Setback for St Leonards sports village and homes plans

A computer generated concept village showing an aerial view of what the proposed Combe Valley Sports Village may look like SUS-170908-104531002

Multi-million pound plans to create a huge new state-of-the-art sports complex in St Leonards, together with 400 new homes have hit a major setback.

Keepmoat Homes was set to deliver the associated housing schemes as part of the massive development.

But the Observer learned today (Wednesday, January 3) that the firm has decided to pull out for ‘commercial reasons’.

A planning application was expected to be formally submitted at the start of this year.

A spokeswoman for Keepmoat Homes said: “We have been working with the local council and sports club for some time to evaluate the potential of a new homes development in St Leonards.

“However, after careful consideration, we formally withdrew from this opportunity in December for commercial reasons and currently have no plans to build in Hastings.”

The proposals were first unveiled in November 2016, which would give Hastings United Football Club a 3,000 capacity stadium, and a new home for Hastings & St Leonards Priory Cricket Club and South Saxons Hockey Club.

The complex would be situated in the middle two tiers of the existing Bexhill Road playing fields.

There would be a four-court sports hall, a gym for sports, fitness and healthy living activities and a dance studio, together with meeting rooms and full catering facilities.

Daren Burney, a director of Burney Group, the principal developer, said: “We, the scheme promotor (Bohemia Hastings LLP) have been working for the past three years with both Hastings and Rother Councils to deliver the new sports village together with 400 new homes.

“Latterly we engaged with Keepmoat Homes as our joint venture partner to deliver the scheme.

“In late December we received a call from David Carmichael, the group land and partnerships director at Keepmoat Group, who advised us that while the project is an attractive proposition, going forward for strategic reasons the board wanted to focus on other areas in the country.

“We still await formal written confirmation from the Keepmoat board of its withdrawal and once we have this we will engage with other interested major UK housebuilders for the delivery phase of this exciting regeneration project.”

Peter Finch, chairman of the Horntye Park management company, said: “We are obviously disappointed to hear this news but have utmost confidence that Daren Burney will come forth with something good for the town to fulfil the project.”

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