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Looking down Archery Ground to the villas of Archery Terrace at the south end.

Looking down Archery Ground to the villas of Archery Terrace at the south end.

Early 2017 start to Archery Ground construction

Following approval for the changes it requested to the Archery Ground planning permission, developer Gemselect says it expects to be ready to start construction in about six months’ time and have the first houses ready for occupation after another two and a half years. Nick Terdre reports.

The variations were passed by the local council’s planning committee in late July by a vote of seven to three. “We’re pleased that it’s all finally approved after 18 months,” Gemselect director Gordon Ritchie told HOT. “We’re now waiting for the planning permission to be formally issued and other pre-commencement approvals to be given, and then we’ll be ready to start work on site – it should take about six months.

“The first houses should be ready for occupation in about two and a half years after that. Completing the whole project will take at least three years. We will probably employ around 150 people at peak. Ninety per cent of our workforce comes from within five to six miles of Hastings.”

So construction can be expected to start in early 2017 and occupation should begin in the second half of 2019.

Old college buildings at the bottom of West Hill Road.

Old college buildings at the bottom of West Hill Road.

The land is partly owned by Gemselect and partly by housing association Orbit Homes, which was also party to the application. Demolition on the main site, where the main college building stood, was completed earlier this year; there is also a small area lying between Quarry Hill and the bottom of West Hill Road where the old buildings are still standing.

Work is already under way, in association with the council’s conservation department, to clear out debris from the Victorian villas in Archery Terrace at the south end of the site; these were designed by Decimus Burton and are Grade II listed. This includes the removal of a textured asbestos coating on the ceiling, Mr Ritchie said.

According to the planning department report to the planning committee, 51 letters of objection were received, though the committee’s draft minutes record that more had subsequently arrived. Much of the criticism focused on the “watering-down” of the quality of the development following Gemselect and Orbit’s decision to increase the proportion of affordable housing to 60% from 21.5% under the original planning permission (which as the committee report notes, was considered by the then applicant, Gladedale, to be the maximum that could be achieved).

Removal of debris and an asbestos coating is underway in the villas.

Removal of debris and an asbestos coating is underway in the villas.

The number of housing units remains unchanged, at 121, which breaks down into 43 new houses, 54 new flats and 24 apartments in the villas. There will also be 182 car parking spaces.

The main variations now approved comprise the removal of all roof terraces and two of the balconies from the affordable housing, the use of uPVC windows instead of aluminium in the affordable flats, a reduction in the height of building A, the replacement of a green roof with a flat roof on building E, the removal of one lift and alterations to the steps leading up to building D. Originally Gemselect and Orbit had sought to remove the footbridge providing an exit from the north end of the site to Highland Gardens but withdrew this proposal.

Some of these changes, the committee report admits, were “less than positive,” but the increased proportion of affordable housing justified accepting them. For the same reason the committee decided that no Section 106 payment towards social spending related to the development needed to be made; the report had recommended a sum of £36,654.


Posted 16:49 Wednesday, Aug 17, 2016 In: Home Ground


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. barney

    How is it that a resident can spot the errors in the reports and yet the planning committee see nothing amiss? Evidence surely that planning committee members are not qualified to make important and far reaching decisions?

    Comment by barney — Saturday, Aug 27, 2016 @ 09:16

  2. Janette Gallini

    The complexities of the case, which the senior planner had just two months to absorb [see Bernard McGinley’s excellent recent article] are exemplified by the fact that even after it has been approved, the text of the amendments is incorrect. You report that ‘ two of the balconies from the affordable housing,’ are to be removed – plans show that this is in fact four, two on each side of the facade of block B; ‘a reduction in the height of building A’ which might refer to the proposal withdrawn earlier this year to remove an entire section of block A, or to the intention to truncate the stair towers of both blocks A and B; and ‘the removal of one lift’ which does refer to the withdrawn proposal,

    It is anyone’s guess as to what will actually appear given developers’ fondness for ‘non-material’amendments once they have got the go-ahead, and the Council’s seeming impotence or unwillingness to rein them in.

    Comment by Janette Gallini — Thursday, Aug 18, 2016 @ 01:44

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