On Wednesday (February 4) Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee will be meeting to make a decision on the planning application for the Queensway Gateway road.
This proposed road would go right through the middle of the Hollington Valley local wildlife site. The sole purpose of the road is to allow the ‘opening up’ of the land for another business park. It is not about reducing traffic congestion: the traffic assessment submitted as part of the planning application shows that congestion would in most cases be worse with the road - which has three roundabouts incorporated into it - than without.
Hollington Valley is described in its designation report as ‘invaluable and irreplaceable’ and ‘one of the best wildlife habitats in the borough’. It contains rich meadowland, mature trees and hedges and important populations of dormice, reptiles and bats. The meadowland is described as ‘one of the few remaining and certainly one of the best examples of this habitat type left in the Borough’.
The council’s own environment manager has stated, in a report for the planning committee, that the proposed development - the road and the associated business park which will be the subject of a future planning application - would have a ‘significant and adverse impact’ on the site, such that it would be likely to be ‘rendered unviable as a biodiversity area’.
Would-be developer SeaChange has claimed that the scheme would support 1,370 jobs. However, SeaChange has in recent years developed two other sites just a stone’s throw away on Queensway. Enviro 21 created just 24. A huge area of land that was cleared for development has never been built on and is now for sale. North Queensway Innovation park has been cleared for development but never built on and what was an area of mature woodland is now nothing but an eyesore.
If we can’t fill the sites we’ve got, what possible justification can there be for completely destroying another of our green spaces for another speculative development? I hope the planning committee will refuse this application, and preserve this rich and biodiverse site for future generations.
Regeneration has to mean more than endless, unfillable, industrial estates.