Hastings United chairman Dave Nessling said ‘a positive step’ was taken this week in the football club’s relocation project.
Hastings Borough Council leaders agreed to move ahead with plans which could see a new football stadium built in the town.
At a meeting on Monday, the council’s cabinet agreed to support a Hastings United FC scheme to build a home at the Tilekiln Recreation Ground in Hollington, by agreeing in principle to the sale of council-owned land.
See also: * New Hastings football stadium: Plans for Tilekiln supported by council leaders
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A club statement said: “The club were delighted that Hastings Borough Council cabinet have given their initial backing to the club’s proposals to develop a new purpose-built stadium with ancillary facilities available for community use on Tilekiln Recreation Ground.
“The stadium would have an initial capacity of 1,950, but would be built in a future-proofed way so the capacity could be easily increased to meet required FA ground grading across the National League System.
“The proposed new development will take the club forward and protect its future. It will allow the club to introduce such as women’s and girls’, disability and walking football, which to date the club has not had the facilities to cater for. It will also allow the club’s football academy to develop further.
“Now the hard work begins in terms of getting the project to conclusion to the satisfaction of the club, council, FA and Sport England.”
While still at an early stage, the council says the proposals are expected to include the construction of a 1,950-capacity stadium, as well as new gym facilities and two additional football pitches for community use.
The overall scheme is expected to be funded through the sale of the club’s current ground at The Pilot Field – a council-owned site in Baird ward – to housing developers.
According to council documents, the scheme was put forward by Hastings United FC after housing developer Keepmoat Homes withdrew from the Combe Valley Sports Village project earlier this year.
According to an officer’s report, the council’s support for the scheme would be subject to a number of factors, including the backing of both the FA and Sport England.
Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing and leisure, said: “Really pleased for Hollington ward especially, but all of Hastings will benefit from this new facility.
“A new football stadium, gym facilities, sports pitches will be fantastic for the local community, but also increase sports participation for women, disabled athletes and young people.
“And for my own ward of St Helens and neighbouring Baird, the housing development of much-needed homes on The Pilot Field site needs to be done sympathetically, listening to the concerns and ideas of local residents.”
Further details of the proposals are expected to be published in January with the next steps expected to be considered in March at the earliest.