site, of which 22 would be affordable.
This all seems like a sensible idea as the owners say Hastings United’s current ground at Pilot Field is in disrepair and the training facilities are not adequate for the club’s ambitions. The scheme also helps provide much needed housing.
After both schemes were given planning approval people have been asking me when will we get the new stadium and housing? Probably never is the answer. Just before the election the new Labour leadership seemed to have kicked that ball firmly into the long grass.
Cllr Barnett stated, “our priority now has to be to protect and invest in our green spaces”. What is the definition of a green space? The Pilot Field when demolished would become a brownfield site and ideal for development. Tilekiln is currently designated as playing fields, so the new facilities would invest in the green space, giving the residents of Hollington much needed new sports facilities.
This sentiment also grates when the council spent nearly £2 million trying to get permission to build housing on playing fields in Bulverhythe and they have sold off the playing fields in Harrow Lane for housing. The council also wants to build housing on the big green open space where the old bathing pool used to be.
The Labour run council seem to be inconsistent at best and totally hypocritical at worst. We desperately need housing and new sporting facilities. Where development goes in Hastings will always be highly contentious but here we have a scheme which ambitiously gives our local team a new stadium, local people new facilities and we get to build much needed new housing. What will the new Labour/Green administration’s decision be now planning permission has been granted?