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How HUFC imagines its new stadium would look if built (image: HUFC).

HUFC planning applications approved but land not for sale

Despite Hastings Borough Council’s announcement earlier this year that plans to sell Tilekiln Fields to Hastings United for a new football stadium had been scrapped, the club’s associated planning applications have now been approved. Nick Terdre reports.

In late March Hastings Borough Council caused surprise when it announced it had dropped plans to sell Tilekiln Fields in Hollington to Hastings United Football Club for the development of a new football stadium and sports complex.

“The world has moved on since we started talking about this four years ago, and our priority now has to be to protect and invest in our green spaces,” Cllr Paul Barnett, then deputy leader, said in explanation of the change in policy.

While Hastings United expressed disappointment, it did not withdraw its two related planning applications, and at last week’s meeting of the planning committee, these were approved.

The Tilekiln Fields application, HS/FA/20/00669, calls for a 1,950 capacity football stadium along with a sports hall, gymnasium, two artificial pitches and a multi-use games area, while a second application, HS/OA/20/00673, is for outline planning permission for a housing estate with 86 residential units on the Pilot Field, the club’s present home, to finance the new ground development. Both were recommended for approval by the planning department.

“Huge support”

The club, which secured promotion to the Isthmian Premier division in April, issued a statement welcoming the approvals: “Given the unanimous vote for the Tilekiln project, this shows huge support for new investment and improved sports/recreation offering to the community.

“Hastings United Football Club would like to put on record our thanks to the Planning Committee for taking into consideration the positive benefits of both sites for our Town and now invite the Council to fully engage with us in an effort to deliver this worthy scheme.”

Tilekiln Fields – a green space to be preserved, in HBC’s view.

However, that looks unlikely. Cllr Barnett, now council leader, told HOT: “The previous Labour administration decided not to sell either Tilekiln or Pilot Field for development, something I confirmed at Full Council in April when the Green Party asked if housing was now a possibility at Tilekiln and I said no.

“Now we have a Labour Green administration I can’t see that changing.”

It was very unusual for a major planning application to be made in which the applicant neither owned the land nor had the owner’s support, he said. However, the planning rules do not prevent such an occurrence.

 

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Posted 17:18 Tuesday, Jun 7, 2022 In: Home Ground

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