There is a fear the plans to build 192 new homes at Bulverhythe is already a ‘done deal’.
On Wednesday Bexhill Road became a sea of yellow and red signs and posters opposing Hasting Borough Council’s (HBC) plans to build houses on the recreation ground – plans that were only submitted for approval three weeks ago – then at a full council meeting on Wednesday night Councillor Leader Kim Forward told councillors that in the coming year HBC was ‘committed’ to provide the 192 new homes at Bulverhythe.
Councillor Matthew Beaver, who represents the area where the development is planned said he felt the council was behaving in a ‘direspectful’ way towards local people and added: “The inference is that the Bulverhythe Rec site is a done deal.”
This week Councillor Beaver, along with Councillor Karl Beaney who also represents the area, drew their battle lines in what is set to be a hard fought local campaign of opposition to the council’s proposals.
Mr Beaver says: “Despite there being near unanimous opposition by the residents of Bexhill Road, the Labour run administration at HBC has put in the planning application for 192 homes on Bulverhythe Rec.
“Even though there are still some fundamental and important questions still not answered, even though there are statements being put forward with, as yet, no proof to back them up, even though a major green space will be concreted over, the plans have gone in.”
Initially the site at Bulverhythe was only ever thought of as a possible location for housing when discussions were taking place about the proposed Sports Village. As a consequence of that development, housing would have needed to be built there to help fund it. The site had not previously been considered for housing due to the potential flooding issues in the area.
Mr Beaver says: Let’s not beat around the bush about this site, it is a flood plain and over the past few months has flooded a number of times according to local residents – who have the proof to show this was the case.
“This is only going ahead due to a £7 million grant ‘to remove barriers to develop the site’ but this money could have been much better spent on sites that already have planning permission, are not on a flood plain and have lain dormant for many years.”
Councillor Andy Batsford HBC’s lead member for housing says the application submitted follows, “extensive consultation with local residents and wider stakeholders”. He also stresses the desperate need for new housing across the town with almost 1,700 people on the waiting list for a home.
Councillor Beaney says: “The question residents are asking is what was the point of the consultation if this labour run administration is simply not going to listen to them – by submitting the application it has proven it does not want to listen.
“This is not about whether the homes are built using modern methods of construction, this is not about minimising the carbon footprint as the lead member would like us to believe, this is simply about residents not wanting the homes built there in the first place.
“What is even more disappointing for residents is that at a time when the current local plan is out for consultation, this application has been submitted despite the overwhelming opposition to it.
“While we all know we need more housing, the Labour run administration should be concentrating more on bringing forward sites that already have planning permission and stop trying to build over every green space it can find.”
Mr Beaver concludes: “It is now time for residents not only to be listened to but also to be heard.”
A petition has been set up at https://www.change.org/p/hastings-borough-council-stop-190-homes-at-bulverhythe-in-combe-valley-countryside-park?recruiter=980641851&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&recruited_by_id=d6d0bba0-9cdd-11e9-8b35-7d75bdd06738
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