Why has Hastings Borough Council changed its policy over the Stade Amusement Park?

Your letters to the newspaper
Your letters to the newspaper

From: Anne Scott, Chair, Old Hastings, Preservation Society

Why has Hastings Borough Council changed its policy with regard to allowing the enclosed area of Stade Amusement Park to extend to the west?

There has been consistent public opposition to this since the 1970s to the extent of a demonstration march and turbulent public meeting which encouraged HBC to commission a report from the University of Greenwich who felt that ‘the key factor is that the whole area of the Stade does not lose its essential character’. This report also emphasised the importance of points of access to the beach and the open nature of the area around the boating lake.

Since the 1970s it has been a battle to maintain this open area to enhance the character of the conservation area. Council planning officers and planning inspectors have always resisted the expansion of the enclosed amusement park area westwards. This view has in the past been actively supported by Labour and Liberal/ Lib Dem councillors, and presumably the Foreshore Trust as land owner. What has changed? Where was the decision made to change this policy? Why has there been no public consultation over this major change in policy? Is not the Conservation Area as important now as then?

This is not an objection to amusements per se but to the loss of this open space (so designated by a council protection order), the wide footpath and the loss of council control over what type/size etc. these amusements might be. We are already to see a ferris wheel go up on the go-cart site because that is now designated an enclosed amusement park.

There are good planning reasons to refuse an expansion up to the boating lake.

Why are the Foreshore Trust feeling threatened by the prospect of judicial review and supporting the application? Why do the trustees ignore the views of the public for whom they hold the land in trust?

It is unfortunate that the 2017 application by Stade Developments has now gone to appeal, and been superseded by another which still seeks permission to enclose more land, thus giving HBC little control over what goes on there; which reduces the wide path to a narrow tortuous route from East Parade to a point on the east/west path where there is no direct access to the beach and which increases the size and foot print of the buildings adjacent to the current path within the enclosed area.

The new application reference is HS/FA/18/01009, as I write it has not been advertised or posted on site but if you care about the Boating Lake, the paths and its surroundings please write to HBC and sign the petition, available at Hastings History House or from ohpscontact@gmail.com.

The Christmas season is the usual time to try and pass unpopular plans so be warned.

However, Season’s Greetings from the Old Hastings Preservation Society.