I have significant concerns regarding Hastings Borough Council passing its own application for a proposed new visitor centre at Hastings Country Park.
The impact on local residents, despite considerable and reasonable objections, seems to have been largely overlooked.
I, along with most people, do not disagree with the need for a new centre; however the size of the proposed development with outdoor classroom/amphitheatre will have a considerable effect on the local community. Fairlight Road is very narrow in places and already very congested, with large vehicles finding it difficult to pass each other in places and it is notable that two such vehicles got stuck not so long ago completely obstructing the road.
Groups of people attending the centre would lead to an increase in coach traffic along this already difficult stretch of road.
Since the introduction of the parking charge at the country park local residents have been affected by motorists parking on narrow, residential roads in order to avoid the charge. While there has not yet been mention of increased parking charges this development obviously has to be funded somehow. Increasing the parking charge will probably be their way of doing this, as the Visitor Centre itself is unlikely to meet it’s own running costs, yet alone produce a surplus. The impact of motorists parking in residential areas seems to have been completely overlooked by this application.
The residents of Fairlight (at least those who were made aware), including Fairlight Parish Council objected most strongly to this development.
While the current opening hours are restricted from 9am to 6pm, it would appear that the council has a desire to increase these subject to a further application. Noise in this area carries considerably from Hastings, down through the valley at Pett.
I am most surprised that this application has not grabbed the attention of residents in the way that Rocklands Caravan Park has recently. In the longer term this plan and proposed future developments will have a much more significant impact on the country park and surrounding area than a holiday bungalow.
Unfortunately it is now seems to be Government policy that councils have the right to approve their own planning applications seemingly unchallenged.
Peter James Lane