While many people celebrated the news that the Hastings Harbour Quarter Company has withdrawn its proposal for a harbour and marina complex at the eastern end of Hastings’ seafront the story might not have reached its end – yet!
Writing in his monthly report for Hastings Borough Council (HBC), council leader Peter Chowney says: “The developers have said that they’re looking at a new, completely different sort of scheme. We’ll await that with interest – we’ll continue to look at any proposals put forward by developers, community groups, and others across the borough, if they’re beneficial, feasible, and fully-funded.”
Mr Chowney explains the developers who had come up with the concept to build a marina to the east of Rock-a-Nore withdrew the proposal because they could not raise the funding to be able to carry out the necessary feasibility studies.
He explains that HBC had given the proposed developers some clear red lines that could not be crossed if the council was to consider giving its support to any scheme, these were:
- The scheme and its access routes must not damage the character or physical appearance of The Stade;
- The scheme must protect and enhance the Hastings Fishery, as well as other businesses and attractions on the Stade;
- At least 30 per cent of the housing must be affordable, 25 per cent of the housing must be social rented housing;
- The scheme must include substantial sustainable energy generation, aiming to be carbon neutral;
- All car parking lost to the scheme must be replaced.
Mr Chowney says: “Officially, the red lines were not the reason why the proposal was withdrawn, although they would have affected the overall costs and feasibility of any proposed scheme. It’s important to note though that no actual scheme was ever put forward, it was never anything more than a concept.
“I’d also made it clear that I couldn’t support a scheme that didn’t have the support of the Hastings Fishery, and discussions the developers had with fishery representatives made it clear that was going to be difficult. It would be wrong, however, to label the Hastings Fishery as opposing any changes – they would not have lasted 1,000 years if they had not been prepared to adapt to changing circumstances. But no development in that area could ever be supported if it was a threat to the beach-launched fleet.”
HBC has come under attack in from certain parts of the town for even looking at the proposal in the first place but Mr Chowney points out: “…the council can’t stop developers coming forward with schemes, and ultimately HBC has to deal with any proposals at the development control stage in the same way as any other planning application, whether we support the principle or not.”