Amazingly Short Notice On Local Plan Consultation

The following email has been received from Hastings Borough Council (on 2 September 2020):

“As you may have heard, we have been working on our new Local Plan for Hastings over the past few months and as you have previously opted in to hear from the Planning Policy team at Hastings Borough Council to receive updates about the Local Plan we wanted to give you an update on progress.

The new Local Plan will cover the period up to 2039 and will set out a vision for the borough and a plan for the development of the town.  We would like to get your early feedback on priority areas for the new plan and have developed a short questionnaire so you can submit your views.  If you wish to complete the questionnaire please do so by 10th September 2020.  

We have also launched a new webpage and there will be more opportunities to comment on our draft plan in the Autumn.  Further updates will be sent to keep you informed as things progress.”

Why the short notice? Who knows? Maybe it is a way of ensuring comments are kept to the minimum? 

Don’t let that happen – get your comments in before the deadline.

Competition Update

HUDG received a disappointingly low number of entries to the competition, and none demonstrated the innovation and local distinctiveness that we were hoping for. Consequently, we are unable to award any prizes for Stage 1, nor can we move forward to the next stage.

We would, however, like to thank those who took the trouble to enter.

St L Church 25_02_19 (17)
St L Church 25_02_19 (8)
St L Church 25_02_19 (3)
St L Church 25_02_19 (1)

Town Fund

HUDG, led by Chris Lewcock (former Chair), have put in a £2.5m detailed proposal to the Town Board in an attempt to secure funding for a significant renewal project for St Leonards centred around the now disused St Leonards Parish Church.

Essentially the proposals include bringing the church back into use as a “Science on Sea” museum, stabilisation of the cliff behind the church, creation of a new public plaza, and completing the long abandoned site on Undercliff with a small housing development.

Further details can be found in the Hastings Online Times article which can be accessed via the following link:

https://hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk/hot-topics/home-ground/science-on-sea-a-flagship-proposal-for-the-town-deal

Proposed Changes to the Planning System

Is the problem of too few houses being built really the fault of our, admittedly less than perfect, planning system?

According to recently published statistics it would appear not. On average across the UK the success rate for planning applications is 86%. Also across the UK over 400,000 houses with planning permission remain unbuilt, many of which have had permissions in place for over three years.

See the Guardian article for more details:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/07/number-of-unbuilt-homes-with-planning-permission-hits-record-levels-lga-says

LGA housing spokesman Cllr David Renard has said:

“The planning system is not a barrier to house building. The number of homes granted planning permission has far outpaced the number of homes being built. No-one can live in a planning permission, or a half-built house where work on a site has begun but not been completed. Councils need powers to tackle our housing backlog and step in where a site with planning permission lies dormant and house building has stalled. If we are to solve our housing shortage, councils need to be able to get building again and resume their role as major builders of affordable homes.”

Perhaps more and better resources should be allocated to speeding up the current system, with penalties in place for those developers who unjustifiably fail to deliver, and powers granted to local authorities to take over and complete stalled developments? Why go to the disruptive trouble and expense of building a new machine when the existing one can be modified?

Hastings Online Times has also published an article giving the individual views of two members of HUDG:

https://hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk/hot-topics/local-government/analysing-the-governments-proposed-planning-reforms