What do planning policy team do?

AFTER seeing publicity for the Shaping Hastings planning initiative in the Observer in recent months, I went to the Aquila House offices of the Planning Policy Team.

The people there were very nice and answered some questions I asked. They gave me a copy of the Hastings Planning Strategy report.

After having such a good feeling about the exercise you may imagine my horror to read details of what is being proposed for central Hastings. They include an additional 21,700sqm of offices and an additional 20,500sqm of shops. These are massive areas.

Throughout the document there is mention of regeneration activity, sustainable regeneration, more sustainable patterns of development, contributing to the town’s built environment, supporting economic development and regeneration.

Writing ‘economic regeneration’ several times in reports like this does not make it come true. We can all see that building more offices and shops in Hastings is speculation, not regeneration.

What looked like a good way of burning-off a wad of cash years ago doesn’t look so clever now. In point 2.65, on page 22 of the report, there is a suggestion that in 2028, plans will be made for 2066 celebrations that ‘will attract international interest’.

Does the Planning Policy Team lark about all day? Do they have basic maths skills? The report has seen a lot of work and it does have some nice maps, but ‘contribute positively to the local economy?’I don’t think so.

NICOLA WARING

Sedlescombe Road South

St Leonards