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The site for the Michael Tyler Furniture factory in North Queensway Innovation Park.

The site for the Michael Tyler Furniture factory in North Queensway Innovation Park.

First units for business park but still no jobs

Limited construction may be about to begin at Sea Change Sussex’s North Queensway Innovation Park, but according to Combe Haven Defenders, there is still no sign of the 865 jobs claimed for it. Nick Terdre reports.

When the project was announced five years ago, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, which provided £1.5 million towards its funding, said it had the “potential of creating 865 jobs.”

So far the only construction that has taken place, say local environmental group Combe Haven Defenders, is a short access road. Meanwhile the only activity the site – on the west side of Queensway just north of Sea Change Sussex’s Enviro 21 park – appears to have seen is quad-bike riding and flytipping.

Rubbish dumped on the park site.

Rubbish dumped on the park site.

However, that may be about to change, as SCS has received planning permission to build two units on the site, one for Michael Tyler Furniture Ltd, which will be relocating from elsewhere in Hastings, and the other for Bartletts SEAT car dealership, which, CHD says, is being forced to move from its site on Whitworth Road because of another SCS project, the Queensway Gateway road.

Construction of the new units has not yet begun, and according to CHD, in neither case will it lead to the creation of new jobs. There is now no mention on SCS’s website of the number of new jobs to be created by the innovation park, they point out.

“Sea Change Sussex has experienced considerable delays in securing planning consents and has proceeded at the pace necessary to deal with ecology issues relating to habitats,” a spokesman told HOT. “This meant it wasn’t possible to start the first phase of access until late 2014 and the second phase until July 2016.

“In an ideal world, we’d have carried out these works at the same time, but we can only proceed at a pace permitted by the various statutory regulations and processes.

How the park is supposed to be.

How the park is supposed to be.

“The North Queensway project will still proceed as planned. Development will start when planning and other permissions are obtained, conditions are discharged and the purchasers are ready. The basis for the discharge of conditions for the first development has been agreed with the relevant authorities and work should start when the formal permission is obtained.

“Meanwhile, we deplore those fly-tipping on the site and the unauthorised access of vehicles, which we’re taking measures to prevent.”

Wildlife site

In its publicity SCS says the park is surrounded by attractive woodland. CHD recalls that the site, which abuts the Marline Valley nature reserve, was itself “an important wildlife site before all the trees were felled in 2014,” and “supported ‘exceptional’ breeding populations of both slow-worms and common lizards, both protected species in the UK.”

“This is yet another disastrous project from SeaChange, paid for with public money, destroying important habitats, and so far not producing a single job,” said CHD spokesperson Anthony Bradnum.

“Rather than the hundreds of jobs we were promised, what we have is an eyesore of flytipping and quad bike trails. Where SeaChange is concerned, there appears to be no accountability for the use of public money, money which could be better spent on projects which would genuinely benefit the people of Hastings.

“It’s time Hastings Council took a long hard look at SeaChange and held them to account for their many failed projects in the town.”

 

Posted 16:01 Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 In: Home Ground

2 Comments


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  1. Ms.Doubtfire

    Both these businesses are already established in Hastings. Where is the anticipated rush to move into this industrial estate? All that money and loss of valuable wildife habitat for what? Shameful in the extreme.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017 @ 08:53

  2. Ms.Doubtfire

    Neither of these businesses are new companies coming to Hastings..they are already established in the town. Both having to move due to various reasons. We were assured outside companies would be rushing to come here and set up shop. This has not happened. Anthony Bradnum is absolutely correct when he says there appears to be no accountability for public money spent. And he is also correct when he says this project destroyed important habitats. A shameful situation all round. But no dount someone has made a pretty penny out of all this.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Saturday, Nov 18, 2017 @ 17:43

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