Horntye Park is financially inviable without action to secure its future

From: Peter Finch B.E.M., Horntye Park, Management Company

Friday, 6th August 2021, 6:00 am
Horntye Park in Hastings

On behalf of the Directors of Horntye Park, I would like to correct the inaccuracies in recent letters and explain the rationale for the proposed new plans.

Historically, Priory Meadow was rented from the Cornwallis estate for £25 a year in 1864 after a cricket loving group spent £300 to prepare the land. They later purchased this land from The Cornwallis estate for £5000.00,

On August 7th 1872, The Hastings and St. Leonard’s Central Cricket and Recreation Ground Trust Deed came into being as a private concern. Priory Meadow having been purchased by a group of cricket lovers for the benefit of the town.

The Central Cricket Ground, as it became known, was compulsory purchased by the Council in 1987 for a new shopping centre. The Trust received the current land, now known as Horntye Park and £1,000,000 as compensation. Following a grant from Sport England the overall current facilities were created.

The Trust has been modernised and renamed ‘Hastings and Rother Sports Trust’. The directors have struggled to keep Horntye Park open as it was proving financially inviable and a decision was made to sell part of the site to raise funds. A scheme to create a sports centre of excellence at Bulverhythe Recreation Ground unfortunately failed to secure the necessary backing.

Despite best efforts, Horntye Park’s financial difficulties continued and the complex was likely to have to close. The directors agreed to restructure and staff were made redundant. The centre is managed by the Board of Directors with myself as chairman and other directors offering the required expertise to keep the centre open. The input from directors is unpaid and the centre has managed to reduce losses. This is unsustainable in terms of the time required of directors.

With the lack of funds to replace worn out facilities, The directors have no choice but to look for ways to ensure that sporting facilities continue to be available for our many users. We have a buyer with whom we are negotiating to sell some land. We have conditional planning permission, to build a new sports centre with a full size cricket ground, floodlit sand-dressed hockey pitch, four floodlit all weather netball/tennis courts and four new mini soccer football pitches at Claremont School, St. Leonards, not Claverham.

We are entering into a fifty year ‘Community Use Agreement’ whereby the community and the users of Horntye Park Sports Complex, are guaranteed use of the new facilities. The Horntye Park building, with the sports hall and other existing indoor facilities will be upgraded and a new floodlit Boulle Terrain will be built in front of the building and ample parking retained to service the centre.

It is essential that the proposed plans for the relocation of Horntye Park outdoor facilities reach fruition to keep the town’s premier cricket and hockey teams in existence. Without the necessary income from the sale, the financial liabilities of The Trust cannot be met and the Board of Directors will be will forced to close the centre.

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