Core Strategy Preferred Approaches

Ended on the 8 July 2008
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What is this document about?

1.1 Planning affects many aspects of our lives – from where we live, work and shop to where and how we can spend leisure time. Effective planning is about managing change rather than letting it happen in an unplanned way.

1.2 The Government introduced a new national planning system in September 2004, uniting traditional planning techniques with other local policies and strategies such as the “Hastings & St Leonards Community Strategy”. The term given to this is ‘spatial planning’.

1.3 Under the new national system there will be a regional planning strategy, called “The South East Plan”, and the Hastings Local Development Framework (LDF) will replace the 2004 Hastings Local Plan. Together these documents will form the statutory plan for Hastings.

The Hastings Local Development Framework

1.4 The Hastings LDF will be a portfolio of different planning documents, maps and written policies to show where, in what form and in what quantities development can take place. The documents that will make up the Hastings LDF are described below:

  • Local Development Scheme (LDS) – the timetable for the new planning documents to be produced. Our revised LDS was adopted in April 2007.
  • Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) - this sets out how you can get involved in the preparation of Local Development Framework documents. We adopted this in June 2006.
  • Core Strategy - this is what you’re reading now and will inform the other LDF documents as they’re written over the next few years. More detail about developing the Core Strategy is given below.
  • Site Specific Allocations - this will identify proposed development sites to meet the vision identified in the Core Strategy. Work will begin on this document in 2008 with adoption due in 2010.
  • Area Action Plans - Areas with specific needs will have these action plans written especially for them.
  • Proposals Map - We'll produce a map to show how the Local Development Framework will affect Hastings & St Leonards.

Further information about The Core Strategy

1.5 The Core Strategy will provide a long-term strategy to deliver regeneration and sustainable growth in the town over the next 20 years. It will not be concerned with individual development sites or specific details. Its purpose is to set an overall framework for the future of the town and will:

  • set out the vision for the future sustainable development and regeneration of the town up to 2026
  • identify the key issues to be addressed through the planning system and set out generally how we intend to deliver new housing, jobs and infrastructure and will also contain policies for protecting our most important green spaces and historic townscapes.
  • set out how we’ll accommodate future levels of housing growth proposed through the South East Plan.
  • set guidelines for the pattern of land uses around the town.
  • form the context for other LDF documents that will be prepared in the future.
  • clearly show how planning policies and the use of land will support the key targets in the Community Strategy.
  • join up planning and land issues with plans and proposals affecting health, equalities, community safety, housing, regeneration, community development, employment, education, transport and the environment set out in the Hastings & St Leonards Community Strategy.

Writing the Core Strategy

1.6 There are three stages to producing the Core Strategy. The first stage – “Issues and Options” - was carried out at the end of 2006, when we presented an overview of the local issues, and suggested options for addressing them. We asked for comments, inviting further issues and options to be identified too.

1.7 This next stage – “Preferred Approaches” – has taken into consideration:

  • the comments we received as part of the “Issues and Options” consultation.
  • studies that have looked at issues such as flood risk and land for housing.
  • assessments of the environmental, economic and social impacts of the different issues and options that have been put forward

1.8  A third and final version will be submitted to the Government for approval in 2010.

The Rules

1.9 It’s important to realise that we do not have an entirely free hand to decide what is and what is not included in this LDF Core Strategy. We have to follow government guidance on the type of subjects to address, the level of detail, and the length of the document.

1.10 This “Core Strategy Preferred Approaches document” is not simply a re-write of the 2006 “Issues and Options” document, which went into more detail and background. Instead it lays out a preferred approach having considered the issues and options, comments on those issues and options, and evidence from further studies.

Documents informing the Hastings LDF

1.11 It’s also important to recognise that the planning process at a national level is in a period of great change, and the Hastings LDF is informed by a number of documents, some of which are still in draft format. These include:

The South East Plan

1.12 The Regional Strategy, known as the South East Plan, will contain a policy explaining how many houses will need to be built in Hastings from 2006 to 2026, and is not a matter of choice for us. Therefore the role of our Core Strategy will be to decide, in strategic terms, where best to locate the number of new homes that the South East Plan says must be built. The South East Plan is scheduled for approval in Autumn 2008. You can get further information about the South East Plan at

1.13 In regional policy terms, the economic and urban link-up between Hastings and Bexhill has been recognised in the March 2006 “State of English Cities” report. This report identifies Hastings/Bexhill is one of 56 Primary Urban Areas in England. Within the South East Plan, Hastings is identified as a regional hub, located within the South East Plan Sussex Coast Sub-Region. The Regional Economic Strategy (RES) also recognises the town’s regional hub status located within the Coastal South East Sub-Region (including and centred on the Brighton Diamond for Growth). The RES Coastal South East Region, is wider than the South East Plan Sussex Coast Sub-Region, and links Hastings with Thanet, another persistently deprived area also a recipient of Working Neighbourhoods Funding. There are also links with other English seaside towns with similar problems, such as Great Yarmouth, highlighted in a recent Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee Report.

The County Plan

1.14 The East Sussex, Brighton and Hove Structure Plan gives strategic planning guidance for East Sussex up to 2011.

1.15 Other plans and strategies that the Core Strategy must be consistent with include the Community Strategy, the Hastings and Bexhill Five Point Plan and Towards A Masterplan for Hastings and Bexhill.

Sustainability Appraisals

1.16 We have to produce these for all our Local Development Framework documents. These appraisals incorporate the requirements of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive, and assess the various options made in the Core Strategy Issues and Options stage against sustainable development objectives.

1.17 The purpose of sustainability appraisal is to help integrate social, economic and environmental considerations into plans and the process is now integral to plan-making. A Sustainability Appraisal Report has been produced alongside the Core Strategy. To view a copy, look at or contact us.

The Policy Approach

1.18 The Council’s preferred policy approaches are grouped by subject area, reflecting likely chapter headings in the Core Strategy.

1.19 Under ”Preferred Policy Approach”, we suggest how an issue might be dealt with by a policy or policies. This does not mean they are necessarily the final version, and they may be subject to change following consultation.

1.20 For each policy we have also indicated links to relevant higher-level guidance, best practice material, the Community Strategy and the existing Hastings Local Plan (where relevant). It should be noted that a number of policies in the Local Plan are now out of date, so in many cases the policy options being suggested are different from those in the existing Local Plan. Replacement and new policies will be identified as per Regulation 13(5) of the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004.

Further Information

1.21 Read more about the new planning system at the Department of Communities and Local Government website For more information on The South East Plan view the South of England Regional Assembly (SEERA) website and for more details about Hastings LDF Core Strategy or the Community Strategy go to

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