Core Strategy Preferred Approaches

Ended on the 8th July 2008
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Chapter 3: Managing Change

Housing

Housing Mix

The Issues

16.1 The Core Strategy needs to reflect latest Government policy and guidance and support the development of mixed and sustainable communities. A good mix of housing types and tenures is therefore paramount.

16.2 The Housing Market Assessment (2006) has shown that across Hastings and the wider sub region of Hastings and Rother, single and elderly households are likely to be the dominant drivers of household growth in the future. In addition, the Housing and Support Strategy for Older People and Carers in Hastings and Rother (2007) aims to ensure the needs of older people are suitable catered for in terms of new housing. We therefore need to consider the provision of lifetime homes to cater for these needs.

16.3 We also want to encourage family housing in the town to attract a wider range of skilled workers, and to give existing residents further opportunities to get larger premises. Providing this mix of dwelling types will help to achieve the wider economic and social objectives of the strategy and ensure we contribute to the creation of sustainable communities.

16.4 Finally, developers need to be encouraged to build good quality housing that is environmentally friendly, using sustainable construction methods. Further information on this issue can be found in the Environment and Sustainability Issues section.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

16.5 67% of respondents agreed that we should be seeking a proportion of lifetime homes in new developments, and to consider meeting the needs of older people and those with disabilities. 53% of respondents also agreed that we should seek to diversify existing housing tenure in both Hastings Town Centre and Central St Leonards.

16.6 The Home Builders’ Federation stated that the mix of tenure and sizes should be decided on a site-by-site basis, whereas 1066 Housing Association stated that they would welcome the private rented sector being displaced by other tenures.

16.7 83% of respondents agreed to the promotion of larger dwellings and more innovatively designed housing schemes.

The Preferred Approach – Housing Mix

(32) PREFERRED APPROACH 20: Housing Mix

In response to the needs of the town, and in light of the responses received, it is proposed to promote a mix of dwelling types and sizes and housing tenures in all development. In particular, families, the elderly and those with disabilities will be suitably catered for.

Specifically, we will seek to:

* Ensure the lifetime homes standard is applied to all suitable housing sites. This approach will be developed through the Site Allocations DPD

* Achieve a more even mix of housing tenure in Hastings Town Centre and Central St Leonards

* Encourage the provision of larger dwellings (3 or more bedrooms), and innovative housing schemes that might help to change the perception of the town, particularly in Central St Leonards

* Ensure that in suitable and accessible locations, residential schemes of 50 or more dwellings include at least 2% fully adapted for wheelchair users.

Sustainability Appraisal

16.8 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 90 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Density

The Issues

16.9  Density is a measure of the number of dwellings that can be accommodated on a site or in an area. Higher residential densities are required in the interests of achieving more sustainable forms of development, and reducing the use of Greenfield land. National policy requires a minimum of 30 dwellings per hectare in new development, although the draft South East Plan sets an overall regional target of 40 dwellings per hectare.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

16.10 In general, respondents considered that a residential density of 35-40 dwellings per hectare was appropriate for the town, with higher levels of between 70 and 75 dwellings per hectare in specific areas such as Silverhill, Ore and Old Town.

16.11 It was also thought that we should emphasise the need to provide mixed use developments, and that density decisions should require appraisal of topographical situation. 92% of respondents agreed that all high-density schemes should be subject to a design statement.

16.12 However, respondents also argued that higher density should not be at the expense of existing green spaces or established and valued urban character.

The Preferred Approach – Density

16.13 With good design, there is no reason why higher densities should compromise the quality of new development. As such, it is the Council’s preferred approach to include a policy that makes sure appropriate densities are delivered in new developments

(15) PREFERRED APPROACH 21: Density

Residential developments should make best use of land by achieving densities of at least 30 dwellings per hectare unless there are very special local circumstances that require a different treatment. Higher densities of at least 40 dwellings per hectare should be achieved in more sustainable locations close to a good range of existing or potential services and facilities and where there is, or there is potential for good public transport. This includes Hastings & St Leonard’s town centres, and the district centres of Hastings Old Town, Silverhill and Ore.

