PLANS to build a £10 million state-of-the-art student village in the town centre have this week been given the go ahead.
At Wednesday’s (May 14) planning committee meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to approve the University of Brighton’s grand plans to develop a purpose-built student accommodation on a derelict site next to the main railway line.
Councillors acknowledged that the development would be of great economic benefit to Hastings by drawing more students to the town.
It could also provide a boost to local shops and businesses as well as freeing up much-needed housing for families in the suburbs.
Cllr RIchard Street said: “Over the 10 years it has been open, the university has made a massive investment in this town to the benefit of everybody and future generations to come. One thing that has been lacking has been places for students to live, top quality residential accommodation for students.
“As the housing officer explained this will free up some perfectly good family homes to be used by families which is badly needed in this town.”
However a small group of petitioners raised concerns over issues such as the design of building but the main bone of contention was over Greenway, a plan for an extensive network of cycling and walking routes throughout Hastings, sections of which have already been built.
Cycle campaign group Greenway, who have been in talks with the developers, were hoping that the plan would be amended to allow for a three-metre strip of land for the proposed cycle and pedestrian route.
Based on a previous 2007 application, the plans include retaining a two-metre strip of land for the route which Greenway say is simply not wide enough.
Timothy Jemison, of the Greenway Group, told the Observer: “It’s very disappointing because they fudged the issue on greenway and there lots of unresolved questions that haven’t been properly dealt with.
“What they should have done is they should defer the scheme to research these key aspects and come up with concrete proposals.
“The good thing is that the greenway will still be in there as an integral part and we can build on that.
Paul Conway, one of the architects and an associate from Architecture PLB, said: “The University is committed to sustainable development and takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. They would be a willing partner in supporting the implementation of the Greenway Town Centre link and supports the proposed agreement to safeguard the cycle route.” The planning application was approved by the committee on the condition that the land at the back and front of the development is retained for the Greenway Route and that the accommodation is used primarily to house students.