Hastings Borough Council (HBC) is neither supporting nor opposing proposals for a harbour and marina development at the eastern end of the Hastings seafront says council leader Peter Chowney.
Council officers did accompany the developers to a meeting with government officials to request government funding for feasibility and associated studies. But as yet, no decision has been made.
But unsubstantiated rumour is muddying the waters over just what is happening Mr Chowney says: “There is quite a bit of fake news circulating about this, so for the record, no decision has been made. The council is at the moment neither supporting nor opposing it, but needs more detail before making anything resembling a decision.”
And in his monthly report prepared for HBC Mr Chowney points out that
• The council is not funding any feasibility studies, nor anything else associated with the project;
• The project is at this stage only conceptual and the council has no idea yet what any development would look like, or what it would involve.
He says there are a number of demands that would need to be met before HBC could consider whether to support and proposed development. These would include a requirement for at least 25 per cent social rented housing, no loss of car parking, no interference to the fishery and the support of the fishery and no interference or damage to businesses or attractions along Rock-a-Nore.
“There has also been talk about how the development, by its mere presence, will spoil the ‘ancient’ area along Rock-a-Nore. So it is perhaps worth noting that it really isn’t that ancient,” says Mr Chowney.
“Just 50 years ago, the area would have been unrecognisable. Many of the buildings that were there then have gone and many of the buildings that are there now have been built since the 1970s, including the fishmarket, fishery offices, the two fish shops at the front of the fishmarket, the Shipwreck Museum, the Sea Life Centre, the Ice House flats, the souvenir shop, the telehoist workshop, the Stade Café, Stade Open Space, Jerwood Gallery, and the Stade Hall. Even the net shops are effectively modern replicas, as all the wood they’re made of has been replaced over the years several times.
“As a busy, working, urban area, it’s been subject to continuous change over 1,000 years and those changes will continue for the next 1,000 years. Whether a harbour is part of that remains to be seen but this certainly isn’t the first proposal for a harbour – there have been at least five since the original harbour silted up 700 years ago – and it probably won’t be the last.”