Hastings Borough Council (HBC) announced last week that Homes England has confirmed its grant of up to £6.9m to develop the first tier of open space at Bulverhythe behind Bexhill Road. The funding is part of the Local Authority Accelerated Construction programme, and is intended to help deliver around 190 new homes at this site.   

The council, which owns the land, has indicated that 76 of these homes (40%) will be made available as ‘affordable housing’, providing local residents with the opportunity to buy a home through shared ownership or to rent through a registered provider at an affordable price. Affordable rent will be based on the Hastings Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate.

Cllrs Cox and Batsford take a walk in Combe Valley
PICTURE: David Dennis

A planning application will be made in due course to Rother District Council. The land lies within Rother’s jurisdiction, even though owned by HBC. Before that, there was due to be a further public consultation event yesterday (31st October), and HBC will share “emerging proposals” followed by a Pre-Application Forum at a later date. Further information can be found at www.hastings.gov.uk/new-homes.

Local opposition to these plans has concentrated on their location on land that has regularly flooded in the past. Local ecologist and recently appointed steward at the country park, David Dennis, believes that the whole ecology of the park may be put at risk if the Tier 1 site is effectively removed from the flood plain – see his impassioned article below.

Cllrs Cox and Batsford take a walk in Combe Valley along with Friends treasurer William Ackroyd
PICTURE: David Dennis

Mr Dennis recently took the council’s lead member for housing, Andy Batsford, and fellow councillor Ruby Cox, who is chair of the Combe Valley Countryside Park community interest company, on a two-and-a-half hour ramble through the park to demonstrate the value of its existing role in sustaining local wildlife. It seems that he succeeded in this, but not in persuading either of them that the Tier 1 development should not proceed – see Cllr Batsford’s equally passionate article alongside. 

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