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Sketch showing the new footpath, shaded green, planned by the Flamingo Amusement Park owner - the existing path, not shown, which lies some metres to the east (right) will be absorbed into the park (diagram: from Revised Site Plan).

Sketch showing the new footpath, shaded green, planned by the Flamingo Amusement Park owner – the existing path, not shown, which lies some metres to the east (right), will be absorbed into the park (diagram: from Revised Site Plan).

HBC planners back amusement park changes

Council planning officers have recommended acceptance of the application for “extensions and refurbishments” of the sea-front amusement park in the Old Town when it comes before the planning committee next Wednesday. If planning permission is granted, a new footpath will replace the one running between the amusement park and the boating lake. Nick Terdre reports.

A total of 18 objections to the application (HS/FA/17/01056) were lodged, most of them concerned at the prospect that the public right of way over the footpath would be lost. That would already have happened if successive applications by Michael Lee, the Flamingo Amusement Park owner, for a certificate of lawful use, both of which would have made the path part of the amusement park, had not been turned down on legal grounds.

Among the objections is a petition from the Old Hastings Preservation Society, which points out that when the status of the footpath was raised several years ago, “DEFRA [Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] adjudicated that the public ‘of right,’ because of the 1893 deed which set up what is now the Foreshore Trust, could use the footpaths across and around this site.

“The proposals in the above application do not reflect accustomed use and do not maintain the open nature of this area,” it says.

Though listing the various reasons for objection, the case officer’s report to the committee does not spell out why they have been disregarded, except to say that, “East Sussex County Council records indicate that the walkway has not been formally adopted as a PROW [public right of way].

Half the story

But that is only half the story, according to Anne Scott, the OHPS chair. “It’s been accepted that ‘by right’ we can walk over it,” she told HOT.

“I can’t believe that they haven’t woken up to the fact that by approving these plans they’re giving them permission to put a new fence round the boating lake and to block off most of the footpath and add it to the enclosed amusement park area,” she said.

Ms Scott said she would contact councillors on the planning committee to clarify this point. “[The councillors] don’t know the history, that’s the problem,” she said. However, she was hopeful they would take these points on board. “We’re not in the age when they are browbeaten into submission any more,” she said.

She expects to address the committee when it meets on Wednesday 12 September, as will Cllr Dany Louise, who represents Old Hastings ward.

The existing footpath seen from East Parade.

The existing footpath seen from East Parade.

If planning permission is granted, while the existing footpath will be absorbed into the amusement park, a new one will be constructed a few metres to the west, running close to the eastern edge of the boating lake. The width of the new path will be 3.5 metres compared with the six metres of the existing footpath – though a 40% reduction, the report describes the new path as “slightly narrower.”

As the proposed new path and the existing path occupy different spaces, members of the planning committee might want to know what rights attach to the new path – will the public have the right to walk over it when the existing path vanished?

What of the Foreshore Trust?

This issue, which is not mentioned in the officer’s report, would seem to be one for the Foreshore Trust, which owns the land. However, the trust recently turned down requests for it to clarify the status of the footpath by declaring it a public right of way.

This is not the only time the Foreshore Trust has failed to stand up for community interests; it was also notably silent when the Friends of Hastings Pier sought to involve it in keeping the pier in community hands.

“It is very worrying that the Foreshore Trust has not bothered to comment or object to this application,” Julia Hilton of the Green Party told HOT. “The Trust was set up in 1893 to ensure this land remains open to the public for their enjoyment in perpetuity. In fact the reason given by the council’s lawyers for turning down the application to register this route as a Right of Way in 2010, was that the public had permission to pass over this land for ever more.

“The Foreshore Trust don’t appear to be concerned that if this application is approved it will extend the enclosed area of the amusement arcade by around a quarter and reduce the width of the route through to the beach by almost half.”

She said she would raise her concerns at the Foreshore Trust’s AGM on Monday 24 September and urged others to do the same.

As well as the westward expansion of the amusement park, the application also calls for a new ride, a “swinging pirate ship,” to be placed in the enlarged area and changes to some of the existing buildings. A new boathouse will be built on the site of the bouncy castle at the western end of the lake.


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Posted 19:15 Saturday, Sep 8, 2018 In: Home Ground


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  1. Ms.Doubtfire

    Where was the Foreshore Trust when the Azur pavilion in St.Leonards was granted retrospective planning permission for closing off the promenade to the public with locked steel gates?

    Planning application HS/FA/08/00858 refers. Did we miss this one?? Planty of objections and admissions by the planning department, that, yes indeedy, this was a public walkway….but the locked gates were approved…
    Worth noting that many of the dozens of objections and the petition are not available to view on their website.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018 @ 15:39

  2. Bolshie

    Having a further look into this Foreshore Trust as I am really quite bewildered as to what this charitable set up is rally all about. I note that none of the three councillors have declared being a Trustee of this Trust.
    I thought as Councillors they are legally required to declare all interests in anything they were involved in period. Especially where they are getting a salary, stipend or allowance.
    The Chair of the Foreshore Trust is reported in the 2017 accounts of being handed over £6K for her position. Maybe the others get a hand out too ???

    Comment by Bolshie — Friday, Sep 21, 2018 @ 21:01

  3. Ms.Doubtfire

    In an endeavour to seek out the activites of the Foreshore Trust in recent times, it does appear that this Trust failed to make any positive attempt to liaise with the administrators when the pier was in such trouble.

