THE landslip scandal at Undercliff is one symptom of a much larger problem.
What’s wrong with planning in Hastings? Here are some aspects:
The relentless infill, usually with blocks of pinched and ugly flats. Instances include Dane Road, Amherst Road, West Ascent, The Ridge, Archery Road, Southwater, Horntye, St Margaret’s Road, Seaside Road, St Saviour’s Road (and in prospect St Johns Road, beside Warrior Square station). This does permanent damage to the local spirit of place (and sense of space).
The endless delays. For years, the Archery Ground and the Convent applications have been about to come to the planning committee.
They still haven’t (and there’s still no conservation officer’s report on the convent). Why do we have this system?
Unheard applications should be withdrawn after six months — for another six months or longer. Local residents should not have to live from monthly agenda to monthly agenda.
The quality of new design. The planners and councillors seem unduly indulgent of developers with low standards.
Have there been any buildings of excellence built here since 1945? I can’t think of any, despite extensive searching.
Plenty of very fine buildings have been lost.
This borough lacks civic pride — and yet it has distinction and accomplishment that other towns (Worthing or Bexhill, say) would sell their proverbial grannies to achieve.
We need councillors and officers in the town hall who take pride in Hastings and St Leonards, and who realise that not all construction is regeneration.
Standards should be driven up, not down — but the present planning committee gives little hope.