Development is cheap and overcrowded

I have lived in St Leonards for 28 years and seen and been involved in many enthusiastic campaigns.

The campaigns for the beach chalets, the bathing pool site and the link road were ignored by the council. It appears that Hastings Borough Council and, of course the planners, have one agenda only - their agenda.

It suits them to ignore the public. Time and time again I have witnessed this, after all I arrived in St Leonards in 1986 from a successful design business in London, just before the hurricane and witnessed the destruction of the Olympic-sized bathing pool and later the concrete chalets both designed by the famous Sidney Little. What a travesty.

I am of course responding to the recent plans from AmicusHorizon and PRP architects for the land at Filsham Road.

If it is so successful why is it producing a cheap overcrowded plan devoid of leisure facilities for the South Saxons Wetlands which shows no consideration for the local inhabitants, destroys the community centre and most important endangers the natural wildlife on the wetlands.

This site is designated to protect wildlife and natural vegetation. I have to say that a wonderful job has been achieved by the Friends of the West Saxons Wetlands. I see them through all weathers picking up the rubbish, tending the wetlands. They deserve a medal and certainly our support.

I understand that people are upset about the community centre which they fought so hard to obtain, however a community centre can be replaced, updated or moved but once you destroy a green site it is lost for ever and the environment and wildlife suffer.

Many counties in England are now considering wildlife, promoting green spaces, wild flower meadows. Shops are inundated with bird food, hedgehog and toad shelters. We are encouraged to plant bee-friendly flowers and seeds. TV and radio supply us with endless interesting information. Come on, Hastings Borough Council. Listen.

There are two valuable sites in West St Leonards, the bathing pool site and the South Saxons Wetlands. Both have attracted dubious property developers.

We must protect green sites if we are to protect the environment. The wetlands is a prime site after all it is the first impression of St Leonards. We should not be building on it at all. It is a wetland, floods every year making it impossible to walk on the ground from December onwards until approximately February . In the summer and spring in the meadow, I have witnessed a wonderful diversity of wild flowers, bluebells, cow parsley, hedge garlic, buttercups, meadowsweet, ramsons, teasels and yarrow.

The wildlife is in abundance and the chattering and bird song is a joy to behold. Foxes often amble through the beautiful cow parsley lined path that leads to Bexhill Road, frogs leap from the stream. I know it sounds idyllic but it is true. In summer an abundance of dragon flies, butterflies fly and zoom across your path as they gorge on the pollen-laden flowers.

To say that this wildlife haven will not be affected by building works is untrue. The redirection of the water which floods the meadow every year, the upheaval of the land with diggers, increased noise levels and traffic will of course affect the natural wildlife.

As far as the design is concerned I found that little if any thought was given to leisure facilities for both young and old. I have experience with vulnerable people, my daughter suffered severe brain damage through meningitis from six weeks old, my mother suffered with dementia until her demise. I would never consider shutting them away in small flats without suitable leisure facilities. I know that most pensioners love being around young people, it revitalises them and research has proved that they fare better in this environment as opposed to a residential home.

Little thought has been given to the community centre. It is ridiculous to put the community in the centre, sandwiched between affordable housing and vulnerable people. Can you imagine the complaints they will receive from elderly residents when parties are held at the centre?

Amicus may think it has ticked all the boxes by applying for the much-needed housing, however it has squeezed in too many people in a small area with little thought for the existing community. We are not even sure for whom this housing development is for. Will the development be used as a dumping ground by London councils?

La Verne Preston

Conqueror Road

St Leonards