    Did the Foreshore Trust seek to negotiate a deal with the Administrators or did they just sit back and watch the pier slip from the ownership of the ‘people’?

    The issue of who really presides over this Trust is of great concern – it is patently clear that Hastings Borough Council heads up this charitable trust so without the approval of HBC the Trust does not appear to have much say in matters relating to the Foreshore.

    We must remember that this Trust is responsible for the Foreshore area from Rock a Nore up to Bulverhythe and it remains a serious concern to note that the Chair of this trust has made no comment on this controversial planning application for the Stade Amusement Park. Are we at the mercy of this silent Trust?

    The Chair of this Trust is listed on the council website as receiving over £6k for the past year as “A Special Responsibilities Allowance”? Can we have some enlightenment on these Special Responsilities?

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, Sep 20, 2018 @ 10:05

  4. Ms.Doubtfire

    This application HS/FA/17/01056 has now has been deferred. However, there are new recentobjections on the website and there is one in particular which is most relevant:

    The commentator suggests that as “the pathway forms part of the property of the Hastings and St. Leonards Foreshore Trust, it is therefore not within the jurisdiction of the current amended application. The officers of the Foreshore Trust are obliged to protect the Trust land for the enjoyment of the community of the town of Hastings. By not protecting the assets of the Trust they could be deemed negligent”.

    The commentator goes on to say: “further to this a lease has been granted to the current applicant by the Trust. By allowing the applicant to considerably expand the enclosed area, use a larger area of Foreshore Trust land and thereby increase their revenue, it negates the terms of the current lease and a new lease with a new rent would have to be negotiated. An equivalent parallel would be to compare the situation with that of the leaseholder of a flat who takes over the landing outside their property without negotiating with the freeholder. The freeholder in this instance is the Foreshore Trust..”

    The final paragraph in this new comment reads thus: “Hastings Borough Council are obviously within their rights to adjudicate on what would be permissible regarding planning, but it is not their right to give the applicant the go-ahead without it first having been formally agreed by the Foreshore Trust who have to decide whether it is in the interests of the Trust to do so….”

    The commentator ends the comment by declaring they will write to the Charity Commissioners on these points.

    Many concerns have been raised regarding the lack of involvement with the Foreshore Trust on this application.

    This is an extraordinary situation.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018 @ 12:19

  5. Chris Hurrell

    The Foreshore Trust has not commented on this application. Here is email correspondence between Cllr Sue Beaney and a member of the public concerning the Foreshore Trust and the Stade amusement Park.

    I think Cllr Beaney’s reply shows that the Foreshore Trust is being ineffectual and not performing its role as an independent guardian of the Foreshore on behalf of residents. There is no indication that the Trust has investigated the issue of enclosure or protection of public access.

    Dear Cllr. Beaney:

    Planning application HS/FA/17/01056

    I was surprised and shocked to see that you have refrained from making any comment on this application which, if approved would drastically re configure this amuesment park in the Old Town.

    As chair of the Foreshore Trust one would naturally assume it is within your remit to make comment on any applications which affect the foreshore.

    Please would you kindly advise why you have refrained from comment on this controversial application which has numerous objections and a petition?

    With kind regards


    Dear Mrs X

    Thank you for your email.
    I have been very aware of the worries concerning the proposed developments on the Stade.

    On the whole I think they seem fine as they will create an improved look for the area and improve our tourist offer. The Planning Committee are the lawful adjudicators of whether this application is appropriate so I won’t pre-empt their decision.

    The concern which I share is for the footway to be preserved at both sides of the boating lake. As I understand it, that will be the case, albeit one being a little narrower but still adequate.

    I remain unclear about the suggestion that the path will be closed at night, and as at time of writing haven’t received a response to my question about this.

    Best wishes

    Comment by Chris Hurrell — Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018 @ 18:50

  6. Eye on the ball

    It would be useful to know how the members of the Foreshore Trust are appointed and who they are responsible to and how the public can have a say in who represents our interests. I don’t believe the fishermen are represented on the Foreshore Trust – which must surely be an oversight. A useful role could also be played by OHPS and HUDG. Do we have the right to challenge the membership of thus trust to make it more representative of people’s views?

    Comment by Eye on the ball — Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018 @ 08:25

  7. Bolshie

    The failure of the Foreshore Trust to make any comments on this application is really unacceptable but to be expected really. This is a Trust that is an extension, in effect, of HBC. So here you have one major problem it cannot be perceived as a totally “Independent Trust.”

    The other major factor I feel influencing the approval is HBC’s fear of the applicant appealing it if the application got refused. You know how this council gets paranoid about that on the grounds of cost. Even though, as just one example, they will spend over £100,000 of taxpayers money on sites such as Rocklands landslide disaster where nothing has been done to sort that out.

    Comment by Bolshie — Tuesday, Sep 11, 2018 @ 12:45

  8. Ms.Doubtfire

    The lack of any comment on this planning application by the Foreshore Trust is utterly disgraceful.

    If we cannot rely on this Trust to do as their role prescribes, what is the function of this Trust?

    Officer Kevin Boorman, marketing, seems to think it is a great idea to make this tawdry, tasteless amusement park even larger and gaudier – and this from an Old Town resident born and bred. Unbelievable.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Sunday, Sep 9, 2018 @ 11:00

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