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Hastings Harbour Proposal to be withdrawn

On Friday 21 September, the Green Party announced that the withdrawal of the Harbour Proposal by the Hastings Harbour Quarter Company will be discussed by Hastings Borough Council at the Cabinet Meeting at 6pm on Monday October 1st at Muriel Matters House. HOT’s Chandra Masoliver examines the details of the Council’s decision.

As readers of HOT will be aware from previous harbour articles, many groups and individuals have raised knowledgeable and heart-felt objections to the proposed development at Rock a Nore. The proposal was to build a marina within a new harbour wall for some six hundred berths, one thousand three hundred houses, a hotel, a leisure facility, a new venue for events – and permanent jobs for five hundred to a thousand people.

Amongst the critics of the proposal was the Green Party, who made the issue part of their Manifesto for the local borough elections held in May this year – and in July they presented a petition to Hastings Borough Council (HBC) objecting to the proposal.

Julia Hilton, Green Party spokesperson, said: “We are delighted to hear that the incredibly destructive proposal for a marina at Rock a Nore has been withdrawn. We are pleased to have been able to give a voice to local people’s concerns and will continue to be vigilant in watching out for any new proposals that may come forward. We will be presenting our case to HBC on Monday 1 October for an alternative bottom-up approach to creating a vision for this town – that listens and works with the huge creativity and energy of our local community, not top-down from secretive developers working behind closed doors. We encourage members of the public to attend to show their support and celebrate the good news for now.”

The Green Party will be holding a celebration at 7pm after the Cabinet meeting.

In their Cabinet Report, HBC announced their purpose was to respond to a petition signed by local residents and submitted by Julia Hilton on behalf of Hastings Green Party.

Two Recommendations followed:

1.    ‘Note the initial marina proposal that was the subject of the petition is being withdrawn by the sponsor.’

2.    ‘Confirm that the Council will consider any further proposed developments for the Stade area as and when they arise, taking into account their feasibility, environmental sustainability, the economic and social benefits to Hastings, and contribution to achieving the council’s overall priorities.’

The second recommendation has been seen by some people as a withdrawal, a stay of execution, or a warning of possible future developments to the area. So it will be interesting to witness the outcome of the Cabinet meeting – and to keep a close eye out for any future plans.

Chandra Masoliver will be reporting on the Cabinet meeting. She has posted a series of articles in Hastings Online Times on the issue of the proposed harbour development: Please HOT Search: ‘Hastings Harbour’ or ‘Chandra Masoliver’.

Posted 20:15 Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 In: Home Ground

21 Comments


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  1. Mr Hippolyte Grigg

    I’m pleased that this plan has been abandoned for now. This crazy council and it’s planners seem to be living in another world. So much for Love Hastings Ltd!

    Comment by Mr Hippolyte Grigg — Monday, Oct 1, 2018 @ 12:45

  2. Ms.Doubtfire

    Councillor Pete’s ‘initial breathless enthusiam’ for this scheme has been scuppered – he has been hoist by his own petard! About time too.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 @ 12:37

  3. Julia Hilton

    If anyone wants to join the Green Party in a celebratory drink, we will be at the Jenny Lind on Monday 1 October after the presentation to the cabinet. We should be there around 6.45 pm.

    Comment by Julia Hilton — Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018 @ 16:15

  4. DAR

    Nice one. However, it seems the only thing that stops such madness from the Labour-dominated HBC is the prospect of electoral defeat. I hope those in wards serving The Ridge/Harrow Lane area will bear this in mind at the next local election now that an outline planning application has been approved to build an inappropriate development on the publicly-owned Harrow Lane Playing Fields.

    Comment by DAR — Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018 @ 09:41

  5. Bolshie

    Positive news for once. Well done to those who put so much effort into this idea that would have been a “Blot on the Landscape,” and shoreline of course.

    And well done to the Hottie for the coverage on this and several other articles you would never get with the Hastings Observer. If you want coverage in detail, follow ups and good research into stories it is right here!
    By the way talking about money spent of this grandiose dream and mention of this expensive fountain in the pipeline. Lets not forget HBC’s shopping spree of buying two retail sites and Muriel’s House totalling over a cool £22m. Like to know where that money came from and who in the council came up with the idea of these purchases.

    Comment by Bolshie — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 17:36

  6. Chris Hurrell

    This is great news. Thanks to Chandra and the HOTTIE for having covered the issues in depth and so well.

