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Proposed Development on former Hollingsworths Site - Braybrooke Road

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A detailed response to EXIT's
"New homes proposed for Braybrooke Road, Hastings Public Consultation: March 2008"

"Let's get this straight, we would rather the site remained undeveloped than the proposed massive overdevelopment went ahead".
This was the actual quote expressed by a large number of residents when asked to expand on the notion that they wanted the site developed. They had come to the 'consultation' expecting to see a sympathetic plan for the site.

 

This document follows Exit Asset management's document layout and seeks to address their oversimplification of the results of their "consultation" The original document upon which this is based can be found here

My comments are in red.

If I say anything here that is untrue or misleading then let me know (email below) and I'll put it right - click here for the guest book Ion Castro

Page 2 - Introduction
Page 3 - Methodology
Page 4 - Feedback
Page 5 - Height
Page 6 - Use
Page 7 - Traffic (Volume & Safety)
Page 8 - Views & Permeability
Page 9 - Car Parking
Page 10 - Community Facilities
Page 11 - General comments

Page 2

Introduction

In December 2008 2007 surely?, property developers EXIT Asset Management appointed consultants to develop and facilitate a public consultation programme to present the early stage proposals for new homes on the derelict site on Braybrooke Road , Hastings . The consultation forms part of the design process led by appointed architects RH Partnership.

The site is derelict, unused, previously the site of a vehicle repair centre which closed in 1999, but has been identified in the local area plan for residential use. Planning consent was granted for 56 flats in 1993 (permission was renewed in 1997) and this number of units is being held up as a minimum target by the local authority. Not so, the site is allocated for 56 units within Policy H1 of the Hastings Local Plan 2004.
The Policy states:- POLICY H1 - Housing Sites
To meet the outstanding requirement for housing provision over the Plan period, the following sites are allocated for residential development:
The housing figures shown represent the minimum number of dwellings which will be sought on each site, subject to further detailed investigations at the planning application stage

This is a difficult site for development and in order for the scheme to be viable, the developers are looking for a higher density development. Early stage proposals are for between 60-100 apartments on the site.

Hosted by EXIT Asset Management, a series of consultation events were held in March 2008, including presentations to council officers and businesses (3rd March), residents (3rd and 7th March), and special interest groups (7th March). The exhibition displayed at the workshops was set up in the foyer of the Town Hall, in order that councillors might view the proposals and comment (31st March).

The purpose of the consultation was to present the initial concepts for development on the site and to seek the views of local people. 500 letters and 500 follow up invitations were distributed to residents in Braybrooke Road and Lower Park Road . Email invitations were issued to councillors, council officers, special interest groups and local businesses. All comments were recorded and have been fed back to the client group in order to develop the proposals further. Additional consultation is likely at the next stage of design development, prior to producing final designs for submission as part of a planning application.

This report records all verbal and written feedback from the consultation workshops and exhibition.

“This is a prominent site, with excellent views of the castle and the sea, and is highly visible. It is also in a sensitive residential area and we are consulting with local people at a very early stage in order to present the initial thinking and gauge people's views.” Sky Grove, RH Partnership.

Top of page Page 3

Methodology

Separate consultation events were held for different interest groups taking place over two days in March 2008 as follows:

3 March, UCH, Havelock Road , Hastings
• Meeting with Businesses
• Meeting with Residents

6 March, UCH, Havelock Road , Hastings
• Meeting with Councillors (cancelled)

7 March, UCH, Havelock Road , Hastings
• Meeting with Residents
• Meeting with Special Interest Groups

31 March, Town Hall, Hastings
• Exhibition for councillors & officers

The consultation workshops were facilitated by Linda Stevens, Stevens Associates, with presentations by Sky Grove, RH Partnership Architects, structured as follows:

• A formal presentation by the project team detailing the background to the project, the design proposals (architecture and landscape) at a very early stage of development.

• A supporting exhibition

• Participants were encouraged to express any concerns and ideas during the presentation and were invited to express their views on post it notes / comment cards.

• The final exhibition board gave people the opportunity to say whether or not they supported the proposals in principle and their thoughts and ideas for community facilities on the site.

