Major St Leonards redevelopment of 151 houses and new supermarket approved
The site, which is currently occupied by a recently vacated office building known as Ashdown House, is to be redeveloped to include 151 new homes, a community center and a new supermarket building.
Among those who spoke in favor of the proposals was Ashdown ward councilor Mike Edwards (Con), who said: ‘As a layman I apply my own tests when looking at new candidacy. So I ask various questions.
“For example, number one, do we need more housing in this neighborhood? Well, I definitely think that in this borough we need more housing, that’s well established. We have not kept up with the momentum of housing development in the Hastings and St Leonards area.
“Question two; is this a suitable site for development? Well, as we were told, this is an empty brownfield site. It has been closed for several months. the [existing] The building was originally constructed in the 60’s and is now a large, outdated and redundant building. I suspect demolition is probably the best course of action for this.
He added: “Overall, after asking myself the questions, I answered in the affirmative, so I can say that I would like to see this continue and it has my support in the service. I hope they will get on it as soon as possible.
This view was shared by most members of the committee, although there were some objections raised by Sorrell Marlow-Eastwood (Con), who also represents the Ashdown area, around the total number of homes on offer.
Although other concerns were also raised about the program’s conflicts with local planning policies, the committee ultimately concluded that the benefits of the program would outweigh its disadvantages.
Phil Scott (Laboratory, Wishing Tree) said: “This is a site that has housed government buildings since the 1960s and has already served the region well providing employment for thousands of people.
“Now is the time for this to go. We are now seeing demand arise for desperately needed homes in the area. And we see some infrastructure attached to this particular development, which is very welcome.
“It’s not part of this application, I accept it, but from what I see, I’m very supportive.”
The regime’s conflicts with local planning policy included its relatively low number of affordable properties (only 17 of 151 houses). According to the plaintiffs, this is because the viability of the site is diminished by the high cost of demolition and other site constraints.
The 17 affordable units must be rented apartments, which must be supported by a registered social housing provider. This supplier will also take possession of the community center building.
In addition, applicants offer financial contributions to key infrastructure of over £183,000.
Despite the size of the submissions, public response to the program has been relatively subdued. According to the planning report, council received only 18 public comments on the proposals. Of these, 14 were objections, including one from representatives of supermarket chain Tesco.
At the meeting, planning officials said three more comments had been received since the report was released.
These opponents had raised concerns about the impact of the development on local infrastructure, in particular traffic on Sedlescombe Road North and Harrow Lane.
Tesco’s concerns centered on the building of the supermarket and the planning policies surrounding out-of-town stores.
For more information on the proposals, see application reference number HS/FA/21/00003 on the Hastings Borough Council website.