‘Serious concerns’ raised over Hastings harbour proposals

An initial concept diagram of the Hastings Harbour Quarter. Image copyright Michael Drain Architects Ltd. SUS-170109-092237001
An initial concept diagram of the Hastings Harbour Quarter. Image copyright Michael Drain Architects Ltd. SUS-170109-092237001

Political groups have criticised plans to develop a harbour in the town.

Hastings Green Party (HGP) fears the Harbour Quarter development will cause serious environmental damage, increase traffic and not benefit the local community.

The potential scheme, which was unveiled last month, would include a working marina and more than 1,300 new houses at the eastern end of the seafront.

Julia Hilton, HGP spokesman, said: “We recognise Hastings needs good quality investment in affordable housing, community energy, public transport and other facilities, but any development has to be in the right place and on the right scale. It must also provide value for money and be environmentally sustainable, as well as putting the needs of our community uppermost. At first sight, the current marina proposal does not seem to pass these vital tests and we have serious concerns about whether it is an appropriate development.”

Hastings Liberal Democrats said they were concerned the marina would never be built, but millions of pounds would be spent in arriving at that conclusion.

They said they feared it would become like London’s ill-fated Green Bridge, where an estimated £37 million was spent on the feasibility of the project before it was dropped.

Council leader Peter Chowney said: “Hastings has a desperate shortage of both housing and decent jobs. We will need more than 7,000 new homes over the next 15 years. Our local plan provides for only half that number, because there is so little space for new homes.

“The harbour development could provide 1,300 additional homes that aren’t already in our plan, including social rented and shared ownership housing for more than a thousand people in the greatest housing need. It could provide 500 new jobs, many of them in skilled engineering trades with apprenticeships linked to local young people. It could significantly boost the visitor economy and provide all this with a zero carbon footprint, generating all the energy it uses by sustainable means.

“At the moment, none of that is certain. We need further investigation to see if the scheme can deliver what our town needs in terms of housing and jobs, and whether it’s even technically possible. But it would be reckless and irresponsible to turn it down flat.”