Objection to plans to build new homes on St Leonards playing fields

Cllrs Rankin and Atkins at the pre-application forum
Cllrs Rankin and Atkins at the pre-application forum

Residents have voiced objections over proposals to build new houses on playing fields in St Leonards.

A pre-application forum was held recently at the town hall, which saw a packed audience.

Some borough councillors, as well as residents, aired their opposition.

Councillor John Rankin, who represents Conquest ward, said: “Many residents felt this plan represented a dormitory development with no provision to address the pressure it would create on the schools and doctors, aside from the fact the playing fields and recreation grounds were not being replaced.

“No thought whatsoever has been given to the concept of building a sustainable community. This is motivated purely by the desire to reach house building targets with no thought given to the people whose lives this will impact.”

Cllr Liam Atkins, also Conquest ward councillor, said: “This proposal must be viewed in context with neighbouring schemes at Holmhurst St Mary and the planned Queensway Gateway Road, which will connect to the link road.

“I would suggest this proposal and the one at Holmhurst St Mary are put firmly on ice until the gateway road is opened and we are able to access how the traffic flow on to The Ridge will be affected.”

Cllr Kim Forward, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for housing, said: “The purpose of pre-planning application forums is to gather information and ideas from the local community to help inform any future planning application.

“It was good to see so many people attend and express a range of different views on the proposals, all of which will be considered.

“Harrow Lane Recreation Ground is allocated in the Local Plan for 140 homes and forms part of the council’s land disposal plans.

“The pre-application forum process is an opportunity for site owners, in this case the council, to set out its draft proposal for the site and to obtain views and comments so as to inform the preparation of a planning application.

“Once an application has been submitted to the planning authority it will be considered within the context of the council’s Local Plan policies and officers will make their recommendations accordingly.

“It would therefore be inappropriate to comment on the proposals at this stage.”

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