Plans afoot to bring former football ground back into use for youngsters

Cllrs Andy Batsford and Warren Davies outside The Firs
Cllrs Andy Batsford and Warren Davies outside The Firs

A DISUSED playing field is set to become a dedicated place for aspiring David Beckhams.

Local councillors, residents and council officers got together and came up with the brainwave of bringing The Firs in Elphinstone Road back into use for youth football teams to train and practise on.

The Firs closed in early 2004 after St Leonards Football Club went bust. Since then it has fallen into disrepair.

Cllr Mike Turner said: “We were approached by residents asking if The Firs could be put back into use so we got together to try and make it a central hub for young footballers. Things are now moving forward and it’s the start of something much bigger I hope.

“This could be a very worthwhile project and we are looking to expand it and invite teams across Hastings and Rother.

We hope to get it up and running for the start of the new football season in September.”

Ken Dullaway, Active StreetGames co-ordinator for Hastings Borough Council, said the revamped field would be used for the u7s and u8s.

He said there was a new strategy set up by the Football Association with the aim of promoting youth football.

Mr Dullaway added: “It would be a positive experience for young people to get them into playing football.” Councillor Warren Davies said: “This project has been really successful and came from our campaign trail back in April and May. John Week and Barry Gain, both dads who live in Baird ward got involved and pushed for this to come about.

“People told us in our campaign trail that they wanted somewhere for the youth football teams to train.

“The council owns The Firs and it pays for the maintenance but it is sitting there doing nothing.

“We had health and safety checks done for the field and the outcome is that it’s safe to be brought back into use.

“The Firs already has a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) and is right next door to the Pilot Field, home of Hastings United Football Club.

“Once clubs have paid to use The Firs hopefully this project will be self-financing and plans can be set up on how it can be developed further.

“The main thing is to get The Firs back in use, otherwise it will just fall into disrepair.

“It is quite exciting getting it back into use again and we have seen a really good synergy with all parties involved.”