Hastings Cottage site ripe for a ‘grotbusting’

Councillors Corello and Lock at Hastings Cottage
Councillors Corello and Lock at Hastings Cottage

A FORMER nursing home on the outskirts of Hastings in which Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll had his stammer treated has turned into a crumbling eyesore.

Hastings Cottage, on The Ridge, has become a magnet for fly-tippers and litter louts following a fire back in 2009.

The now near-derelict building, which was formerly called Ore House and prior to that Ledsham Court, is awaiting development. after planners granted permission for a 76 bed care-home in March 2009.

However, in the current economic climate, that work has been less than forthcoming, leading to calls for the local authority to mobilise its Grotbusters team and smarten the area up.

But, despite the efforts of a pair of local councillors, Hastings Borough Council has yet to act. Cllr Simon Corrello and his colleague Cllr Matthew Lock have been lobbying the authority to tackle the site since last year - believing Hastings Cottage is ripe for a grotbusting.

The council has the power to force owners to tidy up their buildings if it believes they are being allowed to lower the appearance and tone of the neighbourhood. This it does by either pressuring the owner into doing the work or, in more severe cases, using its staff to do the work and sending the owner the bill.

But, despite the fact the scheme has been hailed a success and targeted almost 500 local buidlings, the Conservative councillors are convinced the powers-that-be are letting down locals by not going after Hastings Cottage.

Cllr Lock, who also leads his party on the council, told the Observer he had the full support of residents living near to the site.

He said: “Everyone is frustrated at the time it is taking to clear the rubbish at Hastings Cottage and for developers to start work on this site.

“This is yet another building that was left empty and then set fire to. Since then anyone using The Ridge drives by this pile of rubble. As councillors we have been asking for the site to be cleared since last year. We were told an enforcement notice to clear the site was issued on February 8 and ran out on April 15 but still no action has been taken. We want the council and its lead member for the environment, Cllr Phil Scott, to put this at the top of their priority pile and get this site cleared.”

A council spokesman said the authority was aware of the situation and was determined to cajole the owners into acting.

Keving Boorman, speaking on behalf of the authority, said: “An enforcement notice was issued on May 27 and they (land owners) have 28 days to appeal. If the owner does not do the work we will increase the pressure on them.”

He refused to rule out a future grotbusting and added that unsightly boarding on a neighbouring property had already been cleared up.”