Forum: good or bad idea?

THE news in the Observer that there will be a new Forum to give residents a say on developments (Observer, January 14) is not the answer to controversial planning applications.

This forum will do nothing to halt inappropriate planning applications and decisions.

At the present time there are several approaches for objecting to planning applications - objectors can write to the council, they can present petitions and they can conduct a five minute speech at planning committee meetings to highlight residents’ concerns.

To date none of the above has produced satisfactory results.

A forum is merely window dressing to a foregone conclusion. Nothing will change.

As demonstrated at the recent planning application for a development at Bexhill Road it is clear that planning committee members and officers in the planning department simply do not listen to residents’ objections.

For Councillor Godfrey Daniel to publicly declare that the badger expert Don Wise is talking nonsense is not only extremely rude, it is a prime example of the arrogant attitude displayed by the chairman of the planning committee.

Mr Wise is correct in his claims that badgers are being starved off pieces of land ear-marked for development.

Virtually every proposed development in recent times will cause untold suffering to protected wildlife.

Robsack Meadow, the Archery Ground, the convent in Magdalane Road, Hawthorn Road, St Saviour’s Road, the site at Ore and many other sites are all home not only to legally protected species but also to European protected species.

Cllr Daniel states that appropriate surveys are required whenever developments will impact on ecology and wildlife.

However, many of these ecologoical surveys omit legally required information.

The head of planning has a duty to ensure that all the facts are presented to the planning committee and it appears that this is not happening.

A complete overhaul of the planning department here in Hastings is the only solution to a most unsatisfactory situation.


Whittlewood Close,

St Leonards