Guidance on internal space standards and the relationship of the development to the surrounding area may be developed later in the Plan period.

Sustainability Appraisal

16.14 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 90 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Gypsies and Travellers

The Issues

16.15 It is important for us to address the needs of this community. The legislation makes it clear that the Core Strategy should set out criteria for the location of Gypsy and Traveller sites, which will be used to guide the allocation of sites in the relevant DPD.

16.16 East Sussex County Council, working jointly with the other district councils and Brighton and Hove City Council, has recently submitted advice to the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) on the need for gypsy and traveller site provision in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

16.17 Two assessment options have been submitted. Option A, which is based on the existing distribution of gypsy and traveller sites, identifies a need to provide 3 permanent pitches in Hastings. Option B, which is based more on environmental considerations and the locational requirements of gypsies and travellers, identifies a need for 1 permanent pitch in Hastings. The advice to SEERA also identifies the need for a transit site in the eastern part of the County. SEERA is now preparing pitch provision requirements for the whole of the South East. These will be subject to public consultation. An additional option, option C has been introduced which is a simplified version of option B. It explicitly seeks to transfer a proportion of the pitch requirements from the highest concentration and growth to areas with less provision. Two variants are proposed, C(i) reapportions 50% of pitch requirements, and C(ii) 25%. Under option C a need for either 5 or 3 permanent pitches is identified for Hastings.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

16.18 No options were put forward in the 2006 Issues and Options consultation.

The Preferred Approach - Gypsies and Travellers

16.19 Within Hastings, opportunities for permanent site provision are limited because of environmental constraints, and in any event the small scale of provision required is unlikely to make public site provision a viable option, but this will be given further consideration.

(6) PREFERRED APPROACH 22: Gypsies and Travellers

To include locational criteria for gypsy and traveller site provision in the Core Strategy, as a basis for considering individual proposals brought forward. The Council does however, recognise the national imperative to identify new sites for the gypsy and traveller community and will in the meantime continue to work with our neighbours in Rother District Council to identify potential sites, particularly to meet the need for transit facilities in the eastern part of the County.

Sustainability Appraisal

16.20 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 90 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Links

  • Issues and options stage – Questions 6.3 to 6.10, 6.21 to 6.34
  • Core Strategy objectives – 2, 4, 8, 12, and 13
  • Draft South East Plan – H5, H6, H7
  • Hastings Local Plan 2004 policies – H4
  • Community Strategy targets – 1, 2, 10, 16a, 16b, 16c, 17
  • PPGs/PPSs/Circulars – PPS3

Measuring success

  • Affordable housing completions completed through the planning process.
  • Net housing completions
  • Housing density – percentage of new homes completed at less than 30 dwellings per hectare, 30-50 dwellings per hectare, above 50 dwellings per hectare.
  • Percentage of new residential development within 30 minutes public transport time of a GP, hospital, primary and secondary school, employment and a major retail centre
  • % of residential development completed on brownfield land.
  • Number of empty homes brought back into use.
  • The number of gypsy and travellers pitches will be monitoring through the site allocations development plan document.

Affordable Housing

The Issues

16.21 This is defined as housing available to those who are unable to access accommodation suitable for their families’ needs, at a price that they can reasonably afford on the open market, whether for rent or home ownership. Affordable Housing should be available at a cost low enough to be afforded by eligible households, and is determined with regards to local incomes and house prices.

16.22 There is an assumption within the definition that the housing will be subsidised in some way so as to make it affordable, either through public funding (Housing Corporation) or through private sector contributions via the planning system. More often than not a mixture of both is required to make homes affordable. Planning guidance states that homes should remain at an affordable price for future eligible households, or if these restrictions are lifted, for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

16.23 There are a number of different types of affordable housing, including social rented housing and intermediate housing. The latter includes intermediate rented schemes (homes available at a sub market rent between social rented and privately rented housing) and shared equity home ownership including that for key workers e.g. nurses or teachers. Low cost market housing is specifically excluded from the definition of affordable housing.

