Development solely for the sake of it

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THE chairman of the borough planning committee remarked: (Observer, July 22) “We have loads of Victorian buildings and these three here are dilapidated”.

Victorian architecture is not being made any more, and is what Hastings and St Leonards has — exceptionally. Look around Laton or Pevensey Roads for instance. It is bone-headed to turn the borough into somewhere as modern and dreary as so many other places.

Modern and impressive would be a different matter, but the planners are incapable of delivering that.

If Hastings would recognise its own exceptionalism, then other people and places would too.

The new development in Havelock Road is entirely speculative (‘There is no end user lined up to take on the new building . . . ‘ say the agenda notes), and will damage the Hastings skyline and views of the castle.

Visitors coming out of Hastings station will mostly be looking for a seaside town, not a container port, suggested by a skyscraper like a heap of glass cabins.

The agenda notes stress jobs — but not the possibility of jobs foregone if visitors don’t come back or never arrive, having been warned off.

Why is the planning department so indulgent of all this property-led ‘vision’, resting as it does on heroic assumptions — and the vision of a fast buck?

Did Ocean House at Warrior Square station further the economic recovery of St Leonards or hamper it?

It still has empty floors, as does Cavendish House and others.

For long-suffering residents who know that it is not progress to demolish an eyesore (Queensbury House, opposite Hastings station) in order to replace it with a bigger eyesore, the lack of consultation for this scheme is truly disgraceful.

Why do other towns in East Sussex not have this relentless infliction of architectural tat?

Hasn’t this borough had more than enough of naff and dire development in no one’s interest but the developers?

BERNARD MCGINLEY

Magdalen Road

St Leonards