Council refutes trust’s claims

Re: Martin Newbold’s letter (Observer 3), the council has now submitted its plan for examination.

Mr Newbold has made representations on it to the inspector appointed to examine the pla. We understand that Mr Newbold has also asked to appear at the examination, when he will be able to clarify his objections to the plan and expand upon any representations that he has made.

We strongly refute that any of Mr Newbold’s representations have been ‘manipulated to a different nomenclature’. The council’s submitted documentation refers to any representations made by reference to the relevant policy number as they appear in the submitted plan and not by the local name adopted by Mr Newbold of ‘Speckled Wood’.

This approach is consistent with that taken by many local authorities in dealing with such matters and helps the inspector in his consideration of matters. This process of summarising comments and the availability to view these online has already been explained to Mr Newbold and to the Friends of Speckled Wood Management Trust in correspondence earlier this summer, when the council asked him to confirm that his views had been correctly recorded.

Our submitted summary of comments received in respect of the site allocations proposed refers to the fact that ‘there is a high level of opposition to the development of these sites for housing’. We consider this to be a fair and reasonable summary of the representations we have received.

We are also able to confirm that representations on these sites were submitted to the council in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The 2012 representations were dealt with in drafting the 2013 plan.

We are surprised that Mr Newbold is suggesting that the trust he represents was not made aware of this 2013 consultation.

The plan and its supporting documents were widely advertised in 2013 and were available for inspection at the Hastings Information Centre, Hastings Library, Ore Library and Hollington library when representations on the plan were invited during a twelve week consultation period from January 21, 2013 to April 15, 2013. An advert was placed in the Hastings Observer on January 18, 2013 which clearly advised all of this consultation and invited representations upon the plan.

With regards to Mr Newbold’s final point it is our understanding that the inspector will consider those representations made in 2013 and 2014 in addition to those made in response to subsequent consultation exercises.

It is precisely for this reason that the council has submitted these representations to him.

Kevin Boorman

Head of communications and marketing

Hastings Borough Council