Last autumn Hastings Borough Council (HBC) said it was just weeks away from signing a deal that would have paved the way for a high density housing development on the site of the old bathing pool in West St Leonards – more than six months on that deal has still not been signed.
‘Hastings Council has treated local campaigners who only want the best for their local area with high handed contempt…’
It September 2018 HBC announced that in County Gate/Sunley it had found a developer to finally do something with the site of the one-time bathing pool. Local people were outraged at the idea of building around 150 homes on the site in a complex of five, five storey blocks. Exact details of what is proposed have been hard to find and HBC has been criticised for its lack of openness on the whole issue. But we understand that in addition to housing there would also be parking with the proposal original proposal including cafés, restaurants and a slipway.
This week Hastings In Focus asked HBC what stage the process was at and we were told: “The lease agreement has yet to be finalised, having been disrupted by Coronavirus as resources have inevitably been focused on other immediate concerns.
“The completion of the West Marina agreement remains a priority and will be progressed.”
‘The site’s unique position… is far better suited… to encourage tourism into our town’
But Rob Lee who leads the opposition Conservative group on HBC says that’s not a good enough answer: “Blaming the Coronavirus for not signing a lease that should have been signed in October is disingenuous to say the least.
“The plans are poor, there is no support for them from the local community and the Labour leadership at Hastings Council has treated local campaigners who only want the best for their local area with the high handed contempt that sadly has become their trademark.”
Local campaigners say they believe HBC has ‘become transfixed’ with the issue of housing.
Local man, and campaigner against the plan for housing, Bryan Fisher says: “The local community has never seen such a need but, more importantly, does not see the Old Bathing Pool site as suitable for the high-rise blocks and housing in general.
“The site’s unique position as the last seafront area available for development is far better suited to a leisure-based purpose to encourage tourism into our town. On behalf of Save Our Bathing Site and the West Marina Organisation I urge HBC to use this opportunity to reconsider their plans.”