Hastings and Rother Playing Pitch and Built Facilities Strategy2023 – 2039

Hastings and Rother Playing Pitch and Built Facilities Strategy2023 – 2039

Introduction, Background, and Consultation

The Hastings and Rother Playing Pitch and Built Facilities Strategy 2023-2039 follows previous local strategies, notably the Rother and Hastings Playing Pitch Strategy 2016 and the Leisure Facilities Strategy 2009-2020. The strategy was developed by Continuum Sport and Leisure Limited in accordance with Sport England’s guidelines. Its main aim is to provide a comprehensive action plan for the enhancement and development of sports facilities in the Hastings and Rother areas, ensuring they meet current and future demands.

Key Objectives and Vision

The strategy’s vision is to create a robust sporting infrastructure to support increased physical activity and improved health and wellbeing among residents. This includes the development of new facilities, enhancement of existing ones, and ensuring access to sports opportunities across all community levels.

Improvement Projects and Achievements in Hastings

  1. Pitch Layout and Maintenance:
  • Bexhill Road Recreation Ground and Sandhurst Recreation Ground saw improvements in pitch layout and maintenance.
  • The Ark Alexandra Academy received upgrades for rugby and cricket facilities, serving as the home ground for Hastings and Bexhill RFC and providing a new non-turf pitch for cricket.
  1. Free-to-Use Facilities:
  • Introduction of outdoor table tennis at Alexandra Park.
  • Creation of a floodlit skate park in Bexhill.
  1. Funding and Development:
  • Secured £92.5k from the Lawn Tennis Association for tennis court upgrades in Alexandra Park.
  • Participated in the Football Foundation’s Pitch Power program to enhance football pitch quality.
  1. Community and Health Initiatives:
  • Active Hastings program continues to engage over 500 residents, particularly in deprived wards, promoting physical activity through targeted initiatives.
  1. Proposed Developments:
  • Horntye Park Sports Complex proposals include off-site replacement of the hockey pitch and installation of a non-turf cricket pitch.
  • Planning application for a new stadium pitch for Hastings United at Tilekiln Recreation Ground.

Challenges and Future Plans

  • Swimming Pool Facilities:
  • Both Summerfields Leisure Centre in Hastings and Bexhill Leisure Pool face challenges due to aging infrastructure. The strategy includes options for refurbishment or full replacement to ensure sustainable operation and meet community needs.
  • Pre-planning work and feasibility studies have been conducted, focusing on future upgrades and replacement options for these key facilities.

Enabling Roles and Partnerships

Hastings Borough Council plays a crucial role in providing and facilitating access to sports facilities, from entry-level green spaces to competitive sports venues. This includes:

  • Engaging community organizations through asset transfer processes for independent management of facilities.
  • Working with partners like East Sussex County Council Public Health, Active Sussex, and Sport England to secure funding and support for sports development projects.

Recommendations and Policy Integration

The strategy will support local planning policies on green infrastructure, leisure, sports facilities, and health and wellbeing. It will serve as evidence for developer contributions through planning agreements and influence relevant supplementary planning documents, master plans, area action plans, and neighborhood plans.


The Hastings and Rother Playing Pitch and Built Facilities Strategy 2023-2039 aims to create a sustainable and inclusive sports infrastructure, enhancing the quality and accessibility of sports facilities in Hastings. Through strategic planning, community engagement, and partnership with key stakeholders, the strategy seeks to improve health outcomes and promote active lifestyles among residents, making Hastings a better place to live and work.

This summary covers key elements and initiatives related to Hastings within the overall strategy. It highlights the strategy’s background, vision, and specific projects aimed at improving sports facilities and promoting physical activity in the Hastings area. The focus is on both current achievements and future plans to address challenges and meet the evolving needs of the community.

Hastings and Rother – Assessment of Needs by Sport and Facility

The strategy document details the assessment of needs for various sports and facilities in Hastings and Rother, summarizing the key findings and required actions to meet current and future demands.


  1. Current Supply and Demand:
  • Supply: There are 27 fine turf pitches available for community cricket across Hastings and Rother in 2022, with 8 non-turf pitches. This reflects a reduction from 38 pitches previously identified, although non-turf pitches have increased by four (two in Hastings and two in Rother).
  • Demand: Current demand is high with clubs expressing a desire to expand. There is also noted latent demand, indicating a potential need for more facilities if barriers to participation can be addressed.
  1. Quality and Accessibility:
  • Quality: There is a mix in the quality of pitches. Some pitches require significant improvements to meet community needs.
  • Accessibility: Some pitches have restricted community use, which needs addressing to meet the growing demand.
  1. Future Demand:
  • Forecast: Future demand will likely increase with population growth and rising interest in cricket. Ensuring accessible, high-quality pitches will be crucial.
  • Action Required: Investment in pitch maintenance and the development of additional pitches, particularly non-turf, to accommodate training and casual play.