16.24 Property values in Hastings remain below the regional average, despite rapid growth in recent years. In spite of lower property values, affordability remains a key issue. Many households who are unable to buy are dependent upon benefits or have income levels that are not sufficient for them to obtain a mortgage. In 2006 property affordability in Hastings was over 7 times the average male salary.

16.25 We need to promote a choice of housing by making sure a range of house and tenure types are available across a given area and avoid high concentration of any one particular type of tenure or property type. Our approach should aim to support the development of mixed and sustainable communities, reflecting latest government guidance.

16.26 In framing our approach to affordable housing provision we need to pay careful attention to land supply, market conditions, viability and the likely level of public subsidy available to help meet affordable housing needs.

16.27 Key findings from the Housing Needs Assessment (2005) include the following:

  • average prices for flats and houses have escalated in the past 5 years and, because incomes are low affordability is an issue, particularly for newly forming households
  • annually 1,049 affordable housing units are needed, 596 more than the re-let supply at 2005.
  • the need for affordable homes is resulting in a supply requirement many times over current delivery levels

16.28 The Housing Market Assessment (June 2006) makes a number of recommendations in respect of affordable housing provision. This includes a proposal to secure 25% affordable housing on new development sites. It also recommends that we consider the characteristics of the neighbourhood in determining whether this provision should be made on site, or a commuted payment made to permit off-site provision elsewhere in the town. The size and type of affordable housing provided in connection with new development should take account of analysis of the characteristics of those households that the local authority has a duty to house and the existing pattern of available re-lets. This evidence should be regularly monitored and the implications fed into discussions with developers.

16.29 The Housing Sites Viability Study (July 2007) recommends that affordable housing policy should continue to be applied to sites of 15 dwellings or more. Lowering of this threshold is not recommended at present, though as with all policy positions, this should be kept under constant review. The study recommends that the proportion of affordable homes sought on qualifying sites should be 25% on brownfield sites and, bearing in mind the level of affordable housing needed in the town, 40% on Greenfield sites.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

16.30 43% of respondents agreed that developers should be required to pay a commuted sum so that affordable homes could be built on sites elsewhere in the town, 38% disagreed.

16.31 62% of respondents agreed that a developer should be required to ‘pepperpot’ affordable housing throughout a development, 23% disagreed.

16.32 Additional comments around this issue suggested that this approach would make for more integrated communities. The Home Builders’ Federation agreed that this is a reasonable approach to the delivery of affordable housing, and English Partnerships stated that this was their preferred approach.

16.33 75% of respondents agreed that developers should provide different forms of affordable housing, such as shared ownership or key worker housing - providing that they can prove that there is a market for such housing in the locality.

16.34 Additional comments around this issue were diverse. The Home Builders’ Federation stated that this was their preferred approach. Others stated that the provision of key worker housing was critical to maintaining key services including education. Others expressed concern that this approach may be used to avoid providing social housing for rent.

The Preferred Approach - Overall Target for Affordable Housing

16.35 Although the Council can influence the number of affordable homes delivered through the planning system, it cannot control the overall output of affordable housing. The number of affordable homes provided over the coming years, will largely be determined by the level of market housing developed – and whether planning permissions are submitted or built is dependant on the private sector and the funding for schemes by registered social landlords.

16.36 Sites suitable for an element of affordable housing will subsequently be identified in the Site Allocations Development Plan Document, but additional unidentified sites suitable for an element of affordable housing, are likely to become available during the lifetime of the Core Strategy.

(16) PREFERRED APPROACH 23: Overall Target for Affordable Housing

Based on the findings of both the Housing Needs Survey (2005) and the Housing Market Assessment (2006), and taking into account the findings of Housing Sites Viability Study (2007), the Council will secure 25% affordable housing on previously developed sites of 15 or more dwellings and 40% affordable housing on Greenfield sites of 15 or more dwellings. Additional unidentified sites will also be subject to this policy

The Core Strategy affordable housing policy will be supported by a supplementary planning document giving further information together with details of section 106 requirements.

