Calls to bring Sidley Sports Ground back to use

Bexhill Labour calling for Rother to compulsory purchase Gullivers playing field in Sidley. SUS-180613-124916001
Bexhill Labour calling for Rother to compulsory purchase Gullivers playing field in Sidley. SUS-180613-124916001

Campaigners are calling for a disused playing field to be brought back into use.

Bexhill Labour Party has written to Rother District Council (RDC) urging the authority to compulsory purchase Sidley Sports Ground, also known as Gullivers.

In the letter, Sam Coleman, the party’s spokesman and Conor Hill, chairman of Bexhill Labour, said they welcomed RDC’s recent decision to refuse an application by developers to build up to 54 houses on part of the disused playing grounds in Glovers Lane.

The letter said: “Bexhill Labour Party listened to local views and campaigned with residents against the recent planning application as we felt the much-cherished recreational space was not the right place to build private housing. It is now paramount to Bexhill Labour Party and the residents of Sidley that the sports ground does not remain in its current dilapidated state.

“It was once a vital part of Sidley’s identity but has been reduced to a fenced-off eyesore. The site was originally bestowed to the people of Sidley for sports and recreational activities. The ground was used for generations by footballers, cricketers, stoolball players and other sports people, as well as the younger members of the Sidley community as a vital social and recreational outlet.

“Bexhill Labour Party therefore calls on the council to acquire the land from its current owner either by sale or compulsory purchase for a reasonable price so it may be restored for its intended purpose, as a sports and social facility for the people of Sidley. We ask that the council works with Bexhill Labour Party and continues engagement with Heart of Sidley and other interest groups, as well as the residents of Sidley to create a facility that meets the needs of the community.”

An RDC spokesman said: “The site is owned by a private landowner who recently submitted a planning application for housing. This application was rejected by the local planning authority on various grounds, not least because it did not meet the relevant planning policies.

“RDC local ward members and the MP are speaking to Heart of Sidley about the future of this site and a feasibility study has been commissioned to look at options for bringing the site back into use as a sporting and community hub.”