Working together for a more active Wealden

Wealden District Council has agreed to offer Hailsham Town Council a lease extension.

This is to secure the future of Maurice Thornton playing field.

Following ambitious plans to enhance the facilities put forward by Steve Wennington of Hailsham Active, the Leader of Council, Bob Standley, has agreed to extend the current lease for up to 50 years. The plans were discussed when Cllr Standley and Mr Wennington, alongside East Sussex County Councillor Gerard Fox and Wealden MP Nus Ghani, met on site on Friday 2 July.

“I am delighted to offer Hailsham Town Council the opportunity to extend the current lease of Maurice Thornton playing field.” Said Council Leader Bob Standley.

“This extension is fundamental to ensuring that the site is eligible for funding from the Football Association and Sport England. Such funding is vital to deliver much needed improvement to the ground and changing facilities. It’s thanks to the dedicated work and support of East Sussex County Council Councillors and Hailsham Active that we can begin to move this project forward together.”

The recreation ground, named after local Hailsham historian Maurice Thornton, is home to Hailsham United Junior Football Club who offer structured and organised football training to both boys and girls aged from 5 – 16 years of age. The playing field is also regularly used by the wider community for various sports including stoolball and athletics.

Hailsham Active, established in the early 1990s, works to provide support for all member clubs, and promotes a range of activities and sports within the town.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have community action groups, such as Hailsham Active, championing sport and physical activities in the district.” Said Cllr Philip Lunn, Cabinet Member for Community and Public Health.

“Not only for the benefit our general health and fitness, but also for our mental wellbeing. Securing the future of sites such as Maurice Thornton playing field is imperative to the future success of sport in the UK. Without clubs like Hailsham United, Wealden’s young sporting talent couldn’t be nurtured and developed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the next Harry Kane or Raheem Stirling came from Wealden!”

It is hoped that members of Hailsham Town Council will agree to the new lease in their Full Council meeting of 13 July; securing the ground for recreational use for many years to come.