Call for answers on status of major redevelopment bid in St Leonards

West St Leonards Community Centre could be demolished under development proposals for the area
West St Leonards Community Centre could be demolished under development proposals for the area

A development opposed by more than 600 residents is still going ahead, according to the housing provider behind the plans.

A planning application on land off Filsham Road, St Leonards, for 60 extra care units, a new community hub, 42 homes and ten private-sale retirement houses was submitted to Hastings Borough Council this time last year.

27/11/14- Residents protest over plans to demolish West St Leonards Community Centre back in November 2014. SUS-141127-124958001

27/11/14- Residents protest over plans to demolish West St Leonards Community Centre back in November 2014. SUS-141127-124958001

But residents, who have opposed the scheme on the former West St Leonards Primary School site – particularly plans to demolish the West St Leonards Community Centre – contacted the Observer this week to question if the scheme has been cancelled.

They were expecting a decision from East Sussex County Council before Christmas on whether or not to sell the part of the site it owns to Amicus.

However, Neill Tickle, development director at AmicusHorizon, said: “This is a site both East Sussex County Council and ourselves are keen to see developed.

“We’re in the process of working through the remaining requests from the planning officers at Hastings Borough Council on our hybrid planning application.”

Artist's impression of how the AmicusHorizon scheme might look like at the former West St Leonards Primary School site

Artist's impression of how the AmicusHorizon scheme might look like at the former West St Leonards Primary School site

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council added: “We are working closely with Amicus Horizon around designs for a redevelopment scheme at the former West St Leonards Primary School site.

“A proposal will go before the lead member for resources for his consideration in due course.”

The plans were labelled ‘atrocious’ back in November, 2014, when they were first revealed, with residents angry at the loss of the community centre.

Concerns over flooding, the level of traffic on both Bexhill Road and Filsham Road, and the impact on the South Saxon Wetlands were also raised.

This week Ann Kelly, a member of South Saxons Action Group, explained how they would like to see the land used for a nature reserve with a new community and visitor centre and a sports complex so residents could make use of the green space.

The group had been told that AmicusHorizon, a housing association working across Sussex, Kent and London, had doubts as to whether the development was feasible. She said: “We the local residents need to know what is going on.”

The site masterplan submitted to HBC shows the community hub and extra care apartments in the centre of the site and the bulk of the homes on the northern part of the site, with the rest facing on to Bexhill Road.

A petition against the scheme submitted to HBC received a total of 614 signatures.

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