Plans to build on Hastings woodland refused

Campaigners at the entrance to Speckled Wood, Ore. Picture taken in 2012
Campaigners at the entrance to Speckled Wood, Ore. Picture taken in 2012

Residents have won a victory in their campaign to stop new homes being built on woodland.

At a planning meeting last night (Tuesday, October 20), Hastings borough councillors unanimously refused permission for the 31 houses and four flats to be built on a section of woodland at the northern end of the Ore Valley, which is part of Speckled Wood.

Almost 600 people wrote to the council, voicing their objections and two petitions were signed in protest at the scheme for land south of Victoria Avenue.

Planning officers from the borough council recommended the plans be refused permission ahead of yesterday’s meeting.

In his report, which was presented to councillors, Sam Batchelor said the proposals were originally brought before the council in February last year when the site in question was allocated in Hastings Local Plan for residential development.

But since the Development Management Plan (DMP) was adopted in September, the site now was now protected green space.

The DMP identifies potential areas in the borough for development over the next 20 years.

Campaigners have fought for many years to protect Speckled Wood from development.

Aubrey Ingleton, speaking on behalf of petitioners, said: “There are unacceptable risks of pollution and land stability with this application. The Clive Vale and Ore Valley area has more than 7,000 residents and is one of the most densely populated areas in the borough.”

Councillor Michael Wincott said: “Thank goodness this has been recommended for refusal. In my view it’s never been an acceptable site for development. Speckled Wood is clearly a community asset and I’m glad it’s being protected.”

Councillor Maureen Charlesworth said: “It would be terrible to build in that area. When I was mayor I got quite heavily involved with Speckled Wood and to build on there would be absolutely atrocious. The land is not suitable for development and should stay as an area for recreational use.”

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