Plan for new St Leonards homes approved

Holmhurst St Mary, The Ridge, Hastings. SUS-151125-130857001
Holmhurst St Mary, The Ridge, Hastings. SUS-151125-130857001

More than 200 homes could be built next to a busy road despite concerns over increased traffic and congestion.

An outline application for up to 208 dwellings on land to the south of Holmhurst St Mary, off The Ridge was approved by members of Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee on Wednesday evening (November 25).

However, some expressed concern at the possibility of more traffic and congestion being created along The Ridge.

Cllr Peter Pragnell said: “There was an application to build 164 dwellings on this site submitted seven years ago, which was turned down. My main concern is access and transport. If you go along The Ridge it’s clogged up solid. We should not be giving any sort of permission for this site until the Queensway Gateway appplication is given approval. At the very least it should be deferred.”

Cllr Mike Edwards said: “The Ridge has been pretty intolerable at times. The report before us says there will be a neutral effect on traffic but this application will see an additional 400 to 500 cars on the road. This is too big and comes at the wrong time.”

Cllr Michael Wincott also expressed concern. He said: “We are meant to be encouraging people not to use cars. The highways authority does not have any objections to this, which I am disappointed about.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, more than 40 letters of objection were received by the council, together with a petition.

Concerns included traffic generation and congestion, road safety, insufficient parking, the potential impact of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road on The Ridge, the impact of development on heritage assets and environment within the site and harm to ancient woodland.

The site where the homes would be built is more than 13 hectares in size. Part of it was part of the Holmhurst St Mary estate. The land has open fields with densely wooded areas, elements of a former formal garden, old outbuildings and classrooms, old tennis courts, a graveyard and a statue of Queen Anne which is Grade-II* listed.

Steve Carrington, representing developers, said: “These proposals have been a long time coming and the site has been formally allocated for housing in the local plan. The scheme has been amended over many months in response to comments raised by residents, which have all made for a far superior scheme.”

The bid was eventually approved by six votes to four.

Developers will still have to submit a full application at a later date.

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