Consultation on the future of town centre launches in July

New leisure facilities, a purpose built theatre plus housing, open space and new retail areas are just some of the items on the wish list as Hastings Borough Council (HBC) prepares to launch a three month consultation process on its Area Action Plan (AAP) for the town centre and ‘Bohemia Quarter’.

The consultation process is set to begin on July 2nd with HBC setting out its vision  for the future of these areas of the town. When HBC’s cabinet met on June 4th, the consultation version of the AAP was agreed. Once approved, something unlikely to happen before the end of 2019 it will form an addition to Hastings Local Plan which was approved four years ago.

The action plan identifies areas of land within the town centre and Bohemia Quarter and proposes a variety of uses for them, council leader Peter Chowney explaoned: “It doesn’t mean the areas identified for different purposes will actually happen, as most of them are privately owned, but the action plan forms a set of policies that any planning application within the area would have to meet. A large part of the land in the area under consideration is owned by HBC including White Rock Gardens and the buildings in it, White Rock Theatre, the museum, the Travelodge hotel and Summerfields Leisure Centre and an area of land extending from the seafront to Summerfield Woods.

“The AAP will establish planning policies that support the potential redevelopment of the White Rock Gardens and Bohemia Quarter which could include refreshed gardens and open spaces, a new leisure centre, housing, and a new performance venue. The consultation process is intended to engage the public and get their views on the plans and will include drop-in sessions and workshops as well as consultation with community groups and businesses in the area. There will also be an online consultation.

White Rock from pier
On the wish list of the area action plans is a new ‘performance venue’ the White Rock was recently described as ‘not fit for purpose’.

“Once the consultation is complete the plan will go to full council for approval and it will then be the subject of examination by a planning inspector, with the final plan eventually adopted in December 2019.”

Hastings Town Centre and Bohemia has been identified by HBC as critical to the continued social, economic and cultural regeneration of the borough. It is seen as capable of accommodating the homes as well as jobs and services that are needed to meet local needs and drive future economic growth. The area provides the town’s principal focus for retail, employment, education, leisure, culture and tourism and also faces a number of social, economic and environmental challenges. The AAP looks to address those issues and to hopefully unlock what has been described as ‘the significant untapped potential’ of the area.

A new leisure centre also forms part of the plans included in the draft version of the area action plan.

The development of an AAP covering Hastings Town Centre and Bohemia will form the third and final part of the local plan and forms part of the Hastings Planning Strategy (HPS) that sets out the high level strategic vision, policies and overall development numbers. The AAP, once adopted, will take forward the objectives and aspirations of the planning strategy and will provide a framework for development and investment in the town centre and Bohemia.

The actual delivery of action plan is highly dependent on the creation of a number of  partnerships and depends too on financial viability and funding being available with HBC, as the planning authority, having a pivotal role to play in the transformation of the area.

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 15.16.41
The future of the area within the thick black line is under consideration in the area action plan.

The action plan will cover the period up to 2033 and reflects the latest retails needs assessment

Key issues to be identified include

  • New employment and business opportunities
  • New and improved leisure and cultural facilities
  • New high quality homes
  • Creating higher visitor numbers
  • Developing a positive perception of Hastings as a place to visit and invest in

Some of the key items to be included in the action plan are

  • In the region of 12,500 sq metres of floorspace within or adjoining the primary shopping area
  • In the region of 3,500 sq metres of convenience goods floorspace
  • New housing providing a range of housing types and tenures as part of mixed use development schemes
  • New and improved leisure and cultural facilities
  • New and improved public spaces and pedestrian/cycle links
  • Hotels and visitor facilities
  • Employment and education space including workspace for creative industries
  • Opportunities for cafés and restaurants adjoining the primary shopping area and wider seafront/Bohemia area


3 thoughts on “Consultation on the future of town centre launches in July

  1. Hastings needs to become a destination place that visitors want to attend, we should focus much heavier on the ‘Birthplace of Television ‘ element, we should also investigate all year round attractions such as an indoor ‘Eden Project ‘ type attraction aimed at all ages.
    We should look into an Olympic standard climbing wall which would be the first of its kind in the whole of the South East of England, a zip line facility, continued promotion of 1066 and the Battle of Hastings (known globally), we have so much potential and many future opportunities- so let’s grab them while we can.

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