Residents’ anger over St Leonards care home plans for demolition

Cllr Rob Lee pictured with angry residents
Cllr Rob Lee pictured with angry residents

Scores of residents have signed a petition in a bid to save a Victorian building in St Leonards from being knocked down.

Regal Care Trading Ltd has applied to Hastings Borough Council for permission to demolish the property in Upper Maze Hill, which houses Park Beck care home, and replace it with a bigger, seven-storey care home containing 52 flats.

But residents in the area are up in arms over the plans and more than 80 people attended a meeting at the Taplin Centre last Tuesday (September 13) to raise their concerns.

They said the existing building is of considerable historic interest, once being the rectory of St John’s Church.

Patricia Stephenson said: “There appears to be a fervent attempt by developers to destroy any building in this town which has historic significance.

“This property is within the Marwick Terrace Conservation Area. Most of the important architectural features remain and these are listed by the Victorian Society.

“The proposals to replace this historic building with a concrete monstrosity are completely unacceptable and this application must be refused.”

Chris Saunders said: “The current building contributes to the unique and distinctive character of Upper Maze Hill. We recognise the arguments put forward in the application regarding change of use being consistent with new demographic demands. However, this could be achieved through the modification of the existing building, with no loss of architectural character.”

Ward councillor, Rob Lee, who, together with Cllr Andy Patmore, chaired last Tuesday’s meeting, said: “It’s an historic building and it being replaced by a seven-storey property would be absolute horror and totally unsuitable.”

In their application to the council, developers said they wanted to knock down the building because they believe it is outdated and no longer fit for purpose and has fallen into disrepair. They added that the lift inside was prone to breaking down a lot.

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