Call for action at derelict former language school

Trevor Whyatt in front of the blue boarding that hides the college site.
Trevor Whyatt in front of the blue boarding that hides the college site.

A CALL for action has been made for a former language school which has been left derelict for years.

Trevor Whyatt, 78, of Hurst Way, says he is tired of looking at the derelict Hurst Court site which backs onto his property.

The retired fisheries inspector wants the borough council to include the site in its Local Development Framework plan which is being collated this year.

Hurst Court was demolished three years ago after it fell into a major state of disrepair and ruin.

Millwood Designer Homes in Tonbridge applied to the council to build 20 residential properties on the site.

But the bid was turned down in December because it would impact on a badger population, harm local trees, would not have adequate access and there was not legal agreement in place to provide local infrastructure such as affordable housing, education provision and public art.

Hurst Court was built in 1863 as a prep school and opened a year later.

It was taken over by Jesuits and more recently by the Hastings Youth Trust in the 1960s who used it as a residential facility.

Hurst Court was closed down around 10 years ago and bought by developers.

But sadly it was left to rack and ruin and suffered fly-tipping and illegal travellers trying to gain access.

Three years ago it was demolished after a number of arson attacks which left it in a dangerous state.

Now Mr Whyatt is asking for the site to be included in the LDF so that the ‘hideous’ blue hoardings are removed and the plot put to use.

“It is about time this site was developed, “said Mr Whyatt. “It is long overdue.

“In a town with so many people needing a home it is galling to see vast empty spaces like this just going to waste.

“There could be a housing association put on there to help providing affordable housing. How much longer will we have to stare at those hideous blue boards?”

Ward councillor Matthew Lock said: “If a housing association came along and said we need this site then we would consider a CPO.

“This is the sort of thing we need to include in our Local Development Framework discussions.

“Unfortunately we are in the middle of a recession and there are not many developers building at the moment.”