Sustainability Appraisal

16.37 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on pages 90 and 91 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

The Preferred Approach - Types of Affordable Housing Needed

16.38 Evidence strongly supports an affordable housing policy that plans for a continuing high level of demand for social rented housing.

16.39 However, demand for other forms of affordable housing, such as shared ownership that might be suitable for key workers, has grown in recent years as the gap between local incomes and house prices has widened. This will need to be monitored carefully over the life of the development plan.

(10) PREFERRED APPROACH 24: Types of Affordable Housing Needed

The Council’s preferred approach is for the greater part of affordable housing to be for social rent, although we would wish to retain a degree of flexibility in terms of widening housing choice. This will enable the provision of different forms of affordable housing where necessary, avoiding the over concentration of social rented housing and improving the economics of provision on marginal sites. This will be relevant where high levels of social rented homes already exist and a degree of tenure diversification is sought.

Sustainability Appraisal

16.40 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 91 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

The Preferred Approach - Specifying the size and form of affordable housing

16.41 The size and form of affordable housing provided in connection with new development will take account of analysis of the characteristics of those households in housing need, and include those that the local authority has a duty to house and the existing pattern of re-lets. This evidence will be regularly monitored and the implications fed into discussions with developers and housing associations

(8) PREFERRED APPROACH 25: Specifying the Size and Form of Affordable housing

The size and form of affordable housing that is likely to be needed in particular locations will be determined in the forthcoming Site Allocations Development Plan Document.

Affordable housing will be provided on the application site. However, where the Council determines that off-site provision would be beneficial, off-site provision or a financial contribution in lieu of on-site provision (of at least equivalent value) may be accepted so long as the agreed approach contributes to the creation of mixed communities elsewhere in Hastings.

Affordable homes must be well integrated within the development scheme and indistinguishable from those homes for outright sale in terms of style, location and build quality. ‘Pepperpotting’ or small clusters of affordable housing rather than blocks of a single tenure will be required.

Sustainability Appraisal

16.42 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 91 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Links

  • Issues and options stage – Questions 6.11 to 6.20
  • Core Strategy objectives – 2, 8, 12
  • Draft South East Plan – H4, SCT8
  • Hastings Local Plan 2004 policies – new policy
  • Community Strategy targets – 1, 16c, 18a, 18b
  • PPGs/PPSs/Circulars – PPS3

Measuring success

  • The number of affordable housing units delivered through the planning system as a percentage of those capable of being delivered
  • Tenure of affordable housing delivered
  • Affordable housing completions completed through the planning process

The Local Economy

The Issues

17.1 Hastings is the 29 most deprived local authority area in England (IMD 2007). The Town has significantly higher levels of unemployment and economic inactivity than the regional average, and relatively poor health and qualification levels. There are relatively few businesses per head of population, and business start-up rates are significantly behind the national and regional average. There is a recognised need in Hastings to diversify the economic base to raise local economic performance and address poverty. Indeed, the South East England Economic Development Agency (SEEDA) has identified Hastings as a regeneration priority and the Hastings Community Strategy includes as a priority “creating an economically successful town” with reducing unemployment as a key target.

17.2 The Draft South East Plan defines Hastings as a regional hub for economic activity and transport services. The draft Plan, seeks as a priority, to pro-actively pursue and promote sustainable economic growth and regeneration. The aim is to raise the sub-regional economy nearer to the South East average. The Regional Economic Strategy (RES) includes a target of achieving an economic activity rate of 85% across the region by 2016.

17.3 In the absence of regeneration activity and major intervention, total employment in Hastings is forecast to grow by very modest amounts. This will be insufficient to make any significant impact on local employment prospects and runs counter to our objective of significantly raising economic performance.

