The dream of a new multi-purpose sports park to meet the needs of Hailsham’s increasing population moved closer to reality this week.
Hailsham Town Council on Wednesday agreed to give its full support to the local Sports Alliance’s major project, aimed at securing land and funding.
Representatives from Hailsham and District Sports Alliance attended the council’s meeting to highlight the existing provision of sports facilities in the town and to request the council’s formal backing on a project to improve access to sport, develop partnership working, actively promote sport in the community and secure a suitable piece of land dedicated to sport for Hailsham.
The Alliance’s Chairman, Steve Wennington, outlined the current problem with the lack of indoor and outdoor sports facilities, how local organisations can work together to secure the land for a new sports park and help make Hailsham a destination town – not a sports commuter town.
Mr Wennington said, “Hailsham used to be a leader in providing sporting facilities and back in the 1870s we had more sports area (by population) than is currently the recommended minimum.
“There is a severe deficiency in the amount of adequate sports facilities necessary to cater for the current population of Hailsham and Hellingly – which continues to increase as a result of new housing developments.”
He said the goal was the creation of a multi-purpose sports park to include a floodlit artificial turf pitch as a priority as well as ancillary provision such as changing rooms, showers, toilets and function space.
Hailsham is the largest town in the Wealden District, yet has some of the least adequate sports field facilities for its size in the country. An analysis conducted this year by a sports consultant concluded that the deficit is already 15 acres of facilities, and by the time the current agreed housing development in Hailsham is complete, that will rise to 26 acres
It was discussed by councillors and Sports Alliance representatives that preference is to have a site for the new facility in or within very close proximity to Hailsham, so it is seen as a town/community asset. However, this will require agreement with local farmers/landowners and a negotiation with developers for suitable funding and a meeting with Hailsham and District Sports Alliance has been scheduled for later this year.
Mr Wennington continued, “This is a huge project, and to get this off the ground will also require massive support from local sports clubs, local businesses and influential people. We need to build a bit of an army for this project to highlight our current needs, and more importantly the needs of future generations in and around Hailsham.”
Town Clerk John Harrison said, “Proof that additional sports facilities are needed for future generations in Hailsham to thrive has already been provided and the next step is to form a workable plan to deliver a sustainable solution, and the determination of the community is essential to see the project through.
“It’s very important that the Town Council supports the Sports Alliance’s strategy for sport and active recreation and will work in partnership to evaluate how the provision of quality, accessible sports facilities can be developed on a value for money basis in the near future.”
For further details about the Alliance’s email email@example.com