    The developers withdrawal is to be welcomed but it is unclear why they have withdrawn. Could it be because meetings with Regional National Bodies made it clear that they would not be funded? The developers were clearly looking for public funding to underwrite the risks whilst they took the profits.

    I am not certain we have heard the last of similar hare-brained schemes. I see no real evidence that HBC have learnt anything from the experience. The second part of the Cabinet briefing seems to still be in favour of future schemes to “develop” the area.

    I love the way that the local Labour party are now rewriting the story of the Marina. Councillor Batsford has recently posted on Facebook:

    “yes you can read the report which clearly shows that the solid red lines Peter Chowney and the Labour council set the developers were the reasons the Harbour project was withdrawn. we always welcome investment into Hastings but would never except a development that would ruin our town.”

    “…as I said when any large investor approaches the council we have to look at the offer, then tell them our response which were the red lines Peter Chowney explained. we clearly could not make the project work because of them and withdrew. also both Labour candidates and now councillors for old town stood on a platform of being against the project.”

    Local Labour are claiming that their “strict” redlines are the reason the developers withdrew.

    I don’t accept this narrative , Councillor Chowney’s breathless enthusiasm and the unanimous vote to proceed the project to the next stage contradict this new line.

    I think that the Greens success in the old town has forced the party into a u turn. However no lessons seem to have been learnt by the party – they seem to think that just a quick rewrite of history will make everything alright again.

    Let’s hope that a new version of the scheme is not submitted. I wonder how much public money has been wasted to date on this scheme? HBC have been involved for the last 3 years (they are unable to tell us how much time and money has been spent) and SELEP and central government have also been involved.

    I cannot forget Cllr Chowney’s initial breathless enthusiasm for this project and the nonsensical statements he made concerning long shore drift and a tunnel through the cliffs. It appears that the local Labour party made a rapid u turn once it became aware of the electoral damage this project was causing them. Maybe next time such a project is proposed the ruling Labour party will consult with the public prior to spending unknown amounts of officer time and voting in favour of taking the project to the next phase?

    Comment by Chris Hurrell — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 14:44

  7. Michael Madden

    Good information from you again Chandra.

    What is so amazing to hear now is that some Labour councillors, like Andrew Batsford for instance, now claim that the Marina proposal has been withdrawn not because of the Greens’ solid Green lines, but because of the council’s “solid red lines”, when in fact all councillors, including Peter chowney, voted unanimously in favour. They will claim that they voiced certain qualifying conditions, but they were a very pale blue, rather than red.

    Although I have always voted Labour, I have to say that their record on the preservation of environmental, historical and natural assets has been as dismal as the Tories and they would help their own prospects if they became a little more Green and less Red on such issues.

    The problem they have is that the traditional Labour position on such issues is that they are only of concern to the “bourgeoisie”, and yet, as has been shown in this case, that is very far from the truth.

    Comment by Michael Madden — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 12:52

  8. Ms.Doubtfire

    In response to JB Knight’s comments – well said indeed – and what about the 2000 homes which have planning consent but remain unbuilt? And which Cllr. Peter Chowney raised in his recent Manifesto – where are all these empty sites which have received planning consent from this council?? How long can they remain unbuilt?

    And what about the amazing sum set aside for the ‘restoration of the White Rock fountain’? Nearly £200k – this council needs to put its house in order before it starts flashing money around for unnecessary projects. £200k for a fountain and nothing for public loos…???? And this fountain restoration is only a fraction of what this mad hatters tea party of a council have planned for the area…little wonder they are considering selling off ancient Hawaiian artefacts from the Hastings Museum.

    And to all those who advocate development of the old bathing pool site – have you considered why this site has remained undeveloped for so many decades? It is because of the tankage system beneath this site which makes any above ground development a very costly endeavour. If this was an easy site to develop it would have been snapped up by one of the usual developers who seem to get their hands on any piece of vacant land.

    And you have been warned – as Bernard McGinley says – ‘the Marina is undead’.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 11:43

  9. Chris Lewcock

    What a surprise! After such an unnecessary waste of everybody’s time and resources. Well done to all who made the case against.

    There is a meeting on Tuesday 25 September, 6.30pm at West St Leonards Community Centre, to consider the Council decision to contract a developer to take forward ideas (details not public!) for 152 dwellings on the Seaside Road/former Lido site.

    Comment by Chris Lewcock — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 11:31

  10. J B KNIGHT

    HURRAH!!

    Now for the next. The White Rock proposal.

    How about sorting out existing properties and land instead of selling off and developing new land?

    GREEDY GREEDY GREEDY.

