Negativity is not the answer to Horntye Park’s financial problems

From: Peter Finch BEM, Chairman, Horntye Park, Management Company

Friday, 20th August 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 20th August 2021, 7:41 am
The gates of Horntye Park in Hastings SUS-200628-190508001

It is regretful that so much negative comment is made in respect of what should or could be done to make Horntye Park financially viable. People must realise that the facilities are run without any subsidies and without the support of any public money whatsoever.

The main Horntye building provides facilities for weddings, wakes, parties and meetings and is almost fully booked on most days and evenings.

It is an important support to the outdoor grass areas, which are a financial burden due to the greatly reduced amount of cricket now played. Cricket is a very expensive and space consuming facility to run and in all cases heavily subsidised. Mid week and Sunday cricket has reduced dramatically in the past 10 years, but maintenance, staffing and upkeep costs continue to increase.

The all weather pitch has been a good source of revenue but urgently needs replacing. It has been in place for 21 years against a life expectancy of 10/14 years.

Horntye Park has never looked for a bale out from public funds. It would be wrong to expect ratepayers to maintain failing facilities even when they are ailing.

A survey revealed that very few people using the all-weather pitch for hockey and football and the grass area for mini football and cricket, walk to Horntye Park. The vast majority use private transport and travel from a radius of 15 to 20 miles. The indoor facilities and boulle which is being retained, do have some users who use public transport or walk and this will not change. It is hoped that new amenities will be added in the vacated outdoor sports changing areas.

It is accepted that Claremont is not as convenient to some as Horntye and this will be addressed by a dedicated mini bus service, which will run if required, to serve the new facilities.

With hindsight perhaps Horntye Park should never have been built in its present form but the trustees had to abide by the conditions and requirements of Sport England and The HBC Planning Board to replace a county cricket ground.

No one could have predicted the decline in local cricket or of the county cricket ground requirement. This has in no small part led to the current financial situation, which with our plans, the trustees are striving to remedy.

Constructive suggestions will always be welcome, but negativity is not the answer. Believe me we have explored every avenue to make The Trust successful in order to continue to support sport in our area.

Please send your letters to [email protected] Letters must be accompanied by a full name and address. Anonymous letters are never printed. We reserve the right to edit letters for any reason.