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Marcus Beale met local residents to explain Gladedale's revised scheme.

Positive response to Gladedale’s revised scheme for the Archery Ground

Gladedale’s new planning application for the Archery Ground in St Leonards has been well and truly launched, with an exhibition of the revised scheme and a pre-application forum held in mid March. Nick Terdre reports.

The exhibition in particular gave interested members of the public a chance to meet a key new player, Marcus Beale Architects, and its eponymous head. The firm, which previously had a role advising on the conservation aspects of Gladedale’s original scheme – designing for heritage assets is one of its specialities – is now chief architect.

Marcus Beale himself was pleased with how the exhibition went – there were 121 visitors to the two sessions and some 30-40 feedback forms handed in with visitors’ impressions of the revised scheme, he told HOT.

“It’s fantastic that people engaged with the site and the scheme,” he said. “And it’s important for us to learn about the area and to be able to test people’s reactions to ideas of ours that are not yet fully formed.”

Among the new features are proposals for a pedestrian bridge running from the bottom of Highlands Gardens over the wildlife area in the north of the site to the built area and for a second road into the new development, at the Bannow House end of Archery Road.

Local architect, Stephen Gray, an adviser to the Save The Archery Ground lobby group, was among those who liked what they saw. “I’m hugely enthused by how a no-hoper of a scheme has been supplanted by one of such enormous promise,” he told HOT.

Over the next few weeks the architect will flesh out the details of the modified design and, Mr Beale says, will probably hold another exhibition in late April or early May before submitting the application. It hopes to get council consent by late summer/early autumn, in which case work on the site will start shortly after. Demolition and construction will start at the southern end and move northwards.

Wildlife concerns

There was also a good turnout – some 60 or so, in Mr Beale’s reckoning – at the pre-application forum arranged by the council at the town hall. Representatives of several interested groups were able to state what they were looking for from the development, including Don Rose, president of the Hastings Badger Protection Society.

Don Rose, president of Hastings Badger Protection Society.

For Mr Rose, nothing much has changed. In his address, he drew attention to the problems badgers may face to obtain safe foraging: the development “is an island habitat surrounded by a network of narrow roads; the wrong type of over-development will result in serious animal and potentially human casualties,” he told the forum.

He was also sceptical whether the council would provide adequate public services, he told HOT. There were signs the town’s sewage system in particular was at times barely able to cope with present demands on it.

The council greeted the forum as a success and has already arranged another for a separate development. “Pre-application forums are a very welcome step forward in the application process of major developments within the town,” Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration, commented.

“The process is designed to assist the developer to deal properly with important issues and to reduce delay and frustration on everyone’s part in the formal planning process. Currently we are one of the very few councils that offer this form of consultation.”


See also New Archery Ground proposals to be aired.


Posted 14:00 Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 In: Home Ground

Also in: Home Ground

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