There seems to be a lot of misconceptions circulating in terms of the facts in connection with the above. As a Club we love our ground at the Pilot Field but over the last few years we have realised that for the Club to continue to operate from the Pilot Field really is untenable as the ground cannot cope with the modern day requirements of an ambitious football club.
The brief précis of the facts that need considering are as follows:
– Main stand built in the 1920’s. Now requires under legislation a very costly annual structural survey inspection which for 2018/19 is about to be undertaken by a firm of structural engineers. The current estimate for structural repairs is circa £100,000. The Club does not have this money, and even if it did, repairs would only be a short term fix until the next amount of money for structural rectification work was required.
– The overall ground in general, due to its age. requires an awful lot of maintenance work on a regular basis just to keep it in fair order. In the summer each year a group of our valued volunteers and some of our Board work tremendously hard to rectify maintenance issues and smarten up appearance. This is before all the quickly growing grassed areas also have to be dealt with. We clear the ground of weeds each summer but they are soon back and we just don’t have the manpower to deal with the weeds that run riot on a more regular basis.
– We only have the one grass Pilot Field pitch which cannot take massive use. This means both the Club and its Academy have to source other facilities for training and in the Academy’s case matches. Facilities in Hastings are not particularly good. Our Academy teams have to play out of town because of this. There is not one full size floodlit 3G pitch in Hastings.
– Our ground has no off road parking. This is an issue for our supporters who have to find parking spaces in surrounding roads but is an even bigger issue for local residents on match days who suffer from cars blocking access and egress.
– We have looked at developing the Pilot Field into a modern purpose built ground but this is just not feasible. The scheme we put together for Pilot Field redevelopment estimated that the cost of such a scheme to completion, depending on the final design, would be between £3,000,000 and £5,000,000 and any design would not resolve the fact that it would still be a one pitch facility and of course overall paramount is the fact the Club could not possibly fund such a redevelopment.
– Club and community get a new modern purpose built stadium that would be designed in a way to limit the maintenance required as the years go by.
– Facilities within the stadium to have Club and community use such consisting of social and function spaces, meeting rooms, fitness and leisure gym and health, wellbeing and sports therapy areas.
– For the Club and community floodlit football/sports pitches at least one of which would be a full sized all weather 3G pitch.
– Off road parking consisting of a considerable number of car spaces.
When you consider reasonably all of the above the proposal to relocate the Club is a sound one and is probably the only way to perhaps guarantee the future life of the Club.