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  • Pilot Field Area Residents' Association

Our View on the Pilot Field Redevelopment

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

PFARA does not see any benefit to the Baird Ward community from the proposed housing development for 86 homes on the Pilot Field. Whilst we want to see Hastings United Football Club succeed we also do not want to lose community based green spaces and sporting facilities. We do not feel that the proposed housing development and the associated stadium development at Tilekiln are the right way forward.

Much better for the Pilot Field to improve its facilities not only for HUFC but also for the local community. The key problems about the Pilot Field development proposals are as follows:

  • Loss of key community assets

    • These comprise:

      • the field itself and adjoining green spaces within the Pilot Field area

      • the Sports and Social Club.

      • No alternative provision has been proposed apart from the development of a new stadium at Tilekiln.

    • Baird ward is the poorest ward in Hastings borough and one of the poorest wards in the country. Its residents do not have the resources generally to afford the transport to make the costly and time consuming journey to Tilekiln.

    • Tilekiln itself is prohibitively too far away from Baird ward to be of any value to Baird ward residents

  • Business Plan and financial considerations

    • What is the open market value of the land at the Pilot Field?

    • Where is the Business Plan to demonstrate how Hastings residents and Baird Ward in particular,will benefit from the proposal?

  • Drainage infrastructure for water and sewage

    • The area below The Ridge has many water courses which are causing existing drainage problems for residents on its south side.

    • The development will place unacceptable strain and overloading on the existing drainage network for water and sewage particularly for all residents downstream from the Pilot Field as far as Blacklands Drive, the bottom of Elphinstone Road and adjacent side roads.

    • The current 800mm drain that starts in St Helen’s Down collects all the drainage and sewage from the Pilot Field and lower properties from that It overflows regularly with storm surges.

    • The development proposal only addresses drainage within the Pilot Field (1).

    • However the Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) report (22 April 2021) states that the development proposals present an unacceptable flood risk.

    • Currently there are instances downstream from the Pilot Field of

      • Manhole covers blowing off during surges of storm water

      • Flooding in some properties

      • Smells of sewage and other toxic effluents

    • In fact the development proposal recognises that there will be flood risks to the properties on the Pilot Field and so they plan to:

      • raise the ground floor levels of each property by a minimum of 300mm (approx 1ft) above the ambient levels, to ensure surface water will not enter any of the units. This of itself shows that the developer is aware of the latent flood risks within the Pilot Field. These risks will add to the existing flood risks for all downstream properties

    • The developer plans to install a ‘4m deep attenuation tank’ positioned at the SE corner to hold the volume from the impermeable roads.

    • However this tank for storm water overflows is to be maintained for all time by the developer. How realistic is this in say 25 years time. Will the developer be in business then? Who will pay for repairs and maintenance then?

    • The extra volumes of water and sewage from the 86 homes will make the already bad drainage situation downstream from the Pilot Field even worse

    • Also to note that already there are storm water overflows from the similar ‘attenuation tanks’ on the Osborne House development site at the corner of Elphinstone Road and The Ridge (ie above the Pilot Field)

  • Traffic movements

    • Traffic along The Ridge is already congested especially at peak times when it can take upwards of 30 minutes to go from St Helen’s Down to Conquest Hospital and onwards to the A21

    • Vehicle movements from the 86 Pilot Field properties will in particular make the junction at the top of Elphinstone Road and The Ridge opposite the cemetery entrance even more fraught and slow.

    • Slow moving traffic along The Ridge will give rise to more air pollution down from it and in particular to Baird Ward residents on its south side off Malvern Way

  • Tilekin stadium development

    • Tilekiln currently has three football pitches. The proposal is to replace these with a stadium pitch and two 3G pitches

    • From where is the demand for the 3G pitches to come?

    • What will be cost of playing on these?

    • Will local teams be able to afford using the 3G pitches (much more expensive to hire)?

    • Tilekiln is on the far north West side of Hastings.with poor public transport links

    • Will local teams not close to Tilekiln be willing to travel there and pay for the extra cost for their journeys?

Information sources

  • Flood risk assessment GTA Civils Sept 2020 (Amended version) HS_OA_20_00673-AMENDED_FLOOD_RISK_ASSESSMENT-857782

  • Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) report (22 April 2021

The petition to oppose the development on the Pilot Field football ground has now closed and we will have the opportunity to present our case to the planning committee on 19th March 2022. Please subscribe to our updates to stay informed about next steps.

In the meantime, you can take a look at the other projects we are involved with.

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