  1. Current Supply and Demand:
  • Supply: The current supply of football pitches includes various grass and artificial pitches. However, some areas face shortages, particularly during peak times.
  • Demand: Football remains highly popular, with several clubs reporting aspirations for growth. Existing facilities are often at capacity, especially for youth teams.
  1. Quality and Accessibility:
  • Quality: Pitch quality varies significantly, with some requiring urgent maintenance and upgrades.
  • Accessibility: Ensuring all pitches are registered and maintained to a high standard for league play is essential. Some pitches are not accessible to the community, limiting their use.
  1. Future Demand:
  • Forecast: Anticipated growth in football participation necessitates additional pitches and improvements to existing facilities.
  • Action Required: Development of new 3G artificial grass pitches (AGPs), particularly at key sites such as Summerfields Leisure Centre and Hastings Academy. Improvements to grass pitch maintenance and consideration of new pavilion facilities are also recommended.


  1. Current Supply and Demand:
  • Supply: There are limited hockey pitches, primarily located at school sites and multi-use complexes.
  • Demand: The demand is steady but hampered by the lack of high-quality pitches.
  1. Quality and Accessibility:
  • Quality: Many hockey pitches need resurfacing and improved maintenance.
  • Accessibility: Securing more community use agreements with schools and improving the quality of pitches are necessary steps.
  1. Future Demand:
  • Forecast: Growth in hockey participation will depend on improved facilities and increased accessibility.
  • Action Required: Resurfacing existing pitches and developing new ones at strategic locations, such as Horntye Sports Complex, to support club growth and community use.


  1. Current Supply and Demand:
  • Supply: Rugby pitches are fewer in number, with some clubs facing challenges in accessing adequate training facilities.
  • Demand: Demand is growing, particularly for junior and women’s rugby.
  1. Quality and Accessibility:
  • Quality: Many pitches require better drainage and maintenance to support regular use.
  • Accessibility: Increased community access to school pitches and better floodlighting for training are crucial.
  1. Future Demand:
  • Forecast: With the rising popularity of rugby, especially among youth, the need for more pitches will increase.
  • Action Required: Investment in pitch maintenance and development of floodlit training facilities, along with ensuring long-term community use agreements.

Facility-Specific Actions and Improvements

Horntye Sports Complex

  1. Current State: The complex includes facilities for cricket and hockey, but maintenance and improvements are needed.
  2. Required Actions:
  • Cricket: Maintain existing wickets and provide new nets if no alternative options are found for Hastings Priory Cricket Club.
  • Hockey: Resurface the AGP if no suitable alternative for South Saxons Hockey Club is identified.
  • Other Sports: Continued assessment to retain community sports provision if current plans are deemed unsuitable.

Summerfields Leisure Centre Development

  1. Current State: Plans are in place for a new 3G AGP, subject to planning and funding.
  2. Required Actions:
  • Explore potential locations within White Rock Gardens.
  • Ensure the facility supports both football and other community sports.

Other Key Sites in Hastings

  • Sandhurst Rec Ground:
  • Replace pavilion and improve football pitch maintenance.
  • Investigate options for securing the site for community club use after investment.
  • St Leonards Academy:
  • Retain grass pitches and consider the provision of a 3G AGP if Summerfields development does not proceed.
  • Bulverhythe Rec:
  • Refurbish/replace pavilion and improve pitch maintenance.
  • Tilekiln Rec Ground:
  • Assess the feasibility of developing a community football hub, including 3G AGP provision.

Summary of Club Aspirations

  • Growth and Facility Development: Many clubs in Hastings have indicated aspirations for growth, contingent on the development and improvement of facilities. This includes better maintenance of existing pitches and the development of new ones to support increasing participation rates.

Financial Considerations

  • Estimated Costs:
  • Development of new 3G AGPs: Approx. £1.075 million each.
  • Pavilion replacements and refurbishments vary from £50k to £755k.
  • Maintenance and improvement costs for pitches are to be determined (tbc) based on specific needs.


The strategy highlights a pressing need for investment in sports facilities in Hastings to accommodate current and future demand. Key actions include maintaining and improving existing pitches, developing new 3G AGPs, securing community use agreements, and addressing club aspirations for growth. Effective implementation of these recommendations will require collaboration between local authorities, sports clubs, governing bodies, and funding partners.