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The former power station site in Ore Valley where Gemselect proposes building some 75 homes (photo: Sea Space).

Sea Space sale of Ore Valley site to Gemselect concluded

The sale of the former Ore Valley power station site to Gemselect has finally been concluded two years after it was announced. The Battle-based developer plans to build some 75 homes on the site, while reserving six plots for the Heart of Hastings community group. Former owner Sea Space says it will reinvest the proceeds in local regeneration. Nick Terdre reports.

Battle-based developer Gemselect says it plans to submit a planning application to Hastings Borough Council in early 2022 to build some 75 homes on the site of the former power station in Ore Valley after concluding its purchase of the site. Around 25% will be affordable homes.

Gemselect was selected after a competitive bidding process in 2019 in which the Heart of Hastings community land trust also participated. “The Gemselect scheme offered many similar community benefits to other schemes put forward, such as extensive use of local labour and willingness to engage with community groups, plus a willingness to pay fair value for the site which could be reinvested in local regeneration,” the spokesman said.

The sale price for dormant company Sea Space’s main remaining asset is confidential, a company spokesman told HOT, but the proceeds will be reinvested in local regeneration – how this will take place is currently being considered. One possibility is the transfer of the proceeds to the company’s successor Sea Change, as happened a couple of years ago with £700,000 raised from sales of Sea Space land holdings in Ore.

According to Gemselect director Gordon Ritchie the sales process was slowed down by the pandemic. However, deciding how to tackle the contaminated state of the site may also have contributed to the lengthy process, as well as possibly affecting the sale price.

When Gemselect was announced as the preferred bidder, Ritchie played down the seriousness of the contamination as “not unusual for a site of this nature and history.” However it may also have contributed to Sea Space’s inability to find a viable way of developing the site, which it also acquired for the purpose of building housing.

Prior to the sale Heart of Hastings had planned its own development of mainly affordable housing on the site, spending some £200,000 on preparatory work. It declared itself “bitterly disappointed” when Gemselect was announced as the preferred bidder.

But HoH could still have a small involvement given Gemselect’s declared intention of making six plots available to it in partnership with Sussex Coast College’s Ore Valley campus, where building trades are taught. HoH told HOT the opportunity to build affordable housing was potentially interesting, but it had yet to be contacted by Gemselect to learn the details of its offer.

More than two years after Heart of Hastings vacated the site nature has reasserted itself (photo: Sea Space).

Article amended by Nick Terdre on 9 December 2021.

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Posted 18:00 Thursday, Dec 2, 2021 In: Home Ground

3 Comments

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  1. Ben Woodger

    Given Hastings councils aspirations to be a “green town” and the climate emergency on our door stop i’ll be interested to see how sustainable the new homes are! Likely to be the outdated things that are being planned at other sites over Hastings and another missed opportunity..

    Comment by Ben Woodger — Saturday, Jan 1, 2022 @ 10:38

  2. Owain Glyndwr

    Agree with DAR. Scandalous that the Pilot Field is under threat. Short term thinking leading to unjustified, irreversible and tragic loss of a great community asset. Stop the rot!

    Comment by Owain Glyndwr — Thursday, Dec 23, 2021 @ 07:53

  3. DAR

    This is the sort of site that should be developed for housing, not our few urban green spaces like Harrow Lane Playing Fields etc.

    Comment by DAR — Monday, Dec 6, 2021 @ 12:11

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