Flats approved by planners at struggling sports venue

DEVELOPERS have been given the green light to build 115 flats on land owned by a struggling sports complex.

Standen Land & Developments Ltd applied to the borough council to build the flats at Horntye Park off Bohemia Road.

Planning committee members unanimously approved the bid at the Town Hall on Wednesday evening.

A report to the committee by planning officer Ms Karen Phillips stated that the plans will not encroach onto any usable playing field.

The report stated: “Horntye Park is apparently under threat because revenue received from the sporting services on offer is not meeting the costs of maintaining the complex and no subsidy is received to cover running costs.

“Horntye has been continually making a loss year after year.”

As part of the agreement the complex owners have agreed to lodge £500,000 with the council once the sale of the land is complete.

This will be used to build a leisure facility, possibly a 3G pitch, within the Hastings area which will be run by Horntye Park.

However there is currently no room to build the pitch on the site which already supports a popular cricket pitch and a rapidly ageing synthetic pitch currently used for hockey and football.

Kevin Miller, general manager of the complex, said he was confident a deal with the developer would be signed and sealed within the next few months. The developer has three years to complete building work.

Mr Miller said: “This safeguards the future of our complex and is a major leap forward.

“We are re-negotiating a contract at the moment and I am confident it will be signed within weeks.

“It means the developer can go ahead and start building now. We will then lodge £500,000 with the council for the future development of a ground or facility elsewhere in the town. There will be enough funds to clear our debts with the bank and put some aside for the future.”