The consultation presented detailed information about the proposals and provided an opportunity to ask questions, although no presentations were made as part of the exhibition for councillors - because of the sensitivities regarding the planning committee and the forthcoming local elections.

All feedback will be taken into consideration by the project team.

“It looks like being a quality scheme that will be welcomed, and I am happy to support the proposals for residential development on this site.” Town Centre Manager - dunno what scheme he was looking at!

“I want to ensure the site (odd shape, but attractive, near the park etc) has something worthy of Hastings on it.” Resident and that doesn't include the overdevelopment that you propose

“Good idea, especially with the park opposite” Business representative .

“Fantastic views” Resident - shame we'll lose ours

“Density looks good” Councillor - I'd love to meet the councillor who owns up to this one!

Top of page Page 4

Feedback

A summary of feedback by subject or issue, is reported. Answers to questions are included as far as possible at this stage of the project's development

Architecture

• ‘Everyone talks about high quality at this stage of the project. But when it comes to building, the quality often deteriorates in favour of cost cutting / profit.'

• ‘If consent is given, please keep quality high - a balcony for every flat, shared outside space, roof terraces.' - so that we can be overlooked

• ‘What will the interiors look like – it is important to maintain quality - things like windows / spaces etc.' after some pressure the architect admitted that the largest master bedrooms would be 3m x 4m - wow you'll just get a double bed in there

• ‘The development on Earl Street right on the railway, looks like a prison – it steps straight out onto railway land. I have humanitarian concerns about building next to railway land. The Council is granting planning permissions to derive revenue rather than making a contribution to Hastings society.'

• ‘The Sure Start centre looks good.' ....yes, and?

• ‘How is it going to look from the other side – from the town centre? There are no drawings to illustrate it.' - I'm not surprised, the sheer bulk of the proposal would be horrendous

• ‘People feel more relaxed about something they can look down on.'

• ‘Make the buildings as permeable as you can.'

• ‘Repetition of the boxed bays in the terraced houses would be quite good.'

• ‘It would be good to know what it is going to look like.'

• ‘Older houses with roofs look attractive. New buildings don't look attractive.'

• ‘Go for something more contemporary than exists currently.'

• ‘Why are you making balconies north facing?'

• ‘The proposals look less than desirable as quality housing.'

• ‘What will it look like from the town centre?'

• ‘What will the roofs be covered in? Flat roofs? Green roofs?' - won't matter - with the height of the development no-one will see them

• ‘Broken roof scheme.'

• ‘It must be well built and well designed.'

• ‘Iconic, but PLEASE not retro Victorian'

• ‘Seagull proof buildings - no flat roofs'

Environmental & Visual Impact

• ‘Please maintain high building standards and follow Best Environmental practice as defined by BREEAM (//www.breeam.org/index.jsp).'

• ‘Environmental rating - what level will the buildings be taken to?'

• ‘Bear in mind, if the project is delayed, your required renewable targets would be greater. Hastings Borough Council core strategy will be published at the end of the year.‘ - oh, better get consent before standards are raised then

• ‘Take away the construction waste by train.'

• ‘What about energy efficiency? (code for sustainable homes)' - naaah, that'd eat into the profits!

• ‘Train line not too busy (Ashford line) so not going to be too much of a problem for new residents.'

• ‘Solar panels, energy e!cient methods please'

“We will probably work to level 3 environmental standards, as dictated by costs.”

“We are looking at integral environmental considerations but structural constraints may require concrete for this project.” Sky Grove, project architect. - i.e. it won't make the developer as much profit

Top of page Page 5

Height

• ‘Far too big'

• ‘Too high'

• ‘Concern about building on bottom corner – will overshadow existing houses'

• ‘Too big'

• ‘Very concerned about the view from Lower Park Road gardens now looking at a 9 storey wall of a building. Buildings far too high at this end.'

• ‘Buildings should stay at only four floors maximum'

• ‘Should go for a greater number of storeys to improve views and reflect the development of Hastings in general.' - yeah, wonderful if you're looking out, but ghastly for Hastings' townscape. Why not go the whole hog and build on Hastings Castle - you'd get an even better view.

