A SCHEME to sell more land in Eastbourne for housing and invest the proceeds into new sports facilities is likely to be approved by councillors.
A report prepared for Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet recommends selling off additional land at the former Eastbourne School site, off Hundens Lane, to accommodate 85 new houses.
The area is already subject to a £7m housing development and it is expected that the sale of three additional plots would raise £1.6m and generate £200,000 annually for the council in tax and new homes bonuses.
The initial £1.6m made from the sale of the land would then be put back into improving Eastbourne Sports Complex.
The report warns that if the complex is not updated before 2020, the running track could deteriorate to the point of closure and an external body would need to be found to manage the pitches.
If the development goes ahead, parts of the complex, including the changing rooms and gym, would be replaced and relocated closer to the outdoor facilities at a cost of £1m.
A £430,000 investment would be made in replacing the synthetic turf and lighting at the five-a-side pitches and replacing the running track.
And a further £170,000 would be set aside to build extra classrooms at Heathfield School to create extra school places if required as a result of the development.
Other options have been included in the report, including two which would render Eastbourne Sports Complex unsustainable, so it is expected that the cabinet will approve the option that generates the most money for the authority and secures the complex’s future.
Also included in the report are details of the council’s Sports and Physical Activity Strategy Outcomes, which highlight the importance of Eastbourne Sports Complex and the need to keep it operating for the community.
It points out that the complex is used by about 20 clubs and groups and is the key outdoor hub for disability sport in the south of the region.
It adds: “As a centre based in one of Darlington’s more deprived wards, Eastbourne Sports Complex is uniquely placed to be able to ‘plant seeds of change’ within the local community.”
The cabinet meets on Tuesday (July 1) to consider whether to approve the scheme.