IT is the borough council which must respond quickly to the Observer’s magnificent campaign for the track.
In order to report to Reg Wild when the present track was proposed, I alone from Hastings went to the conference at Gatwick where Sport England set out the rules about grants for joint school and public use.
In discussion about Hastings, it made it clear to me that a big contribution from the borough council was the trigger which started the grant process and I confirmed that the £90,000 agreed by all parties was still on offer. A friendly spy tells me that it is also the view of the Ministry of Sport.
However Sport England required a ‘sinking fund’ as it is very reluctant to pay for repairs. 50 per cent was to come from the school and 50 per cent from the community of Hastings.
Because of the large teenage use of the track only the borough council can top up the community’s 50 per cent share. When that is agreed in principle the council and school can seek to mitigate the burden by asking for an exceptional grant from Sport England which should accept that a large proportion of the track’s usage is by those still in education.
They are most emphatically the people we want to provide for but they cannot generate the revenue for a sinking fund, especially in a smallish town like Hastings with some of the poorest wards in the country.
Further, a coastal town has a much smaller hinterland than an inland town and thus much smaller resources.
The Observer has put this vital matter on the agenda and it is up to councillors to take action.
DEREK J COLE