    Town looks like a dilapidated mess.

    Typical. Councils leave towns to rot while finding mega money for new projects nobody wanted and nobody asked for.

    Comment by J B KNIGHT — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 10:40

  11. Zelly Restorick

    I would also like to acknowledge the many many hours of research and sincere, heartfelt, clear and practical questioning/interviewing of those involved in the campaign to save our glorious Rock A Nore that Chandra Masoliver invested – to spread the word to those of us who live, work or pass through – and around the world – about this obsession with development so that a few people might prosper and enjoy what once belonged to everyone.

    My involvement was on behalf of the sheer magnificence of Rock A Nore, the place I hold dear to my heart and soul – and for all the residents, of the human and non-human variety, who call Rock A Nore ‘home’.

    We must never underestimate the power of the people to resist and create positive change in the face of those who want to dominate and manipulate for their own personal gain.

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 09:41

  12. Bernard McGinley

    Excellent news, and thanks to the Hottie for covering the story so well. If the Council had taken into account the feasibility, environmental sustainability, economic and social effects on Hastings of the now-withdrawn proposals, they would have realised long ago that the damage involved was simply and clearly too great.

    The HBC Cabinet paper of 11 September 2017 was always full of heroic assumptions (such as extra businesses and 1300 flats down a cul-de-sac).

    The HBC Cabinet paper of 1 October 2018 indicates that these proposals will be revived in some form, ‘as and when’. The Marina is undead.

    Comment by Bernard McGinley — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 09:27

  13. Ms.Doubtfire

    Good news indeed – however regarding the old bathing pool site we must not take our eyes off this one either…there have been many meetings about this site not least the ‘full marketing’ programme which commenced in June 2017 with a deadline of 2 March for the first round of informal tenders. (Who knew??)
    We are informed in the Cabinet meeting minutes of 3 September 2018 that a total of four bids from three developers/joint developers were received by the required deadline.Who are these people?? Apparently Sea Space is mooted as one possibility.
    This is all news to those who do not peruse/attend council meetings/minutes and this is probably how the council like it – blink and we may miss it – and then it is too late.
    We need to know a lot more about their intentions for this site before we find another Marina disaster on our doorstep.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 08:29

  14. Zelly Restorick

    Well done to ALL individuals and groups who campaigned to keep Rock A Nore the beautiful, unspoilt natural area that it is today – and has been for so long. This is a place for all of us, not a select few of those with money.

    Constant vigilance.

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 07:59

  15. Eye on the ball

    Firstly, it is wonderful news that the proposal as it stands has been withdrawn. However, the second recommendation is worrying. Anything that would damage the cliffs and sea front and potentially ruin this beauty spot should be avoided.

    Secondly, I agree with the suggestion that something could be done at the old bathing pool site. A sea front development in this area (whether it is a marina or lock) would be welcome as it would develop an area that is desperately in need of investment and extend the tourist attraction of the Hastings/St Leonards area.

    Perhaps the council could include this in their AAP?

    Comment by Eye on the ball — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 07:50

  16. Cyril Gould

    Well done, Chandra and the Greens! A worthwhile campaign indeed!

    Comment by Cyril Gould — Monday, Sep 24, 2018 @ 05:53

  17. JJ Waller

    Phew….for now. ” eternal vigilance remain the watchwords.” HBCC seem to green light light any project that throws money at them…..

    Comment by JJ Waller — Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 @ 23:57

  18. Christine Reed

    Indefatigable indeed, excellent reporting Chandra. Green Party led a worthwhile campaign. Regeneration of the bathing pool site and other parts of St Leonards would be a positive step…….

    Comment by Christine Reed — Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 @ 23:12

  19. Nigel

    I wonder if there’s any mileage in the idea of developing a lock-through marina at BoPeep? There’s lots of vacant land from the Bathing pool and Stamco sites, a ready made river inlet, and a nearby train station. With the river flow,

    Comment by Nigel — Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 @ 22:17

  20. Edward

    A sensible decision at last. But do not let your guard down as developers often return to their plans when they think the objectors have lost interest or they have found some loop hole to wriggle through despite objections. Meanwhile congratulation to HOT, to all the people Chandra has interviewed and to Chandra herself for finding the people who know the real background to the story.

    Comment by Edward — Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 @ 21:55

  21. John Baker

    Well done all those who campaigned against, not least HOT’s indefatigable campaigning journalist, Chandra Masoliver. But of course, eternal vigilance remain the watchwords.

    Comment by John Baker — Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 @ 21:17

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