Harbour and marina plan is dead!

Hastings Green Party hopes its strong campaign opposing the proposed marina and harbour plan for Hastings Old Town may have influenced the decision by the scheme’s backers to withdraw its plans.

Hastings Green Party yesterday welcomed the news that the proposal to build a huge marina complex and hundreds of new homes on a platform in the sea at Rock-a-Nore has been withdrawn by its sponsor, the Hastings Harbour Quarter Company.

Hastings Greens were at the forefront of mobilising opposition to the scheme, handing in an 1,100-strong petition against the proposals in July, that petition was due to be discussed by Hastings Borough Council (HBC) cabinet members at their meeting on October 1st. When the agenda for that meeting was published yesterday it became clear that the existing scheme was dead: “The initial marina proposal that was the subject of the petition is being withdrawn by the sponsor,” the documents said.

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Views like these could have been wiped out if the development had gone ahead.

The same report, prepared by Simon Hubbard, Director of Operational Services says: “…the council will consider any further proposed developments for the Stade area as and when they arise, taking into account their feasibility, environmental sustainability, the economic and social benefits to Hastings, and contribution to achieving the council’s overall priorities.”

The harbour and marina plan was launched last year and proposed a development that would include a harbour and marina complex with space for up to 600 vessels, at least 1,400 new homes and retail and restaurant space. Once complete it was estimated that the complex would have created up to 300 full and part-time jobs. Those backing the bid pointed out that it would provide additional protection for the fishing fleet.

The petition organised by the local Green Party called on HBC to cease co-operation with Hastings Harbour Quarter Company, saying the project would do ‘irrevocable harm to some of the most precious assets of Hastings…. destroying the character of one of the best loved parts of our town’, they also pointed out that in their opinion the site was ‘completely inappropriate for such a massive development’, and that the houses built ‘would almost certainly be unaffordable to local people.’

Julia Hilton, Hastings Green Party spokesperson, said: ‘Hastings Green Party is delighted to hear that the incredibly destructive proposal for a marina at Rock a Nore has been withdrawn. We are pleased to have been able to give a voice to local people’s concerns and will continue to be vigilant in watching out for any new proposals that may come forward.

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Back in July Hastings’ Green party presented its petition against the proposed development to the town’s Mayor, Nigel Sinden.

“We will be presenting our case to the HBC cabinet on Monday October 1st for an alternative bottom-up approach to creating a vision for this town that listens and works with the huge creativity and energy of our local community, not top-down from secretive developers working behind closed doors. We encourage members of the public to attend to show their support and celebrate the good news for now.”

In September last year HBC’s Cabinet agreed to delegate authority for the Director of Operational Services in consultation with the council leader Peter Chowney to support the development of a strategic case for the construction of a Harbour Quarter at Rock a Nore. It recognised at the time, however that ‘very considerable obstacles’ existed to this type of scheme.

Obstacles included proximity to Site of Special Scientific Interest; transport and access; land ownership of the maritime area; a demonstration of viability; securing employment benefits for local people; enhancing leisure access to the sea for all; housing type and tenure and car parking.

Last night Hastings Old Town Councillor James Bacon told his social media followers: “Hopefully this will be the last of these proposals for Old Hastings Ward.”

The HBC Cabinet meeting on Monday 1 October will take place at Muriel Matters House in Breeds Place (TN34 3UY) from 6pm.

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