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The Nature of Things In Hastings

Hastings is to get another local nature reserve in Hastings, its eighth. Hastings Borough Council agreed unanimously at its meeting on Monday (8 January) to declare Ponds Wood a local nature reserve – and to extend the Churchwood local nature reserve.

Cllr Colin Fitzgerald, the council’s lead member for the environment, explained: “We are very lucky in Hastings to have such great green spaces, from the award winning country park and Alexandra Park to our cherished ’pocket parks’.

“Ponds Wood is ancient semi-natural woodland bordering a stream. It provides easy access for local residents to enjoy a high quality natural space in the middle of a built-up urban environment.

“Robsack Meadow was originally allocated as a housing site, but we have now removed that designation following the inspectors recommendations into our 2015 Local Plan. To protect this area going forward, we are extending the Churchwood local nature reserve boundary to include Robsack Meadow.

“Hastings will now have eight local nature reserves, a very high number for a town of our size, showing how we value these local green ‘lungs’ for wildlife, and local residents and visitors, to enjoy.”

A declaration notice is being published in the local press and on the council’s website to allow the public to inspect the declaration and the boundary map free of charge.


Posted 14:18 Thursday, Jan 11, 2018 In: Nature


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  1. eye on the ball

    I agree wholeheartedly with Chris Hurrell. It is excellent news that campaigners have succeeded in saving Robsack Meadow and thanks are due to anyone in the council who supported this. However, Hastings Country Park is our jewel and it is under threat from the proposed harbour development.

    Hastings Country Park received Local Nature Reserve Designation in 2006. The reserve covers 345 hectares of coastal Gill woodlands, open pasture and cliff top grassland, together with five kilometres of dramatic soft rock cliffs and coastline. If a harbour is built below those cliffs to include space for 600 vessels and between 1000 and 1300 new homes not only will the natural beauty of the area be lost but the safety of the area itself will be compromised.

    Hastings Borough Council have already accompanied Hastings Harbour Quarter (“the developers”) to a meeting with a government Treasury Committee to ask for £1.5m to do a feasibility study on the project. Before the government throws it’s money around, it would be appropriate for the council to discuss with people with good local knowledge of the area about whether such a proposal would be detrimental to this Special Area of Conservation or, if a marina is seen as a necessary development for the town, where it could be placed that would not damage our environment.

    Comment by eye on the ball — Friday, Jan 19, 2018 @ 16:00

  2. Chris Lewcock

    Worth adding that the Council’s stewardship of non-statutory wildlife sites has been pretty poor – in most cases non-existent. A 2009 review of wildlife sites in Hastings Borough by Applied Ecology Ltd of Cambridge found that 8 of the 33 sites had been so badly looked after that they should be de-listed.

    Comment by Chris Lewcock — Friday, Jan 19, 2018 @ 10:08

  3. Ms.Doubtfire

    Councillor Fitzgerald supports the importance of green spaces in our town? Where was he and his colleagues when the campaigners were battling to save the unique and precious site of Robsack Meadow? Never forget this 8 year struggle to save this site received little support from paid officers or elected Members. To those who were prepared to put their necks on the line in support of the Campaign – we thank you. You know who you are. And we must recall Jeremy Birch’s promise that nothing would happen to this special site until the Government Inspector had submitted his report for the Local Plan…Jeremy died before this report was received but we believe that his promise protected this little meadow from threat of development – thank you Jeremy.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Monday, Jan 15, 2018 @ 16:30

  4. Chris Hurrell

    This is really good news. Congratulations to the campaigners whose tenacity and hard work have achieved this.

    Cllr Fitzgerald rightly expresses the importance in having so many green spaces. It is therefore inexplicable why “the jewel in the crown” of our green spaces the Country Park has been so poorly treated in the last few years.

    Views from the East Hill have been blighted by the Rocklands bunker – approved by Planning in breach of all planning policies. The proposed Old Town Marina will destroy the setting of the East Hill if it ever happens.

    The Saxon Shore way has been closed by a disastrous landslip in Ecclesbourne Glen. A landslip many believe to be caused by unauthorised developments in Rocklands Caravan Park. The council’s own geotechnical reports admit that man made factors such as terracing, car parks and tree removals are a factor. The developments have destroyed drainage patterns,

    Rather than take action to resolve the causes of the landslip HBC have spent large amounts of money fighting the release of key reports (paid for by the council) which could explain the reasons for the landslip. HBC have persistently failed to take any action and ignore the recommendations of their own expert reports. HBC have spent around 130k to date on the Rocklands affair – yet have not resolved a single issue. The further costs of officer time are unknown.

    HBC officers and most members wont lift a finger to protect the glen. Instead we are treated to spin where elected councillors proclaim Green Flag status and that the Country Park is one of the top parks in the country. The park is under serious threat from developments on all sides and I fear that it is being lost.

    Comment by Chris Hurrell — Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 @ 09:47

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