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The planning committee meeting was accompanied by protests outside the town hall (Photo: CHD).

Objectors dismayed at QGR road go-ahead

The Queensway Gateway Road was approved by Hastings Borough Council last week, despite widespread objections to SeaChange Sussex’s scheme. Nick Terdre reports.

The Queensway Gateway Road, which will link the A21 to the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road, is routed through the Hollington Valley Local Wildlife Site. The destruction which will be caused to this site was one of the major reasons cited by the 450 or so residents who lodged objections. Increased traffic congestion, noise and pollution, as well as loss of recreation space, were among other reasons.

At the planning committee meeting, the case for the road was put by head of planning Ray Crawford, who justified it on the grounds that it would provide access to a site, Hollington Valley, that has been designated for employment, as well as providing traffic relief.

Opposing the scheme, Dr Judy Clark argued that no need for using this land for employment had been established and that there was plenty of alternative employment space already in the pipeline.

While the SeaChange head, John Shaw, welcomed the decision – the road scheme is linked to yet another business park project promoted by his company – there were plenty of adverse comments.

The Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, Nick Perry, said, “Having been to the pre-consultation event at the Stade Hall, where environmental concerns were not addressed, I came with an open mind. I have to say that I did not find the case for the road at all compelling.”

Combe Haven Defenders also criticised the decision, not least for the short time – 10 minutes or so – devoted by the committee to discussing the issue. “At a time when we are facing catastrophic species loss and a huge decline in biodiversity, it is shocking that Hastings council took only minutes to grant planning permission for this road,” spokesperson Andrea Needham said.

“The purpose of the road is to build yet another industrial estate – and the fact that we can’t fill the ones we’ve got seems to be of no relevance whatsoever. Because of the planning committee’s shortsighted decision, Hollington Valley is destined to be lost under concrete. This is a tragedy for the environment and for local people.”

Planning decisions are not a numbers game, according to Cllr Richard Street, chair of the planning committee. “It is obviously important that we listen to the views of those affected by planning proposals, and we do,” he told HOT.

“But the planning system is not about numbers for and against a particular proposal, it is about the strength of the arguments put forward in planning terms. Members of the planning committee consider all representations and weigh up their relative merits before reaching a conclusion based on all of the information they have been provided with.”

 

See also Significant and adverse impact on wildlife site

Posted 09:50 Thursday, Feb 12, 2015 In: Home Ground

5 Comments


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  1. Quintus

    There was heavy security at that Planning Committee. Possibly it was a dress rehearsal for next month if Warren Cottage and the Bunker come up.

    To one particular question about possible breaches (re translocation of listed species I think), the Senior Planner replied in effect that Enforcement would pick them up. That was beyond threadbare — even by HBC standards. Look what Enforcement has done for Rocklands and the Country Park.

    Comment by Quintus — Thursday, Feb 19, 2015 @ 16:00

  2. DAR

    Pass the brown envelope! What a farce.

    Comment by DAR — Thursday, Feb 19, 2015 @ 12:01

  3. Chris Lewcock

    And, unless a strong case against it is made this may not be the last to go! There is a current planning application in by Amicus for 112 dwellings including County Council extra-care housing which, according to the developer’s own consultant, will cause long term damage to the South Saxons’ Wetlands SNCI. It also involves loss of the existing West St Leonards Community Centre and the South Saxon playing field without adequate replacement. There will be extra traffic onto Filsham Road. Town houses will fill the green gap on the Bexhill Road frontage and will block the views up Filsham Valley and of St Ethelburga’s Church. The site is liable to flooding, has incompletely assessed anthrax pits and “unacceptable” (the developer’s consultant!) methane seepage. Despite all these concerns ESCC and Amicus seem determined to push the proposals through. Clearly there is a need for extra care housing but why can’t these go on other ESCC land in the area? E.g. part of the former Grove School site – which doesn’t encroach on a wildlife area, isn’t underlain with anthrax and leaking methane and isn’t subject to flooding?

    Comment by Chris Lewcock — Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 @ 18:28

  4. Bill Ridley

    It would appear the planning committee are completely out of touch with public opinion, with so many sites still unoccupied how can they justify the destruction of more wildlife areas. With dubious planning also granted at Speckled Wood, Ore on the same night, it would seems they just want to cover the town in concrete, a sad day for Hastings.
    It would be interesting to know how many Councillors have a personal interest in the companies involved in these developments.

    Comment by Bill Ridley — Thursday, Feb 12, 2015 @ 12:48

  5. Zelly Restorick

    The planning process consultation appears to me to be merely an illusion of democracy. The public’s opinions and objections are simply counted, logged, filed and ignored.

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Thursday, Feb 12, 2015 @ 10:15

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