Developers respond to fears over West Hill Road development in St Leonards

Cllrs Andy Patmore and Matthew Beaver by the site in West Hill Road. Picture by Graeme Williams
Cllrs Andy Patmore and Matthew Beaver by the site in West Hill Road. Picture by Graeme Williams

Developers planning to build more than 100 new homes in St Leonards this week have tried to allay residents’ fears.

People living in West Hill Road are upset over the destruction of plants and wildlife, which they said has developed over many years.

The site used to be occupied by Malmesbury House, a former children’s home, which was knocked down almost 30 years ago.

Developers were granted planning permission in 1988 to build 117 new homes.

Last month, Maze Hill ward councillor Andy Patmore said he received ‘numerous complaints’ about the clearing of the site.

He said: “This site contained wildlife, slow worms and wild orchids and had been left untouched for many years and then without notice or thought for the legal implications, the land was cleared within days.”

West St Leonards ward councillor Matthew Beaver said: “Given the state of the cliff face and the fact we have had a number of very wet winters over the last few years would surely mean a further survey should take place on the cliff to ensure the safety of the cliff itself and the residents’ properties below.”

Guy Hammond, director of developers Atlas Partners, said: “We’ve appointed a professional ecologist. His survey of the site, together with his strategy for enabling us to complete our investigative ground works, have been submitted to officers at Hastings Borough Council. All our work on site is now guided by the methodology he has set out.

“In fact, we have commissioned a whole set of reports as part of our due diligence. Residents should be reassured that matters such as drainage and geology are all being reviewed afresh. We might be implementing a consent from the 1980s, but our approach to building standards and health and safety is very much 21st century.

“Hastings has huge potential. The Old Town and new pier are increasingly making this a place that people want to visit and to settle down in. We’re working hard to turn an ordinary 1980s scheme into something attractive and appealing, as much to existing residents as to new occupiers.

“By using contemporary materials, creating better living space and concealing ancillary uses, we are going to deliver a fantastic place to live. And we’re creating jobs on site in the process.

“We’ve spoken to a number of residents and councillors about our plans and they too don’t want a typical 1980s building right in their midst.

“We want to take the local community with us on this. We’ll be telling them more about our plans very shortly and asking them for ideas to enhance the neighbourhood.”

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