Controversial proposals to extend an amusement park on Hastings seafront have been approved by town planners.
The proposals – for a range of works at the Stade Family Amusement Park – were granted planning permission by Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee at a meeting on Wednesday (March 6).
The approved works include adding an extra floor to the main park building, creating a new boathouse and jetty at the boating lake and extending the park’s boundaries by reducing the width of a footpath between the A259 and the beach.
Recommending the plans be approved, Cllr Mike Edwards (Con. – Ashdown) said: “This area of the town to my observation is tired, stale and in need of reinvigoration.
“That we have somebody here willing to invest in the town and these facilities in the town is, in my mind, a vote of confidence in the town and I think we should be grasping this with both hands.
“It is clearly going to be a significant investment and is going to provide a huge enhancement in the facilities available for visitors, particularly youngsters in the holiday time who need things to do.”
Before making a decision, the committee heard how the application was a duplicate of a previous item, which had been deferred due to concerns its description did not make it clear to a casual reader that replacing the footpath would extend the park’s boundaries.
This could have left the council’s decision open to a judicial review, councillors were told at a meeting in October.
Following the second deferral, however, the developer took the decision to appeal on the grounds of non-determination within the statutory time limit and resubmit the plans as a separate application.
The proposals had proven controversial with several residents, with planners receiving 31 letters of objection and a petition objecting to the scheme.
Petitioners were represented at the meeting by local resident Anne Scott, who voiced fears about the potential loss of open public space.
Objectors had also raised concerns about the restructuring of the footpath, with some raising concerns about the path being gated off and closed to the public.
Concerns about the safety – and perceived safety – of the altered footpath were also raised by ward councillor Dany Louise.
It was also acknowledged that the footpath had not been formally adopted as an official public right of way by East Sussex County Council.
However a spokesman for the developer said this would not be the case and that access would remain ‘unobstructed’. The developer’s spokesman, architect Bernard Baker, also suggested the inclusion of a condition to preserve the visibility along the path by keeping plants under control in an attempt to allay objectors’ concerns .
Following a short debate the proposals were granted planning permission with an additional condition relating to visibility of the footpath.
Huw Oxburgh , Local Democracy Reporting Service