Playing fields could be lost

Harrow Lane playing fields, Hastings. 9/9/13
Harrow Lane playing fields, Hastings. 9/9/13

PLAYING fields in St Leonards have been earmarked for housing development.

Up to 140 new homes could be built on Harrow Lane fields under proposals detailed in the Hastings Development Management Plan, a document which outlines possible areas of the borough for development over the next 15 years.

Additional houses, up to 160, could also be built on the adjacent fields at Holmhurst St Mary.

Sue Deeprose, of Maplehurst Road, St Leonards, said: “The council states in its plan that the Harrow Lane fields which were protected in the 2004 Local Plan ‘have ceased to be used as a football field or for active recreation’, a statement I find extraordinary given that every day I walk my dog over these fields there are sports groups using the site and families using the fields.

“Apart from the fact that this is the only green space in this area for people to exercise and enjoy some countryside, any further development would put additional strain on the road network in this area.

“I urge everyone who lives in this area or uses this wonderful unspoilt space to contact their local councillor, the council itself and the county council to lobby them to stop any proposed building on this land and adjoining fields.

“I find it ironic that a council that holds a policy of promoting the use of public transport or green alternatives to the car is prepared to remove such an invaluable green space in such a highly congested area thus leaving the residents of Baldslow with no alternative recreational facilities.”

Kevin Boorman, spokesman for Hastings Borough Council, said: “Both Holmhurst St Mary and Harrow Lane have been included in the Development Management Plan (DMP), as residential allocations.

“The DMP has been through several rounds of consultation, but has yet to be examined by an independent inspector or adopted by the council.

“The inclusion of open space in the development of Holmhurst St Mary (to the south east of the site) has, in part, produced the opportunity to release Harrow Lane playing field for development.”