A popular scheme to open a new doctor’s surgery in Hastings has been approved by council planners.
The application, to convert part of the Ice House in Rock-a-Nore into a medical centre, restaurant and gym, was given the go ahead by Hastings Borough Council on Wednesday, August 23.
The council had previously refused planning permission, saying the surgery would take away space earmarked for a hotel, cause traffic congestion and parking issues, and would also cause waste storage issues. The Ice House was constructed as flats and a hotel, but the owner has been unable to find a buyer for the hotel portion of the site.
The proposals had proven popular, with 17 letters of support and more than 1,723 people signing a petition in favour of developing the Rock-a-Nore Road site. The petition, which was set up by the Hastings Old Town Residents’ Association, called on planners to wave the council’s existing tourism and leisure policies in order “to secure the higher objective of a comprehensive, modern health centre”.
While well-regarded by many, the scheme did also generate seven letters of objection, most raising concerns about parking and traffic pressures.
Several official bodies also raised concerns, with East Sussex County Council Highways finding several issues over parking and surfaces. These concerns were mirrored by the council’s planning officers, who recommended the scheme for refusal.
As a result of these concerns, the planning committee imposed a series of conditions on the scheme, including measures to secure seven dedicated carparking spaces in the Rock-a-Nore Road carpark, as well as to improve access and road surface conditions nearby.
Planners also imposed conditions that the gym could only be used in association with rehabilitation services or occupational therapy unless the alternative use was agreed in writing.