Decision on 140 Hastings homes delayed due to traffic concerns

Artist's impression of the housing scheme at the former Harrow Lane playing field site. This is a sketch view of the site entrance from Harrow Lane.
Artist's impression of the housing scheme at the former Harrow Lane playing field site. This is a sketch view of the site entrance from Harrow Lane.

Planners have deferred plans to build 140 homes in Hastings due to concerns about traffic problems building up in The Ridge.

At a meeting yesterday (Wednesday August 15), Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee considered an application seeking outline planning permission to build up to 140 homes on the former Harrow Lane playing field site.

The proposals, on land owned by the council, had been recommended for approval but councillors expressed concerns over the impact of new housing creating more traffic in The Ridge, a road councillors said was already ‘badly congested’.

While the committee heard East Sussex Highways considered the potential impact  of new housing to be ‘acceptable’, councillors asked for further information on how this opinion had been reached.

Particular concerns were raised about access to the site via The Ridge, with councillors questioning if the proposed junction was appropriate given the level of traffic.

Following a debate Matthew Beaver (Con – West St Leonards) and Phil Scott (Lab – Wishing Tree), asked for the decision to be deferred until more information could be provided to the committee.

Cllr Beaver said: “As we are discussing access tonight, I wondered if we could defer it and get highways to come back to us and tell us why a mini-roundabout is not an available option, why this is the only option for it.

“That would give us more information about why [they consider] this is the only option available for us.

“It is not seeking to stop the application, I’m not opposing it, it is just as we are talking about access that seems to be the sticking point.”

Meanwhile Cllr Scott said he would not support the application ‘in its current form’, as he felt the access arrangements would lead to increase congestion on the road.

The committee agreed to defer the application to seek ‘clarification’ from East Sussex Highways about what options were available for access.

During the debate the committee heard that the site had been allocated for housing under the Hastings local plan.

The committee heard how the council had received 22 letters objecting to the scheme. Objectors concerns included the loss of green space and fears  the additional housing would put too much pressure on local infrastructure.

While several councillors also raised concerns about local infrastructure – particularly schools and doctors surgeries – officers informed the committee that no objections had been raised by the relevant organisations.

Officers warned that a decision based on ‘wrong information’ could leave the council open to a judicial review.

The application is expected to be considered again at a future planning committee meeting.