More anger over Hastings development plans

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THE row over developing the town’s green spaces is rumbling on with fingers now being pointed at a local housing association as well as the council,

The Observer reported last week that plots of land off Ghyllside Avenue and Parkstone Road could be auctioned off to raise money for Hastings Borough Council.

A public meeting called by Cllrs Peter Pragnell and Eve Martin over the Ghyllside Avenue plans attracted 60 disgruntled residents at the weekend

Cllr Pragnell told the Observer: “Local people are very unhappy with the proposed sale. They have been using this land for decades and are now worried about what will happen here in the future. Their children can play safely here, they can enjoy the trees and the grass for picnics, dogs are walked, horses are ridden; it is a local community focal point and asset.

“This land is very close to residents’ hearts, especially as it is the only open green space in Conquest Ward that is freely accessible to the public. Residents are determined that this will not happen.”

And this week, residents of Catsfield Close, St Leonards, raised concern that AmicusHorizon had applied for planning permission to build 10 new properties on green space near their homes. Steve Bowles, whose house overlooks the site, said: “People are wondering where this is going to stop. Somewhere along the line we have to stop chucking houses on every bit of green space in this area.”

He said the land was used for the Sure Start programme in the summer and that the only other open space nearby - the Robsack Wood school playing field - was not open to the public.

“If the council wants to make itself a few million pounds then housing associations are going to jump on the bandwagon,” Mr Bowles added.

Neil Tickle, of AmicusHorizon, said: “We understand local concerns for loss of open space, but also want to address the high need for more affordable housing.

“As a large housing provider in Hastings, we’re committed to investing in the area. We want to provide new affordable housing for the local community. If we generate any income from a land sale in Hastings we will invest in new affordable housing developments in Hastings.”

He denied rumours that the green space at the top of Edinburgh Road, St Leonards, was being sold and said that loss of open space was always considered whenever a plot was assessed for development.

“We want to make sure we design and build sustainable homes in sustainable communities,” he said. “We will always consult with local neighbours on development proposals before we submit planning applications.”