STATEMENT – Planning delayed again by Local Authorities

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This afternoon Hastings United have been informed by our planning consultants that our planning applications for both The Pilot Field and our new stadium complex at Tilekiln will not be heard at the committee planning meeting set to take place on Wednesday 23rd March. This is despite assurances from The Local Authority that this would be the case. To put this in context both outline Planning Applications were submitted in October 2020, nearly 18 months ago.

Today’s excuse given was that the Planning Officer requires more ecology reports despite these being provided to the council many months ago.

Hastings United Co-Owner and Director Daren Burney: “In 35 years of property investment and developing I have never experienced any outline application taking such time, or the number of reports and information being sought in such a disorganised manner. Politics are in play here and no wonder the town lags behind most other seaside towns when the Council does not seem to have the ability or will to deliver major schemes bringing significant economic growth and improvement to the town.”

Hastings United would like to report that the cost of both planning applications runs into tens of thousands of pounds funded by the owners and with the continuous delaying tactics the scheme costs has risen substantially making the scheme much harder to deliver. We must now seek all options to find a new stadium relocation as there is no confidence that the local authority wants to assist the club despite the Football Club continuously looking to deliver for the local community.

Billy Wood, CEO: “Over the last three years the club has significantly grown the football and community engagement offering in this town, two key examples being our free weekly sessions for ages 3-6 years of age every Saturday and our project with local not-for-profit Eggtooth led by Sally Greig, delivering free well-being football sessions for women aged 16+ who may not have engaged previously, giving them a space to enjoy exercise and feel comfortable in a social environment. We have over 300 plus boys and girls playing football in our youth teams and find it a constant a struggle finding facilities due to the sad decade upon decade decline of sporting facilities in this town. This project gives this town the opportunity to put so many wrongs right, but we constantly seem to be offered a spanner in the works right at the death of every date we get given. We are moving with purpose, committing to on the pitch success with both our Men’s and Women’s team striving for honours, plus our Under 23s crowned Sussex Cup Winners this year. The crowds we are getting on average over 1,000, including lots of families per game this season, the engagement locally and the swell of support need to be recognised by the council and the planners. With this latest information, we will be calling a meeting with our supporters to discuss the clubs next steps as we cannot and will not allow the lack of drive by our council to stop the hard work and desire, we have to deliver success to this town via the vehicle of Hastings United Football Club.”

Hastings United will update supporters in due course.