• ‘Concern about building high on bottom corner – overshadowing anything that is below it. 9 storeys is too many. Even six storeys compared to certain road levels would be too much. More studies needed.' I think "even four stories" was the actual quote

• ‘Very prominent site. Visible from lots of different parts of town.' not half!!!

This is a difficult site, narrow and steep, and will be expensive to develop. Early cost analysis indicates that in order for the scheme to be viable, a minimum number of units will be needed. Just how much profit do you want to make?

The site has been allocated for residential use, with a minimum target of 56 units requested by Hastings Borough Council officers.
Not so, the site is allocated for 56 units within Policy H1 of the Hastings Local Plan 2004.
The Policy states:- POLICY H1 - Housing Sites
To meet the outstanding requirement for housing provision over the Plan period, the following sites are allocated for residential development:
The housing figures shown represent the minimum number of dwellings which will be sought on each site, subject to further detailed investigations at the planning application stage - remember - the last application for this number failed.

Density

• ‘I see density is an issue given the size of the plot – are there any initial thoughts on the number and make-up of housing units?'

• ‘Not concerned with density just street scene.'

• ‘Too dense'

• ‘My instinct is against high density – unless you can prove it can be successful'

• ‘60-100 units is good news, considering the availability of land. Local authority targets reflect government position on higher densities. Residential mix – should include affordable.' - good news for whom?

• ‘This is already a dense town. Further density will cause problems. Good quality design can mitigate issues but got concerns about how it's going to look from the town centre. Sketch of that would be helpful.'

•‘Housing numbers are very good. We need more housing in Hastings .' yeah - why not build on the West Hill as well

•‘The proposed density of the scheme is excellent.' for whom? - not for the area, local residents or even prospective occupiers, especially if they have children.

 

Top of page Page 6

Use

• ‘Residential use, but not so many units'

• ‘Not a mixture of social and private – just private housing'

• ‘Not sure about 100% social rented. Have you thought about shared ownership? Estate Agents agree there is a massive market for shared ownership in Hastings .'

• ‘It is not viable as residential – build something else.'

• ‘Leave it derelict.'

• ‘Make the whole site a car park for the college.'

• ‘What about a Nursing Home.'

• ‘Town houses instead of flats please, joining up what pre-existed.'

• ‘25% affordable housing needs to be managed. Which housing association are you talking to? How will they be managed?'

• ‘What about Shops?'

• ‘This will add to population in the area / increase foot traffic into Waterworks Road . Is this good or bad?'

• ‘Make it into a park''=

Market Demand

• ‘From Estate Agent point of view, these flats would sell easily. Even with a view that takes in a town centre, the views are stunning. - almost as good as building on Hastings Castle

1 bed flat would sell at £125k 45-50m

2 bed flat would sell at £145k 70-75m'

• ‘Is this a stamp duty free area? If so, the duty stays at 1% for up to £150k.'

• ‘Will the flats have gas central heating?'

• ‘Will they have under floor heating? Gas or electric? This would make them more attractive.'

• ‘£125k would buy more than a one bed flat in Hastings . Why would you want to live here?'

These flats would sell...the views are stunning. Estate Agent. Why not build in the middle of the park - there'd be stunning views there as well

The site is located in a superb elevated position above Hastings town centre. Braybrooke Road is within walking distance of the town centre and would be considered to be a desirable residential location. Savills Report

 

Top of page Page 7

Traffic (Volume & Safety)

•‘Problems entering onto the existing ring road from site'

•‘Extra traffic problem caused by emerging vehicles'

•‘Traffic is a big issue. This is a ring road. Entrances on the brow of the hill will be dangerous, visibility is poor especially in bright sunlight.'

•‘Traffic calming is needed'

•‘Busy road – this is a ring road'

•‘Traffic safety – this is a ring road. Fast traffic and access to and from site will create a conflict'

•‘Daily journeys in and out of the site – will they be safe?'

•‘An independent traffic report is needed'

•‘The pedestrian crossing is in the wrong place' Stability

•‘Stability of site (railway line / area built on spoil from the railway line) is a big worry'

•‘Major concern about the stability of the site - have you consulted with Network Rail? Structural work needs to be done on their land'

•‘We have major retaining walls on our boundary'

•‘The site is unstable – just look at the lintels of the Victorian houses. Site surveys don't show the information'

•‘Water / flood system is an issue for the whole of this part of Hastings . A lot of water runs underneath the site. Compensation for inconvenience of lorries driving piles and movement of houses.'

