Where are the £millions for new football stadium project coming from?
From: Erica Barrett, The Ridge, Hastings
Once again The Observer features a Hastings United Football Club (HUFC) planning application for a new stadium with additional sports and hospitality facilities. This time not on the flood plain of Bulverhythe, but on Tilekiln, Hollington’s public playing fields. But before the first sod is turned, please tell us: where are the millions this project will cost coming from?
Your report says it will be funded by the sale of the Pilot Field, Elphinstone Road, for housing. You also write that this site is owned by Hastings Borough Council (HBC). As the privately-owned football club doesn’t own this land, how can it profit from its sale? Surely, every penny made goes straight to HBC? Which is to the residents of Hastings, as represented by their borough council. The same applies to the Tilekiln site, also owned by HBC, so in effect also taxpayers’ property. How can privately-owned HUFC build on publicly-owned land with money made from the sale of also publicly owned land?
HBC is already threatening (as reported in past Observers) that without more central government funding it will have to rely on its reserves to avoid setting a deficit budget next year.
Residents don’t need reminding that HBC’s statutory services have already been cut to the bone and its other services have disappeared. Even the town centre’s public lavatory!
Therefore any money raised from taxpayer-owned land should go straight into local government services. Not to building stadia in Hollington for a privately-owned footballclub so that its directors can bask in the glory of splendid new facilities apparently donated to them by the cash-strapped taxpayers of Hastings.
Especially perhaps from one of the poorest wards in the UK, which will lose its traditional ‘rec’, allocated, as all such, for the free, or heavily subsidised, recreational use of residents.
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