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Model of the new scheme, viewed from the sea-front (photo: Marcus Beale Architect).

Model of the new scheme, viewed from the sea-front (photo: Marcus Beale Architect).

Moment of truth for Archery Ground scheme

Gladedale’s new application to redevelop the Archery Ground in St Leonards comes before the planning committee on Wednesday 6 November, this time with the backing of the Save The Archery Ground group. If it is approved, as seems likely, work on the site is expected to start early next year. Nick Terdre reports.

Developer Gladedale has taken the theme of renewal to heart – not only has it overhauled its Archery Ground proposal and improved its PR, it has also renamed itself Avant Homes – change is good, it says. In July it held a second public exhibition of the revised scheme at the Assembly Rooms, at which Marcus Beale, head of chief architect Marcus Beale Architect, was present with a cohort of representatives from other companies involved in the proposal to explain to all-comers how the design has been changed for the better.

Save The Archery Ground (STAG), chief critic of the original proposal, has liaised closely with the architect over the redesign, and is now very much in favour. On its website it says it “believes the current application is infinitely better than its predecessor… The design and appearance of houses and apartment blocks have improved immeasurably. The new landscape proposals involve fewer losses of established trees and the planting of more, new, young and semi-mature replacements. More attention has been paid to providing homes with adequate light and room space.”

The density of housing has also been reduced in the revised proposal, STAG points out – from 146 to 121 units. That is a reduction of one third compared with the 163 units proposed in 2009.

In a letter to planning department case officer Karen Phillips this week, STAG has given its support to the current application, subject to a couple of conditions: demolition of the derelict former college buildings without delays and “immediate, effective” repairs of the Grade II listed Decimus Burton villas.

Last week planning minister Nick Boles MP visited the site in the company of local MP Amber Rudd, herself now very much a supporter of the scheme. But although this looks well-set to win the planning committee’s approval, there are still dissenting voices.

Dissenting voices

Among these are Quarry Hill Freeholders, who object that despite the reduced number of housing units, since many families moving into the redevelopment will have more than one vehicle, they will be “forced to find parking spaces on surrounding roads which are already overcrowded and very narrow.”

Hastings Badger Protection Society continues to oppose the application on the grounds that wildlife surveys have not been carried out in accordance with regulations and inadequate provision has been made for the badger clan resident in the north of the site.

Meanwhile Patrick Glass has taken up the cause of the former college building at the bottom of West Hill Road, opposite which he lives. In a letter to Ms Phillips, he says it is a “fine stone building…in keeping with its surroundings…far larger than the houses that are proposed to replace it…and could easily be converted into wonderful spacious flats.” He calls for a preservation order to be put on it.

Previous article: New Archery Ground design to be unveiled

Posted 12:29 Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 In: Home Ground

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