Plans to build pub on eyesore school site

Hurst Court before it was demolished
Hurst Court before it was demolished

Ambitious plans have been put forward to turn a derelict former language school site into a pub and restaurant creating up to 50 jobs.

Marstons PLC wants to turn the old Hurst Court site on The Ridge into its latest customer facility - believed to be the company’s first in the area.

The half-acre site would include a flat for the site’s manager, car park and play area.

The plans will go before the borough council’s planning committee on Wednesday (December 3) with a recommendation for approval despite several letters of objection.

Planning officers have received 19 letters objecting to the plans with just three in support.

Concern has been raised about noise nuisance from customers using the car park. Some residents have also raised concerns about possible noise from mechanical ventilation and nuisance cooking odours.

The majority of objections were concerned with the impact the development would have on The Ridge and the safety of the junctions with Stonestile Lane and Chowns Hill.

However the report recommends the application is approved subject to conditions and a legal agreement securing a footpath along the side’s frontage.

Hurst Court was built in 1863 as a prep school and opened a year later. It was taken over by Jesuits and more recently by the Hastings Youth Trust in the 1960s who used it as a residential facility. It later become a language school.

However it was closed down around 2002 and bought by developers.

A plan was submitted to the council to build 20 residential properties on the site but the bid was turned down in December 2011 because it would impact on a badger population, harm local trees, would not have adequate access and there was not legal agreement in place to provide local infrastructure such as affordable housing, education provision and public art. In 2009, it was demolished after a number of arson attacks which left it in a dangerous state.