Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Rollercoaster induces nausea over the Stade Amusement Park

The rollercoaster that has arisen by the Boating Lake on the Old Town seafront does not have planning permission, or an application, and wasn’t even notified to Hastings Borough Council (HBC) or the Foreshore Trust (FT).  Do Permitted Development Rights (PDR) apply? What about the issues of the perimeter fence and the footpath, so controversial a few years ago?  Will the Council or the FT take action?  Bernard McGinley looks at another fine mess, and also took the photos.

Some problems have arisen at Flamingo Park, the amusement park on the Stade.  The new rollercoaster does not have planning permission. Nor is there an application. There seems to be an implied assertion of Permitted Development Rights.  

However the Old Town Conservation Area includes East Parade and all of the beach and makes the rollercoaster site a Designated Area in the matter of PDR.

Additionally, HBC in 1993 made an Article 4 direction. Much of the Old Town, including East Parade, became a Designated Area, as shown on the final-page map.

An Article 4 direction can require an application for development that would otherwise have been allowed under PDR. Historic England guidance states:

Article 4 directions are used to control works that could threaten the character of an area of acknowledged importance, such as a Conservation Area.  

HBC’s Article 4 (No 1) Direction 1993 (Hastings Old Town Conservation Area) indicates that the area facing the amusements should be given special consideration.

Other cases

The rollercoaster development causes difficulties for other works on the site. 

Case HS/FA/18/01009 was approved in March 2019 with ‘a new 1.2m black metal bow top fence adjacent to edge of the footpath and boating lake’. Concern was raised at the time. The current fence is much higher than 1.2 m (which is less than 4 feet). The applicant’s Planning Statement in para 5.2 said that ‘The applicant has ensured that the proposals protect the character of the area’. Now the rollercoaster makes the proposed footpath route impossible. 01009 was the successor to HS/FA/17/01056  which was in effect abandoned and broadly remade, losing its old objections and attracting fewer new ones.

HS/CD/19/00369 (on materials) was approved in stages, for works including

Proposed new formalised and landscaped pedestrian footpath from adjacent to shelter to beach front access and enlargement of amusement park to incorporate land where current footpath is located. 

Eventually approval was given. HBC stated that there was no harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area.

In March 2021 there was a perimeter works application, HS/CD/21/00240, regarding the perimeter fence. This remains undecided, and the character and appearance of the Conservation Area are under threat of change. 

Foreshore Trust

The Trustee of the FT (Charity No 1105649) is officially Hastings Borough Council. In practice that means the HBC Charity Committee, whose current members are Cllrs Margi O’Callaghan (Chair), Judy Rogers and Andy Batsford. All three are members of the HBC Cabinet.

The FT’s record and unwillingness to comment were matters of controversy in 2018 and 2019. HOT carried a number of reports including in 2018 this and this and this .

In 2019 there was this, and this report on the Council’s Stade footpath decision.

The Foreshore Trust has a habit of making grandiose declarations such as: 

The Trust continues to concentrate efforts on ensuring a secure and viable future for the Trust, especially in terms of maintaining and improving its assets, managing its available resources for the long term benefit of the community . . .

But their record in defending the Stade footpath has been noticeably poor. Similarly it has not explained what it has done (or not done) about the rollercoaster and why, or how the Trustees are doing their duty and pursuing their charitable objectives

to hold and maintain the Charity’s land for . . . the common use, benefit and enjoyment of all Her Majesty’s subjects and of the public for the time being for ever.


Officially the new attraction is a ‘spinning coaster‘ Pinball X, bought from Margate’s Dreamland (but if it was breaching social distancing regulations there, how does it comply here?)

The owner of the amusement park did not notify the Council or FT of its proposals, which is a breach of its lease. There has been an HBC and FT site visit but no statement has been made.

An enforcement enquiry on perimeter issues (ENF/21/00091) has been going on for a month without comment.

The Council were asked to comment but so far have said nothing, even about the procedural aspects of this situation. The FT has indicated a willingness to comment after election ‘purdah’ ends.

At the time of writing it remains unclear if the footpath will survive. Possibly it won’t. If it survives, will it be inside the amusement park and therefore inaccessible to the public? If so, then the old practice of footpath access ‘as of right’ will have been extinguished, as voluntarily as makes no difference. 

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Posted 10:36 Wednesday, May 5, 2021 In: Home Ground


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  1. chris hurrell

    The amusement park should have sought consent from the Foreshore Trust prior to the rollercoaster being installed – they didn’t. I believe that they should have also notified planning prior to constructing the rollercoaster under Permitted Development Rights. There may be constraints on PDR as the park is part of a conservation area.

    This area was an open public access route between the boating lake and the amusement park. It is feared that public access may now be lost. The public access path must be protected. The only body that can guarantee this is the Foreshore Trust. I remain concerned that the Foreshore Trust have yet to commit to preserving public access.

    The rollercoaster now blocks the access route across the amusement park. The path has been open public access for a very long time – I first remember it from around 1961. It has never been enclosed. The route is right next to the bus stop and is the most direct route to the beach from the bus stop – handy for those with mobility issues.

    The nearest alternative routes to the beach are at the other end of the amusements at the Stade – some 90 metres to the east and at the far end of the boating lake some 170 metres to the west. If this access route is lost the distance between access points will be around 260 metres.

    The land is owned by the Foreshore Trust who have previously declared that this is a public access route. Permission has not been granted for the loss of this route. When the 2017 permission was granted assurances were given that this access route would remain open. The permission granted re-routed the access route along the eastern edge of the boating lake – this route is now blocked by the rollercoaster.

    Comment by chris hurrell — Thursday, May 6, 2021 @ 15:41

  2. Kim Stallwood

    Thank you very much for this reporting.

    Comment by Kim Stallwood — Thursday, May 6, 2021 @ 09:12

  3. Sunbear

    Bernard to the rescue again. Thank you, Bernard, for keeping an eye on this stuff and trying to save the town from ruin.

    Comment by Sunbear — Thursday, May 6, 2021 @ 02:58

  4. Bernard McGinley

    News on 5 May is that councillors and trustees are co-operating on an attempted effective response. Noise and environmental health issues are being considered. Scrutiny of the lease is under way. A retrospective planning application is possible, for review by the Foreshore Trust and Coastal Users Group as well as the Council. An Article 4 directive also remains a possibility.

    There are other constraints on permitted development. The future of public access ‘as of right’ remains unclear.

    Comment by Bernard McGinley — Wednesday, May 5, 2021 @ 13:44

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