Development must bring positive impact to area

‘Think again’ is the message that Councillor John Rankin hopes members of Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee will listen to on Wednesday night.

Mr Rankin is concerned that if councillors agree an access plan for a site just off Harrow Lane it will not just lead to road safety issues but to increased levels of congestion in an area of the town where traffic congestion is already a major issue.

On Wednesday night members of HBC’s planning committee will consider an application to approve a simple access to a site at Harrow Lane Playing Fields. There is already outline planning permission for 140 new homes on the 4.75ha site and when the application relating to access came up for discussion last month Mr Rankin asked officials to take another look and suggested that a mini-roundabout could be a safer solution than a simple ‘T’-junction.

The existing lane which will one day provide access to a site containing 140 mainly three and four bedroomed homes.

He is now concerned that officials at East Sussex County Council (ESCC) have not looked at his concerns in sufficient detail and points out that since the last meeting of the planning committee in August there simply hasn’t been enough time to do a proper feasibility study into the provision of a mini-roundabout at the site.

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The site under discussion

The area of land under discussion on Wednesday night is just one of three adjacent sites where there are proposals to build almost 400 new homes in total and yet according to Mr Rankin engineers at ESCC say those additional homes will have ‘no impact’ on traffic flows along The Ridge. But Mr Rankin points out that the site is close to the Conquest Hospital which is the biggest travel to work destination in the entire borough and the potential addition of at least another 400 cars going to and from the new houses at peak times simply must have a negative impact as far as congestion is concerned.

“I need to make clear that I’m not against the scheme, far from it, but the problem is that with the access that is proposed I fear it will have a very negative impact on the area,” he says. Existing traffic issues in the area was a big issue on the doorstep when he was campaigning in the Hastings Borough Council elections in the spring.

The playing fields as they are today. Planners want all hedge lines and trees on the boundary of the site to remain as they are.

His other concern is related to parking, he points out that the outline plans for the housing development allow for only 0.3 visitor parking spaces per house on the site, that, he says, will inevitably mean visitors cars spilling out on to Harrow Lane to find somewhere to park. With the Conquest Hospital so close by there is already an issue with on street parking in the area as staff and visitors unable to find a space in the hospital car park are forced to park in neighbouring streets leading to traffic congestion and frustration. Mr Rankin says 80 per cent of his council work in his own Conquest ward relates to parking issues in the area.

“It’s really important for the future of our town and for the future of the people who live and work in and around he area that this development is carried out properly,” says Mr Rankin.

  • Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee meets at 6pm on Wednesday September 12th at Muriel Matters House, follow the link below to see the full details of the application relating to the story above and to see all the other issues that will be discussed on Wednesday. Members of the public are entitled to attend meetings of the planning committee

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