Hastings United Football Club has today (Friday) announced its intention to move to a new stadium - at an alternative site to its previous plans.
The Bostik League South East Division club had hoped to move to a purpose-built stadium at Bulverhythe Recreation Ground as part of the Combe Valley Sports Village project, which would effectively have seen Horntye Park Sports Complex move to the same site.
That project also included the building of around 400 new homes at three different sites around the town, but the withdrawal of house builder Keepmoat Homes and lack of a replacement forced United to rethink their plans.
The club has now announced its intention to build a new stadium at the existing Tilekiln playing fields in Ingleside, St Leonards, in a project which this time would not involve Horntye Park.
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A club statement read: “As supporters are aware, the club announced plans to relocate to a purpose-built stadium with ancillary facilities within what was to be the Combe Valley Sports Village, which was to be constructed on the second and third tiers of the Bulverhythe Recreation Ground in Bexhill Road.
“Unfortunately, as previously announced, the club lost its project partner in Keepmoat Homes just before Christmas 2017 and since then have been unable to find a new developer to come in with the resources and finance to replace Keepmoat.
“The club took the decision in the summer to look at alternate sites within the borough and have identified Tilekiln as the only site that can meet the requirements of a new stadium project.
“The club prepared proposals and plans for the project before discussing such with officers of Hastings Borough Council, who have been supportive, although as yet they have not presented the alternative option to the Hastings Borough Council cabinet and/or full council for their consideration.
“The option put forward to council officers by the club and its development partners is that the club is relocated on its own to a site which sits fully within the borough of Hastings on which a new purpose-built stadium with off-road parking would be constructed along with a second floodlit grass pitch and floodlit 3G pitch.
“The spare pitch facilities would be made accessible to the community, as would social and function, fitness and leisure, sports therapy and meeting room facilities within the stadium.
“The club feel that such a revised scheme, as detailed above, could be put in place and completed pretty quickly, and are keen for the council to agree to the proposed new route as soon as possible as the club is of the opinion the scheme ticks a lot of advantageous boxes for the council, club and community of Hastings in general.
“To remain at The Pilot Field is no longer a sustainable or viable option in the medium to longer term with ongoing maintenance and repairs hindering the finances of the club and not allowing for the investment into the academy and first team to operate nor compete with clubs in the division.”
United expressed a wish to relocate to Tilekiln under previous owner Dave Walters several years ago, but the intended move didn’t come to fruition.