Save The Archery Ground
SAY NO to the greedy over-development of Archery Road (the grounds of the soon to be redundant Hastings College) Hastings Borough Council has received a planning application to shoehorn 7 blocks of flats and 31 townhouses onto this small challenging site. Also submitted are plans to convert James Burton’s Grade II listed art school into 27 apartments. Before it was appropriated by compulsory purchase in the 1960s the Archery Ground was a public open space and an important component of James Burton’s Regency ‘New Town’ of St Leonards, which he began in 1828. If the application is successful it will result in a total of 163 new housing ‘units’ bringing upwards of 359 people and cars into the area. Demolition of the old college buildings and construction of the proposed housing estate will take a minimum of four and a half years. We believe this high concentration of homes, people and vehicles will undermine the character of all the neighbouring conservation areas and damage the quality of life for hundreds of residents. The entire site lies within St. Leonards West Conservation zone. We need your support to fight this high density development. We the undersigned object strongly to the plans (marked "preliminary") submitted to Hastings Borough Council for full planning approval, Case number HS/FA/09/00482, for the following reasons: INADEQUATE PUBLIC CONSULTATION Despite the historical importance of the site and the scale of this development there has been only one public event – a poorly advertised exhibition of preliminary plans, held on a single day in May. The developers –Gladedale, claim upwards of 100 people attended their exhibition. However, only 59 completed a feedback form. On this basis, and despite a complete lack of detailed drawings and no full description of materials, they claim their proposals are ‘supported overall’ by 77% of the public We have only been given 21 days to lodge our objections. This is insufficient time to study the hundreds of pages of drawings and related documents only just made available. HIGH DENSITY 30 dwellings per hectare is the minimum level acceptable under national and local regional planning legislation. At 73 dwellings per hectare this development is more than double that allocation. This density is entirely inappropriate for land situated within and surrounded by conservation areas . Despite Hastings Local Development Frameworks Core Strategy to “Reduce the proportion of single person households in Central St Leonards to below 50% by 2021” 41 of the flats in this development have one bedroom – 28.8 % of the build. FELLING OF TREES The majority of trees on and around the site are to be felled. This wanton destruction of healthy mature specimens will alter drastically the character and atmosphere of the area. The areas marked on the plans as ‘Amenity spaces’ are deceptive. For example, the “landscaped central courtyard” now emerges as a hard standing for cars. The landscape design fails to be “in keeping with the precedent set by the Burton-designed gardens and pavilions nearby” (as alleged in the Landscape Design Statement) which was essentially landscape-led. NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON TRAFFIC AND PARKING There is an insufficient parking/dwelling ratio. Their plans allow for one car per housing unit, with few spaces surplus to this allowance. We do not believe that the surrounding already congested streets can accommodate the inevitable spill over. This development would significantly increase traffic flow in and around the area. No allocation has been made to amend or improve the existing weak road infrastructure. This lack of investment in conjunction with poor access points into and out of the site could threaten the safety of pedestrians and road users alike. Unlike the intermittent disruption and traffic congestion caused by the College, the impact of this new development will be felt all day, every day, forever. INAPPROPRIATE DESIGN This uniquely important site offers an opportunity to repair past errors and to create an ecologically sound and aesthetically satisfying scheme which would bring acclaim and greater prosperity to the whole area. STAG believes this development, if it is accepted in its present form by Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee, will lead to a fundamental change in the character and ambience of the whole of Burtons’ St Leonards and have serious consequences for the wider neighbourhood. Please give us your support. We will submit this petition on the 9th October 2009 (deadline for objections) to Hastings Borough Council, Gladedale and Laing. For more information about this campaign please click on the link to our website.