With so much to consider regarding the proposed move of the hockey and cricket facilities at Horntye to Claremont School, it is important to understand the significant commitment that Claremont has made in relation to both the principal clubs involved and also to wider sports provision in our local area.
Here are some more details surrounding the proposed move.
Firstly, this is not a situation that has been entered into lightly, or without considerable planning.
The proposed move of the cricket and hockey facilities to Claremont comes as a result of a long process and much detailed research into the feasibility of other school sites and appropriate venues to host both Hastings Priory Cricket Club and South Saxons Hockey Club.
No other suitable locations could be found around the town, despite two years of feasibility studies and some false starts along the way.
As part of the agreement with the Trust, Claremont will sign Community Use and Collaboration Agreements which are legally binding and will be in place initially for 50 years; these agreements will ensure the facilities are maintained to a professional standard and available to rent by the local community, in the evenings, at weekends and throughout the school holidays.
Furthermore, long term lease agreements are being prepared between the School and the two principal clubs involved – Hastings Priory Cricket Club and South Saxons Hockey Club.
These agreements ensure that Claremont School will provide them with a permanent, maintained and managed home ground. In doing so, the scheme will secure both club’s long-term futures.
Claremont understands the challenges with regard to the location of the School, which is located just 400m outside the town, on the A21 near Sainsburys.
To meet that challenge the School shall be working with the Trust, to establish a mini-bus route with given arrival and departure times, from appropriate bus stops around the town.
This will ensure everyone is able to access the facilities, both in the evenings, at the weekends and throughout the school holidays. This firm commitment from the School, is also reflected in the terms of the Community Use and Collaboration Agreements.
It is also important to note that, whilst the Trust will deliver the new facilities on the Claremont site, the School will ultimately pay for and manage the new facilities.
Their swift repayment to the Trust, over 5 years, will allow the Trust to then use the money again, to invest and support sport in the local community. They will be working with the local council to that end and will be looking to develop schemes that will enhance sport provision around Hastings and St Leonards.
In addition to the provision of new hockey and cricket facilities, the scheme will also see the development of 4 floodlit netball and tennis courts, as well as a new clubhouse and hospitality venue. All facilities will be available to rent as part of the Community Use Agreement.
Finally, back at Horntye Park, assuming planning permission is granted, the proposed scheme ensures that funding will be available to give the existing building at Horntye a desperately needed upgrade and refurbishment. This building will then continue to provide an excellent venue for clubs and organisations to use, safeguarding jobs and clubs for years to come. Without the sale of the cricket and hockey areas for development, this will not be possible.
The fact is that Horntye Park, in its current incarnation, will sadly close, regardless of any decisions from the planning authority.
There is no alternative for the Trust.
If planning permission is not granted, then no funds will be available either for the relocation of cricket and hockey or the refurbishment of the Horntye building, and South Saxons Hockey and Hastings Priory Cricket clubs will cease to exist.
If the proposed development of the cricket and hockey areas is granted, then the town will retain two of its most loved clubs and institutions. The move to Claremont will not only save the future of the clubs, but will provide them with security for years to come.
Principal – Claremont School