Considerate Contractors

• ‘What about the impact of the construction? We're already finding cracks in our houses from the heavy construction traffic on the Station Plaza site. What about compensation?'

• ‘Construction methods – will it be noisy? ( Station Plaza is right next to the railway line – why don't they take the spoil away by train?)'

• ‘Screw piling will be quieter'

‘Please just get on with developing the site. But there is a genuine concern about traffic flow and parking that needs to be carefully considered.' Resident

Top of page Page 8

Views & Permeability

• ‘Fantastic views to and from site'

• ‘Would balconies be at the back of the properties too? This would be the best way of enjoying the views.'

• ‘Maintaining the views through the buildings is a good idea. Gaps are nice but I don't understand the glazed links - don't see how they will be a benefit. Can you see the sea through them?'

• ‘Views – why keep the lie of the twitten opposite – it makes for a very limited panorama - turn the view towards the castle and the sea / i.e. by 60 degrees and follow the line of houses opposite lower park road'

• ‘What will the impact be from West Hill?'

• ‘Heights / massing will create shadows and take away our views.'

• ‘Entrances to pedestrian access should be transparent.'

• ‘Will we be overlooked (houses adjacent to site)?' What do you think with 10 stories towering over you

 

Streetscape

• ‘The 56 flats application was refused because it didn't follow the contours of the land and didn't respect the building line. It was described as “massive overdevelopment.” You can't get a quality development on this site, it's too small.'

Landscape

• ‘Landscape planting by the railway won't be seen, because of the slope.'

• ‘This is a focused on young professionals – it would be better to think wider - what about families?

Playspace?'

• ‘Will you negotiate with Network Rail for the land at the corner of the site.; it is not well maintained.'

• ‘What about terraces from railway line up to the buildings (we all have terraced gardens). Our children would play up in the apple trees at the top of the garden. Where will the children play

‘Maintaining the views through the buildings is a good idea.' Resident

‘Turn the view towards the castle and the sea and follow the line of houses opposite lower park road.' Resident

Top of page Page 9

Car Parking

• ‘Parking – major issue if flats have more than one car.'

• ‘Car parking for 1 and 2 bed flats – people will have more than one car per household.'

• ‘Pressure on on-road parking, particularly with the new college building which includes 100 flats. Quite a lot of people will come by car. Adding to a problem that already exists. More people will need to get into the town centre / need to find a parking place.'

• ‘Residents parking for area to protect the terraced houses.'

• ‘Car parking overspill onto Braybrooke Road is a serious concern. What about 4 car families? It will be a big problem. Lower Park Road is residents parking.'

• ‘Braybrooke road should also be residents parking. Whole hill is free parking for 2 hours at moment, with residents parking. It should all be residents parking.'

• ‘ Hastings doesn't have the infrastructure it needs for all this development and increased traffic.'

• ‘Have you done any research into the number of cars per household?'

• ‘How would the control of parking work?'

Safety & Security

• ‘Underpass was upgraded but deteriorated again recently'

• ‘Undercroft parking is a vandal magnet.'

• ‘At the roundabout end – crime / loitering / collection point'

• ‘Brow of a hill – sunlight blinds drivers as they travel up the hill.'

• ‘Do up the underpass (working with local artists, using robust, vandal proof materials.'

Bikes & Bins

• ‘The proposed housing will have excellent access to the new Hastings Cycling and Walking network which Nick Hanna & Co are working on in conjunction with partners including HBC, HACT, Sustrans etc. The network passes through the Bethune Way underpass and (hopefully!) will give car-free access all the way from here up to the Millennium Community and the new college campus in Ore Valley and in the other direction to the seafront via Station Plaza and the town centre. Additionally, a further route will lead from Bethune Way through Alexandra Park to the Conquest Hospital and Hollington.'

• ‘Therefore, we would strongly recommend that secure, covered bike parking facilities for residents are designed as an integral part of this development (siting them at the lower, north-easternmost end would give the easiest access to the network).'

• ‘Could it make use of extended Greenway and cycle access into town centre?'

