Area could become magnet for tourism

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IN response to Kevin Boorman’s letter of April 25, I would like to recognise the council’s work in producing the ‘Shaping Hastings’ Development Management Plan. (Even though responding to it was enough to try the patience of a saint).

I would also like to acknowledge all the effort the council put into the regeneration of St Leonards Gardens, giving it a splendid re-opening ceremony in 2008, and leasing the west side of the gardens’ South Lodge to the Burtons’ St Leonards Society.

But the gardens form only a part of Burtons’ St Leonards. And it is this, the Regency new town itself, as a cultural artefact in its own right, which evades recognition in the council’s Development Management Plan. And although the whole of the present St Leonards stretches far beyond the original Regency resort, this resort still retains its identity.

Yet this identity is denied recognition in the plan. Bits are to be found in Central St Leonards, in the Central St Leonards Cultural Quarter, and West St Leonards. Another bit can be found as merely a part of the seafront.

Burtons’ St Leonards is an historic, lived-in and loved community. It is also a heritage asset of the first order. National policy requires a full description of it as a heritage asset and a conservation area appraisal.

Neither seems indicated in the plan. The brief, vague and inaccurate historical description given on page 149 does not do it justice, and by no means offers guidance to future developers - which I understood was the main purpose of the plan.

Burtons’ St Leonards should be understood as a whole. Properly conserved and cherished and brought to life, particularly along the seafront, it could become a magnet for national and international cultural tourism.

With all due respect to Kevin Boorman, and warm recognition of his cooperation in the past, why does the council fail to recognise this?

ELIZABETH NATHANIELS

Upper Maze Hill

St Leonards