Hastings and Rye Green Party (HRGP) has expressed serious concerns about the Hastings Harbour Quarter project which could bring an annual boost of £26m according to Hastings council. The plans unveiled last month could see around 1300 new homes being built, create jobs, enhanced marina, create extra parking and space for up to 600 vessels.
But HRGP have said the plans are ‘inappropriate for Hastings’ and could cause ‘serious environmental damage’ to the local area. Adding that the group believes that the harbour will cause a significant increase in traffic, the housing would be for new homeowners moving to Hastings rather than being easily accessible and affordable for local people who need a home.
Julia Hilton, HRGP spokesperson, said, “ It must also provide value for money and be environmentally sustainable, as well as putting the needs of our local community uppermost. At first sight, the current marina proposal does not seem to pass these vital tests and we have serious concerns about whether it is an appropriate development for Hastings. We will be doing further research with a view to making a formal decision on our position within the next month .”
This is not only a concern of HRGP but Hastings council Labour leader Peter Chowney has voiced the same concerns about the harbour. Chowney said he would personally like to see “at least 25% of the new homes as social housing.”
Although developers are confident that the new plans that the heart of the scheme is to preserve and enhance Hastings unique maritime heritage for years to come. The scheme has seen a divide in opinions across the coastal town, but a public consultation is to be held which regarding the size, location, and access arrangements .
Hastings Borough council had a cabinet meeting simply discussing the proposed plans with directors from the Hastings Harbour Quarter project last month. The directors outlined that the scheme is still in it’s early stages of development but the clear outputs are that they want to have a protected launch/landing site for the Hastings Fishing Fleet.
In the meeting the directors also said ‘It is critical that any development complements the natural and human made environment of Hastings. Indeed, it is these factors that make it attractive for such a development, and they should be retained or enhanced wherever possible.’
Focusing on the environmental affects which was of key significance and issue in the meeting, it was said “in and around the development including the seabed, marine life, marine archaeology, cliffs, country park, traffic and appearance of the town needing to be properly assessed, particularly in relation to the valuable existing natural and human-made resource around Rock a Nore and the Old Town”
The directors have studied the seaside town for nearly three years, the project is now seeking support for the process of studying the idea of building a harbour.
MP for Hastings and Rye, Amber Rudd has responded to the plans. She said “we must make sure this development is in the best interests of our community. I’m pleased there will be further discussion and consideration of the proposals before a decision is made on whether to take it forward.”