Hastings Borough Council has received the Planning Inspector’s final report following the ‘examination in public’ of its development management plan.
This plan identifies specific sites within the town for housing, employment and other land uses for the next 15 years, as well as providing detailed planning policies to protect and enhance the natural and built environment and conservation of Hastings’ unique heritage.
The plan needs to provide at least 3,400 new homes and 70,000 square metres of employment space by 2028, a target set by the council’s agreed planning strategy.
The plan was subject to a rigorous process of examination in public between October and December last year and a further hearing session in January, and was carried out by an independent planning inspector. During the examination, the inspector heard evidence from numerous residents, local amenity organisations and developers as well as from council officers and other key partners.
In his report the inspector commented that ‘in general the council has done an excellent job in consulting and responding to relevant parties, particularly with regards to its strategic housing land availability study and reconciling competing objectives’.
He also concluded that the council has met its legal obligations concerning the preparation of the plan and added ‘indeed in some respects it has gone well beyond them in its determination to involve the people of the Borough in the plan making process’.
The inspector has recommended eight modifications to the plan. Five of these were promoted and encouraged by the council during the course of the examination itself.
Councillor Peter Chowney, council leader, said; “I am delighted that the inspector has found the plan ‘sound’ subject to the changes he has suggested, which the council fully supports. I am especially pleased that he has acknowledged the effort and hard work undertaken by the Council to involve local people in making the plan.
“And, of course, we now have to provide 3,400 new homes, less than half the 7,000 we were expected to find when the planning process began, and I think that’s a real victory for common sense too. I was also very pleased that the inspector has approved our new, tougher policies on design quality and room sizes in new housing.
“The plan will make it clear to both developers and local people how, where and what kind of development should take place to regenerate our town while also protecting our historic and environmental assets.
“We will now formally adopt the plan as soon as possible.”
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