St Leonards neighbours oppose homes on former bathing pool site

A group of residents have called on the council to hold off on plans to develop the former bathing pool site in St Leonards into 152 houses and leisure facilities.

Hastings Borough Council said there is a proposal for a mixed use community of housing and leisure on the west St Leonards site which has been empty for more than 30 years.

Virginia Vilela, chairman of the West Marina group, at the Old Bathing Pool site, St Leonards

Virginia Vilela, chairman of the West Marina group, at the Old Bathing Pool site, St Leonards

West Marina, a group of residents from the West Marina area of St Leonards, formed after concerns the council was developing the site ‘in secret’.

However, a council spokesman denied the allegation, saying no planning application had been submitted.

Virginia Vilela, from the group of residents, said: “The council are proposing to develop the site with 152 housing units plus various leisure things which include glamping, a café, artist studios, child play area and a multi-storey car park at the other end.

“Our feelings about it is, while we do accept there has to be some development, the development is actually too dense and also that this is not a good sight to put housing on. It’s the only real sort of free site all the way along the coast so we feel it should be left open for leisure.”

The residents opposing plans for a development held a meeting on Wednesday (January 9) to ask the council for more clarification about proposals for the site.

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It was attended by Councillor Andy Batsford, lead member for housing, who said: “It was great to listen and share ideas with the local residents who clearly have a real passion for the west marina site which we share and want to make in to a living, thriving destination point for Hastings.

“This is just the very start of the conversation about this exciting development, thank you to Lucie Masons for organising the meeting for all those who attended.”

Mrs Vilela said residents used the meeting to suggest alternative sites to Councillor Batsford which could be used for housing.

She added: “The old Stamco site is now up for sale and that would be a possible extra site and also the MoD (Ministry of Defence) are very keen to sell a lot of their sites off and the council are apparently looking into that.

“One suggestion we made last week to councillor Batsford was that maybe this should all be put on hold until the site as a whole could be looked at and therefore this site could then be the residential part and this site across there which really would not impact on anything in particular could be used for the housing.

The West Marina group of residents have organised a petition asking the council not to proceed with plans for the 152 houses. It is available on westmarina.org.