Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Cafe on the sea front.

Beachside cafe by the old bathing pool site.

Protest over bathing pool site plans called for early Saturday

On Saturday morning, 23 November, the Old Bathing Pool site campaign is holding a demonstration on the site in Seaside Road, West St Leonards. Bernard McGinley, who also took the pictures, reports.

The purpose of the demonstration is to persuade Hastings Borough Council that the site deserves better than the 152 units of luxury housing or second homes which local residents fear may be the eventual outcome.

All who broadly agree are welcome to attend, at 8:40am, whether current users of the site or sympathisers. Protesters are expected to gather near the beachside café (by the white column) slightly earlier. The main protest is to be at 8:50. Banners and placards are optional.  

Time for debate

IMG_0653[1] 350The Park Run is also happening that morning, the runners setting off at 9am. When they have gone there will be further discussion of what to do with this unique, sea-front green site. Attenders will be able to discuss, until about 11 o’clock, how this prestige site deserves better than what is proposed, and should be retained for future generations.

Many feel the proposal to build something like five five-storey residential tower blocks on the site is not the best, and that other forms of  regeneration for the area, with increased footfall and tourism to benefit the local economy, would be better.

This event is being organised in collaboration with the West Marina group who are not just campaigning for the ‘village green’ but working on a Neighbourhood Plan for the wider West St Leonards Area.  

The Council’s proposal to lease the site to developers was reported in HOT (see here) recently. With campaigning for the general election now under way, the West Marina group has written to the parliamentary candidates to express their concerns over the plans (see below). Tory candidate Sally-Ann Hart, who says she is against residential development on the site, will be attending.

IMG_0671[1] 600

Copy of the letter sent by West Marina Group to the parliamentary candidates on 20 November

Dear General Election Candidate

The development of the old bathing pool site

On behalf of the West Marina Group I am writing to you – and our other parliamentary candidates – to ask for your support in our opposition to the Council’s plans for the old bathing pool site in West St Leonards.

You are probably aware that the Council has announced that a transfer of this land to a developer is imminent, heads of terms having been agreed, and that the proposal is to allow up to 152 housing units to be built on the site.

While the proposed sale has been confirmed the precise details of the developer’s scheme have yet to be released. The Council has received draft plans but at the request of the developer has stated that it is not prepared to disclose them until the sale of the land has been completed.

The interest of the developer is being allowed to take precedence over that of the local community.

We recognise the need to build more housing but believe this prime seafront location should be principally earmarked for leisure and recreation.

The town’s economy relies heavily on tourism. Taking into account the impact of climate change on our weather patterns and the imperative to reduce carbon emissions, it is predicted that more and more people will choose to holiday in the UK in the future, and it is vital that the town positions itself to be a become one of the favoured holiday destinations. As the recent House of Lords report starkly warned , coastal towns must either get creative or they will die.

A report on the coastal regeneration in English resorts published in 2010 highlighted the need to address the lack of innovation to overcome the adverse aspects of the legacy of the past, noting that Hastings , which has difficult metropolitan access, does not reap discernable benefits from regional prosperity. It said the key is to regenerate the democratic excitement that made the seaside an exciting destination for earlier generations.

What has happened since 2002, when “Making “Waves,” a regeneration strategy for Hastings and St Leonards was published by the Council? It was said then that planning work that had been commissioned which would produce a new vision of “the seaside” and what it can offer, and that the town would become one of the most forward thinking seaside towns in England.

Unfortunately there has been a marked lack of leadership and vision since then.

The bathing pool site has been sadly neglected over the past thirty years but we believe with leadership and vision it can be transformed into a destination worthy of the name, a vibrant space for the local community, visitors and business owners alike. Instead of a housing estate, let there be a swimming pool, flower gardens, a sculpture park, an iconic building or other such amenity that will give pleasure and inspire, and help with the much needed regeneration of the town.

As a potential champion of the of the town we hope you will agree with us and lend us your support.

We look forward to hearing from you, with any comments you may have.

Yours sincerely

Virginia Vilela


West Marina Group

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Posted 18:36 Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 In: Home Ground


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  1. Bolshie

    I note the Conservative candidate is attending this demo. However, with all the articles I have read so far, not one word from the two Conservative councillors for this Ward. Or even their party leader.
    I would have thought apart from supposedly representing this area and the people who live in it they would have had something to say about this development and how the Labour council have gone about it.
    I have to say I get rather mystified as to what these and in fact any of the councillors actually do for the people. They seem to “cherry pick” what they want to get involved in. If it is something that might be too complicated or controversial then it becomes a no go area.

    Comment by Bolshie — Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 @ 12:16

  2. Ms.Doubtfire

    It is important that all concerned residents from across the town attend this event – if we ignore it we will regret it for evermore.
    Do not forget the lease which this council is giving these developers is for 100 years..

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Friday, Nov 22, 2019 @ 14:48

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