Proposed Submission Core Strategy

Ended on the 11 November 2011
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Scope and Issues

9.1 The built-up area of Hastings extends in most parts up to the Borough boundary, with a number of its peripheral areas extending over into Rother district. For the purposes of this chapter, the area defined as Hastings Fringes relates to those areas that are contiguous with the built up area of Hastings extending within Rother district. Consideration has been given to policy for these urban fringes that would help support Hastings Borough Council’s aspirations, as well as help meet needs of Rother’s residents and businesses in the fringe.

9.2 Bexhill and Hastings play complementary roles within the wider area and each town’s prosperity is closely linked. A shared approach to the regeneration of Hastings and Bexhill has been agreed by the respective Councils (see ‘Overall Spatial Strategy’ chapter) and reflects a recognition that strategies for development and change for Hastings and Bexhill need to be consistent and complementary, to be fully effective.

(2) 9.3 Generally, these fringe areas are heavily constrained, principally by the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) designation. It is also considered important to retain effective countryside gaps between Hastings and Battle, Bexhill, Crowhurst and Fairlight. Potential development is also limited by access and topographical factors. In particular, further development off The Ridge may increase congestion at key junctions and on town centre approaches, and some emphasis should be afforded to by non-car modes of transport. Also, although physically close to a large service centre, many peripheral areas relate far more to their rural surroundings than to the town and are important to its setting.

9.4 Further information relating to the detailed elements of this chapter can be found in the Hastings Fringes Background Paper.


9.5 The Strategic Objective for the Hastings fringes falling within Rother district is:

‘To provide attractive and accessible fringes of Hastings, consistent with environmental designations.’

9.6 The following objectives elaborate upon this.

Hastings Fringes Objectives:

  1. To contribute to the setting of Hastings and, where appropriate, Bexhill;

  2. To provide accessible green space in line with identified needs and opportunities;

  3. To ensure that any development in the Rother district is well integrated with Hastings, and contributes to its regeneration wherever possible, and complements respective strategies for Hastings and Bexhill.

Policy areas

Urban Fringe Management and Pebsham Countryside Park

9.7 Part of the area between Hastings and Bexhill has been for a long time despoiled by established land raise and associated waste operations. Although its current operation is expected to cease operations in 2014, there will be continued use of land within this area used for waste collection, in line with the East Sussex County Council Waste and Minerals Plan. It is important that such operations should be contained and not conflict with the aims and objectives of the Pebsham Countryside Park. This land is seen as potentially providing a valuable “green lung” between the towns, as well as helping to retain their distinct identities.

(1) 9.8 This has resulted in proposals for the ‘Pebsham Countryside Park’, which will be used as a countryside open space to serve both towns. It is a joint project between Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council. The project will develop and enhance the green space between Hastings, Bexhill and Crowhurst, an area of approximately 600 hectares. The space will be used for leisure, relaxation, sport, ecology and education. The Park will provide access to the countryside, whilst balancing the need to proactively manage wildlife habitats. Current plans envisage the Countryside Park consisting of an activity park in the vicinity of the landfill site, a coastal park to its south, a wetland wildlife area to the north and an environmental educational centre to the north east.

9.9 The Countryside Park will help to meet identified open space deficiency within the locality as identified within the East Sussex Open Spaces Strategy and is fundamental in achieving the shared approach to regeneration for Bexhill and Hastings.

9.10 Another area of potential for a joint urban fringe management approach is to the north of Hastings either side of the railway as it approaches The Ridge, with Rock Lane to the east and Ivyhouse Lane to the west. This area lies within the High Weald AONB, but its quality could be improved. Moreover, it could provide a valuable amenity for the surrounding areas, especially if access opportunities were increased. Potential development in this locality should be viewed in the context of an area-based initiative.

Development opportunities

9.11 Given the High Weald AONB designation and landscape constraints around the Hastings fringe areas, as well as traffic congestion issues, especially along The Ridge, it is considered that there is limited potential for growth in this area.

(1) 9.12 Earlier suggestions for development in the Breadsell Farm and Wilting Farm areas are not being progressed; due primarily to Hastings Borough Council’s decision not to pursue the former following advice from Natural England and by the prospects of a new railway station at Wilting being unlikely in the foreseeable future. Notwithstanding this, the Council will work in partnership with key agencies to further investigate the business case for a new station.

9.13 The Government’s recent decision to not pursue the Baldslow Improvement, which would have increased capacity at the junction of The Ridge with the A21 is also a factor. The Council will continue to lobby for improvements and will work with the respective highway authorities and Hastings Borough Council to investigate the potential for alternative means of increasing highway capacity in the Baldslow area. It means that improving bus services, and usage, on the outskirts of Hastings and between the western and northern parts of Hastings and Bexhill and Battle are the more important.

9.14 It is considered that there may be some potential for additional small-scale development, albeit limited by access issues and impact on the High Weald AONB and the wider landscape. Priority will be made for employment floorspace within the fringe areas, over other forms of development, in accordance with overarching agreed regeneration focus.

(1) 9.15 The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) identified only little potential for sustainable housing development along the fringe in recognition of the constraints in this area. Hence, housing numbers are limited to 45-80 dwellings, some of which will be achieved through outstanding permissions.

9.16 Further allocations for both business and housing development will be considered within the Site Allocations and Development DPD.

(6) Policy HF1: The Hastings Fringes

The strategy for conservation and development in the Hastings Fringes is to:

  1. Continue to develop proposals for the establishment of the Pebsham Countryside Park between Bexhill and Hastings, including through securing appropriate developer contributions;

  2. Take a holistic approach to the use and management of land between Ivyhouse Lane and Rock Lane to secure environmental and access improvements in association with any development in the locality;

  3. Maintain strategic countryside gaps between Hastings/St Leonards and Bexhill, Battle, Crowhurst and Fairlight;

  4. Further investigate opportunities to improve access to the A21 at Baldslow, including through bus improvements;

  5. Retain and give priority to further employment creating development of at least 3,000 sq m, primarily by the expansion of existing sites, subject to satisfactory landscape impact and access arrangements;

  6. Provide 45-80 net additional dwellings between 2011-2028.

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