What's happening at Tilekiln?
Updated: May 6, 2022
To Whilst Hastings United Football Club (HUFC) have got their well-deserved promotion into the next league, recent letters and articles in the press have stated many things incorrectly about the suitability and viability of a stadium at Tilekiln.
"Follow the money" is always a good starting point. The finances for the Tilekiln Stadium are dependent on the Council selling the Pilot Field at below its market value. Funds from the sale of the 86 houses plus "affordable debt" (never defined) loaded onto HUFC would apparently then fund the building of a stadium "over time" (but never defined). But where are the financial figures and business plans to show how the
financing and timings would work? It is disingenuous to say that the money for the stadium will be "paid for by the developer". The stadium financing relies on a subsidy from council tax payers to sell Pilot Field to them on the cheap. How can a decision be made without the financial figures? More importantly, why should any money from council tax be put into a private development?
The stadium practicalities are also flawed. The pitch would be the minimum size allowed by the FA (about one third smaller than the Pilot Field). Ground capacity Pilot Field 4,050; Tilekiln initially 1,950. The crowd of 3,082 seen a few weeks ago could not have been accommodated in Tilekiln. Transport links to the Pilot Field are much better, with existing good access to rail and bus, proximity to town centre on foot, and
set within the local community. Tilekiln is several miles away stuck in the middle of nowhere with no public transport and therefore will require many car journeys to access it, i.e. more air pollution. There is also a significant body of HUFC supporters who do not want to move from the Pilot Field.
The Pilot Field is not just "another green field site"; but is completely unsuitable for any housing development. It is in an area prone to flooding, and there are already major problems immediately downstream. Putting 86 houses there would make these problems much worse in times of high rainfall. Currently there are instances downstream of subsidence of driveways, toilets backing up, sewage deposited in
of subsidence of driveways, toilets backing up, sewage deposited in gardens and manhole covers erupting due to the pressures from the excess water flows and inadequate drains. Southern Water has raised major concerns about this proposed development. Even HUFC acknowledge the flooding problem as the proposed houses would be set one foot (300mm) above ground level to mitigate flooding risks. There would be further problems from the additional traffic flows and damage to the local
ecology and wildlife. The majority of local residents do not want any housing development on the Pilot Field.
HUFC would make better use of its funds to enhance the Pilot Field facilities and thereby make a real investment in the local community, and Baird Ward in particular.