Project to build 60 homes and community hub

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Housing association AmicusHorizon has submitted a hybrid planning application to develop land at the former West St Leonards Primary School.

Plans submitted for the land off Filsham Road, St Leonards, include what is described as a state of the art Extra Care scheme for older people, providing 60 apartments and a community hub that can be used by local people for clubs, meetings and other functions. AmicusHorizon say Extra Care housing will help to meet the growing housing and care needs of older people in the borough.

Outline planning permission is also being sought to develop a future phase of houses and retirement properties that will integrate into the natural attributes of the site.

An onsite café would be open to the public, providing a social area for people to meet and access services.

The housing provider says the scheme will create job opportunities during the construction phase and once built, in care and housekeeping roles.

However, objectors reacted angrily to the scheme, which would involve the demolishing of the community centre, when East Sussex County Council (ESCC) announced that it had decided to dispose of the site for housing development at the end of last year. Objectors say the communal hall that Amicus Horizon is proposing won’t meet the social needs of the wider community. Campaigners also raised concerns about increased flooding in the area and a Facebook petition was set up.

The housing provider says it has carried out extensive consultation prior to the planning application being submitted and Neill Tickle, Development Director (Counties) at AmicusHorizon, said the local community is integral to the success of the project, adding: “We understand the plans are cause for concern with some local residents and we are listening. We hope people understand that the current community centre would be replaced with improved facilities available for use by local people. In fact we would encourage involvement to create a buzzing community hub that can be enjoyed by many.

“We want to ensure we deliver a site that’s sensitive to its surroundings. We’ll continue to communicate openly with the local community, South Saxon Wetlands Trust and ESCC. We’re also working closely with the Environment Agency to produce a strategy to design out and mitigate the risk of flooding. We’ve created a strategy to enhance biodiversity within the site.”

Members of the public can view and comment on the planning application at:

http://publicaccess.hastings.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=_HSTBC_DCAPR_102264