Still no place to shoot for Crowhurst club after three-year wait

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A club remains without a home almost three years after having to leave its base due to building of the Bexhill to Hastings link road.

Crowhurst Gun Club used to be based near Adams Farm, on the site of the disused railway line.

But members claim East Sussex County Council has reneged on promises to let the club return to its home once the link road is completed.

Chris Reeve-Fowkes, safety officer for the clay shooting club, said: “It was founded in the 1960s and members shot regularly every two weeks up to three years ago when the county council compulsory purchased the land due to the bypass going through the shoot.

“During negotiations for the compulsory purchase the county council managed to quell objections from the gun club by promising to relocate it back onto the same land at the end of the road scheme.

“It even produced plans to show how it would get a bridge over the roadway for members and build a car park on the other side of the new road for members to use.

“Rother District Council’s planning department accepted the paperwork supplied by the Gun Club committee and gave the shoot a ‘change of use’ from a disused railway agricultural field to a recognised clay shoot with planning permission to shoot 52 times a year.”

He said the county council then ‘suddenly’ told the club the authority would not be relocating it onto its old site.

Chris added: “There are at least 30 current members who are waiting for the county council to provide land.

“The shoot has been part of Crowhurst for many years.”

Responding to the criticism, a council spokesman said: “The land which the gun club leased was compulsorily purchased from the landowner by the county council as it was needed for the link road site.

“During negotiations, we did agree that we would make enquiries to see if an alternative site could be provided, however, there was no obligation, contract or duty for the council to do so.

“We have put in a significant amount of work to try and find an alternative site nearby but unfortunately, we have not been able to locate any such site.

“We also looked at the possibility of allowing the club to return to its former site but the change to ground levels as a result of link road work mean this is not feasible.

“Throughout this process, the gun club has been encouraged to look for their own alternative site.

“In lieu of suitable land being available, the gun club has submitted a claim for compensation under the compulsory purchase rules, which is currently being considered.”

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