• ‘Greenway link into town.'

• ‘Greenway – where is it going to go? ‘

• ‘Wheelie bins unsightly – solution to hide them is good. shame that even more on-street parking will be lost providing access Will the council collect the bins from organized areas?'

• ‘We are currently working on two separate blueprints for different Greenway cycle paths, both of which happen to converge on Bethune Way . It would be absolutely wonderful if we could integrate these with the development.'

• ‘Need to think about underpass for Greenway link.'

Top of page Page 10

Community Facilities

• ‘Cycle shop - including provision for bike hire (link with Greenway). Hastings looking to extend links for bikes.' - to go where?

• ‘Not sure we need community facilities here – outside the town centre. A gym wouldn't appeal'

• ‘A shop'

• ‘A community centre with meeting rooms'

• ‘Public toilet'

• ‘Play area for children'

• ‘Community hub - need a hub for some of the voluntary services in Hastings .'

• 'Internet cafes come and go. Gyms don't add anything.'

• ‘Convenience store.'

• ‘There's a good café in the park already and there's an application for another one.'

• ‘Community hub would be good if it could lighten up the corner of the site.'

• ‘Community facility – early days but conference room for meetings?'

• ‘Improve the underpass? CCTV good idea.'

• ‘Community benefits – swings for adults and children.'

• ‘Community facility – garden with slides'

• ‘Is there a section 106 agreement?'

• ‘Play facilities on the site – shouldn't they be integral?'

• ‘Cafe / Delicatessen.'

• ‘Cafe / Shop.'

 

Children's Facilities

• ‘There is a lack of children's facilities that are safe.'

• ‘You have not made any provision on the site for children.'

• ‘With 25% social housing on the site, you will need to accommodate integral play facilities. There will be children.'

• ‘What about School places? Will there be a problem with school capacity?'

Landowner Responsibilities

• ‘Please note that a wall was knocked down and needs to be rebuilt at some point.'

• ‘The wind has blown down the hoardings; when will they be reinstated?'

• ‘Is there a risk of Buy to leave – a phrase coined by Erica Smith – situation in town.'

• ‘Landowner sells on at a profit a site that has secured planning permission and never has any intention to build. E.g. Observer building.'

• ‘Each time it gets sold, more units, more profit. Sceptical about developers for that reason.'

• ‘Who is EXIT Asset Management?' click here

• ‘We'd like to know what else they have done in the area. Who actually owns the site?' This was never answered but click here

• ‘Please could you take down the Ford sign pole'.

Top of page Page 11

General comments

• ‘Thank you for the information – It looks like being a quality scheme that will be welcomed, and I am happy to support the proposals for residential development on this site.' but NOT on the proposed scale

• ‘As a resident of Braybrooke Road , I am pleased that at last something will be done with the Hollingsworth site. I have been here for 6 years and seen nothing done on the site. I am aware of the previous planning which was unacceptable due to a number of things. I look forward to seeing your plans'

• ‘Pleased to hear there is movement'

• ‘I want to ensure the site (odd shape, but attractive, near the park etc) has something worthy of Hastings on it.'

• ‘Good idea overall' what's a good idea? - the idea of building or the size of it?

• ‘Overall a good idea' what's a good idea? - the idea of building or the size of it?

• ‘I think it's what the area needs. Ideal, with the park opposite etc.'

• ‘It would be good to have the site developed.'

• ‘Please just get on with it.'

Consultation

• ‘Hadn't heard of a new proposal for the Ford site but would be very interested in knowing more as I am sure would the other residents in Braybrooke Rd.'

• ‘I look forward to participating in the debate'

• ‘More consultation is needed'

• ‘Thank you for consulting with local people early.'

• ‘The exhibition looks very professional, thank you.'

   
 

Contact Ion Castro - 119 Braybrooke Road, TN34 1TQ - 01424 437468. He will co-ordinate a working party and we will need more volunteers to help with petitions, letters, for lobbying Hastings Borough Council.

 
email Ion -
 
   
Braybrooke Councillors Contact Cllr.godfrey.daniel@hastings.gov.uk or cllr.dominic.sabetian@hastings.gov.uk

Braybrooke and Hastings deserves better - the current proposal just isn't good enough.

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