Ashdown House site in Harrow Lane, St Leonards. SUS-210917-114806001

Decision due on 151 new St Leonards homes and supermarket

A decision on a major St Leonards redevelopment project seeking to build 151 new homes, a supermarket and community centre is set to be made next week. 

By Huw Oxburgh, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 14th January 2022, 11:36 am
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 12:42 pm

An application for the major mixed use development, consisting of 151 new homes, a community centre and supermarket, on land between Sedlescombe Road North and Harrow Lane, is due to be discussed by Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (January 19).

The application is recommended for approval, although officers note that it conflicts with several local planning policies. 

In a report recommending the application be approved, a Hastings planning officer said: “It is a matter of planning balance as to whether planning permission is granted using all aspects of policy and guidance. 

“That is to say that even if all tests have not been met, the overarching argument still applies as to whether the benefits of the scheme, outweigh the potential impacts of not meeting every policy requirement.

“In applying the planning balance, there are clearly several factors that weigh both for and against the scheme as considered in detail above. 

“Most notably, these include the provision of much needed housing in the town, the provision of additional affordable homes for social rent, the clear financial link between the retail and residential elements of the scheme, the provision of a new community centre, balanced against the delivery of retail out of centre, the functionality of the play areas and the limited space for tree planting around the retail store. 

“Overall, and taking all these matters into account, it is considered that the public benefits of the scheme outweigh the planning policy conflicts.”

The local planning policy conflicts include a relatively small number of affordable properties (just 17 of the 151 homes).

According to the applicants, this is due to the viability of the site being diminished by the high cost of demolition and other site constraints. 

The 17 affordable homes, would be rented flats, which are to taken on by a registered social housing provider. This provider will also take ownership of the community centre building.

In addition, the applicants are offering financial contributions towards key infrastructure of more than £183,000.

Despite the size of the proposals, the public response to the scheme has been relatively muted. According to the planning report, the council has only received 18 public comments on the proposals. Of these, 14 were objections.

These objectors have raised concerns about the impact of the development on local infrastructure, in particular traffic on Sedlescombe Road North and Harrow Lane. 

For further information on the proposals see application reference number HS/FA/21/00003 on the Hastings Borough Council website.

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