Hastings Green Party calls for full council scrutiny of SeaChange Sussex

Hastings Green Party has called on Hastings Borough Council (HBC) to properly scrutinise the work of regeneration company SeaChange Sussex.

A representative from Hastings Council sits on the board of SeaChange, along with representatives from Rother District and East Sussex County Councils. According to Green councillor Julia Hilton not one of the councils has ever scrutinised SeaChange she says: “It is well past time that our local councils took a long hard look at this company, rather than simply approving every project without question”.

Sussex Wildlife Trust, which leases Marline Valley SSSI from Hastings Borough Council, has also condemned SeaChange, having put in a strongly-worded objection to the company’s plans to build a new business park on its North Queensway site. SWT raised concerns about ancient woodland, biodiversity, pollution of the SSSI, and the impact of the development on bats. You can read the full objection here.

Natural England also put in a damning comment on SeaChange’s North Queensway plans, raising concerns about building in the plot nearest the SSSI, which it has told SeaChange multiple times to avoid. It is concerned about the 25 per cent loss of biodiversity, with no mitigation planned. It says the buffer zone between parts of the development and nearby ancient woodland is insufficient, and the author of the report is clearly agitated, stating repeatedly that Natural England has advised SeaChange about all these issues before. Natural England has asked SeaChange to supply more information, and says that without it, it ‘may need to object’ to the application.

SeaChange’s application for planning permission for North Queensway includes not only speculative units, but also a car showroom. This is the replacement for Bartlett’s SEAT, which is currently situated on the route of the Queensway Gateway road, preventing its completion.

Greens believe that by including te development of the showroom in this application, SeaChange is putting extra pressure on the planning committee to pass it, as they will be aware that until the new car showroom is built the Queensway Gateway Road, now five years behind schedule, cannot be completed.

SeaChange already has permission for the car showroom. This was granted in January 2019 and is valid until January 2022. As long as SeaChange starts even minimal work before that date, the permission will remain valid. Hastimgs Gren Party believes rolling the car showroom application into the wider business park is unnecessary.

One thought on “Hastings Green Party calls for full council scrutiny of SeaChange Sussex

  1. Cllr Hilton and the local Greens Party are absolutely correct in their call for scrutiny of SeaChange a cover name for East Sussex Energy Infrastructure & Development Ltd. This set up is somewhat of a strange set up that is not accountable or transparent to the public being a private limited company. Yet has had numerous directors, currently eleven, and always a Hastings Labour councillor as one. Right now Cllr Kim Forward along with ten other names most people will never heard of. She took over from Cllr Chowney.
    And we know as with this Marline Wood the land was handed over to “Seachange” some years back by HBC. As they have with other sites.
    Also running along is the previous name of SeaSpace another company set up through councillors under the guise of Hastings & Bexhill Renaissance Ltd. Cllr Chowney is one of seven directors. What does this company do ? Being private companies they are not subject to FOI requests. They don’t have to tell you anything. The set up is hardly healthy when you see how the council work very close – to close with these companies.
    The first Queensway /Marline Wood development site was strongly objected to but it was hardly going get refused when you look at the connections between HBC and this set up. As no doubt will happen with this current application.
    Mention of the Queensway Gateway Road is beyond belief when you look at the management of this project. Any real company handling that would be in bankruptcy by now. Is it now seven years now. But again a mystery on how a private company can get ESCC to issue Compulsory Purchase Orders on property for their behalf.
    Yes “scrutiny” is very much needed here !

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