In last week’s letters page county councillor Godfrey Daniel knocked Nick Perry for criticising Hastings council for not pressing for enough social housing related to the local planning process and the link road.
County councillor Daniel will be aware, as a former long-standing chairman of Hastings planning committee that for planning purposes Hastings and Rother were included in the same housing market area for assessing overall housing need. A strategic assessment of the joint area was made in June, 2013.
This identified a need for 13,041 new homes in the period 2011-28, broken down into 6,178 new homes in Rother and 6,863 new homes in Hastings.
This information was fed into both the Hastings and Rother Local Plans which were being undertaken at the time.
Hastings found there wasn’t land enough in Hastings to meet the need, resulting in a shortfall of 1,700 odd homes.
Rother council was asked but refused to help meet that shortfall.
It would have been open to Hastings council to challenge that view in front of the independent inspector at the Rother local plan inquiry.
Hastings chose not to do so.
The inspector might well have decided that more land should be allocated to meet Hastings needs.
We can’t know what the outcome would have been since Hastings didn’t try.
Councillor Daniel suggests that local plans don’t cover the type of housing.
However, as he must also well know, Hastings local plan includes detailed policies seeking a proportion of social housing or payments towards social housing in new residential development.
It might also have been possible for Hastings council to make representations at the Rother plan inquiry seeking nomination rights to a proportion of any new social housing development in that district.
Again, we can’t be sure what might have been agreed.
What seems certain is that Hastings didn’t turn up at the inquiry to put the case.
The largest single area of new housing in Rother is in north-east Bexhill associated with the link road.
One of the promises when the link road was being promoted was that the associated new housing would be for the people of both Bexhill and Hastings.
However, it is very difficult to see how the social housing in the new estates will directly serve needy Hastings residents unless Hastings council had obtained nomination rights to some agreed proportion of them.
As explained above, and as Nick Perry rightly pointed out in the article which Mr Daniel attacks, Hastings Council did not fight when it might have done to try to achieve this.
Hastings and Rye Liberal Democrats
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