Decision due on St Leonards housing plans on ‘important’ green space

A pair of proposals to develop an area of green space in St Leonards are set to go before planners next week.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 2:30 pm
Artist's impression of the terraced housing scheme

On Wednesday (November 10), Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee is set to consider two applications to build housing on land off of Newts Way. 

While from the same applicant, the two proposals — for a terrace of four four-storey homes and a large single family dwelling — would be mutually exclusive, as both schemes would be on the same plot of land.

Both applications are recommended for refusal by Hastings planning officers, primarily due to the potential loss of green space and the site’s proximity to a nature reserve.

In reports on both applications, a council planning officer said: “This open space provides an important relief or break within the townscape thereby providing an important balance between open space and built development within the area as a whole.

“It also provides a valuable contribution to the green space provision as part of the wider estate development, which if lost, would be detrimental to the overall character of the area as a whole.

“Given this, the loss of this open space to housing development as proposed would prejudice the open nature of this area, its biodiversity and accessibility and would be to the detriment of the visual and spatial character of this part of the area with no exceptional circumstance being met, contrary to policies.”

This view is disputed by the applicant, however, who argues the argument is ‘unfounded’ as the site has no formal protections as green space.

In a design and access statement submitted as part of the terraced housing scheme, a spokesman for the applicant said: “We acknowledge that undeveloped areas of land may nevertheless have some limited informal value as open space insofar as they are capable of relieving the built form and providing soft landscaping. 

“However, this particular site already adjoins a play area and further open land adjacent to the railway. 

“The fact is there is already ample green/open space in the immediate vicinity of the site and thus no compelling or overriding need to seek to retain this site in an undeveloped state. 

“Indeed, in its current state the site is hardly open at all, since it has been hoarded to prevent fly tipping and trespass. 

“Far from making a positive contribution to the open character and landscaping of the estate, the site is under-used and of little value in landscaping terms.”

The applicant goes on to argue the development would make good use of the site, particularly given the council’s lack of a five-year supply of housing land. 

For further details of the proposals see application references HS/FA/20/00959 and HS/FA/20/00715 on the Hastings Borough Council website.