AS a former councillor on the planning committee and an observer of the early negotiations between AmicusHorizon and Hastings Borough Council with regard to the dilemma of the 6th Hastings Scout Hall, I thought it useful to add some insights.
It is unfair to wholly blame the planning committee for allowing demolition of the hall where there was little evidence of any adverse effect on safety, ecology and the character and appearance of the area.
It has to keep within the Local Planning Policies upon which any inspector would base their opinion should it come to appeal.
What is outrageous is that, ‘There are no planning policies which prevent the loss of community facilities’, as stated in the planning committee notes.
This chasm of an oversight needs to be amended in the upcoming changes to our Local Planning Polices before it comes a legal document upon which planning polices will be taken up till 2028 – Cllr Chowney please take note.
Furthermore, Hastings Borough Council could have at least requested some Section 106 money from the developer to contribute towards the cost of a new Scout Hall if it was serious about supporting the community. Other Ccuncils do, why didn’t we?
AmicusHorizon for its part was forthcoming in making financial provision and land at an early stage for an alternative local Scout Hall.
The real elephant in the room was the insistence of the local Labour councillor Mike Turner that there should be provision for a community room.
The thought behind it was well meaning but lacked foresight into how it would work.
6th Hastings were entirely willing to rent out a future hall to the community like most voluntary charities but it was entirely unfair for volunteers to be responsible for the safety, organisation and financial upkeep of a drop in facility with no long-term sustainable plan or even clue as to who is was for.
No insurance company in their right mind would cater for it. So now local youth have to move out of their immediate area and there is less local community provision than before. Good one. No wonder the public get fed up with politics and I don’t blame them.
MATTHEW J LOCK
St Helen’s Park Road