17.4 The Regional Economic Strategy identifies three objectives for the SE Region:

  • global competitiveness, through international operations and investment, innovation building on the knowledge base, and infrastructure
  • ‘smart growth’, through new businesses, skills development, inclusion, reducing road congestion, improving travel choice and promoting public transport, providing housing and employment space, improving workforce productivity and increasing economic activity.
  • sustainable prosperity through reducing CO emissions, increasing renewable energy use, reducing water consumption, improving waste efficiency, improving biodiversity and the quality of open space, and reducing polarisation between communities.

17.5 A draft regional coastal strategy aims to build a creative, inclusive, connected, competitive and sustainable coast. These objectives overlap with the Five Point Plan developed by the Hastings & Bexhill Regeneration Task Force, which focuses on urban renaissance, business development, excellence in education, broadband connectivity, and transport improvements.

17.6 In parallel with the Five Point Plan, the draft Economic Development, Inclusion and Sustainability Strategy for Hastings & Bexhill has three objectives:

  • To increase business activity, and create employment, providing a range of local job opportunities
  • To enable local people, particularly those who are disadvantaged, to raise their skills, aspirations and ability to get jobs offering stable employment and a ‘living’ wage
  • To improve the environmental sustainability of the local economy

17.7 The Local Area Agreement has several key local targets within the Economic Development and Enterprise block:

  • Increasing economic activity in the worst performing wards
  • Improving skills development
  • Improving economic performance, measured by reduced unemployment, more employment space, higher average earnings, and greater numbers of businesses
  • Improving employment rates within the worst performing wards, reducing the gap between their employment rate and the rate for England
  • Increasing entrepreneurial activity
  • Supporting the growth, and reducing failure, of locally-owned busineses

17.8 The Core Strategy must support these regional and local objectives, especially in the area of regeneration. Without active intervention, enabling and support, the economy will be unable to support people’s employment prospects, and the gap between Hastings and East Sussex and the South East region is likely to widen.

Land supply

17.9 The employment land study has identified a need for more new, or refurbished, higher quality floorspace in most size ranges to accommodate pent-up demand and attract new businesses to Hastings. An immediate need for affordable space to support business start-ups, and move on space for small businesses is also indicated.

17.10 However, Hastings’ office, industrial and warehouse stock has seen little development in recent years. Much of the space within the major employment areas was developed during, or before, the 1980s. The town centre has similarly seen little office development. A lack of high quality start-up and managed space, and affordable general space, has been identified as a key barrier to the growth of economic activity. Yet low rents have resulted in little new commercial development in recent years, returns and investor confidence will need to rise considerably to bring forward such investment.

17.11 Our research has identified a very low level of vacant stock throughout the employment areas. The emphasis must therefore be on bringing forward significant amounts of new employment floorspace both in Hastings town centre and elsewhere in the town.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

17.12 35% of respondents believe that the town has insufficient land of the right quality and in the right location to allow growth to 2026, 28% of respondents believe there is sufficient land whilst 37% had no opinion.

17.13 72% of respondents agreed that new sites for employment should be identified.

17.14 56% of respondents agreed that existing plan policies to protect employment land and premises should be strengthened.

17.15 78% of respondents thought that a mix of employment generating uses should be encouraged on employment sites.

17.16 51% of respondents agreed that we should encourage the intensification of employment areas, 29% disagreed.

17.17 90% of respondents agreed that ‘start-up’ and ‘grow on’ space is required.

The Preferred Approach – Land Supply

17.18 Ensuring that a sufficient supply of land is available and likely to be developed over the lifetime of the plan is critical to the success of current regeneration efforts.

(22) PREFERRED APPROACH 26: Land Supply

Local economic growth and diversification will be met through:

* the development of some 41,825m² of floorspace on allocated employment land identified in the existing Hastings Local Plan 2004. This includes the development of the Enviro21 Innovation Parks’ adjacent to Queensway.

* the development of new office based employment opportunities in Hastings Town Centre (31,845m²)

* encouraging the redevelopment of the existing out-moded stock and denser development within the primary employment areas, at Ponswood, Ivyhouse Lane, Castleham, The Ridge West and Churchfields

* the protection of existing employment locations – we will seek to protect all viable employment land/premises and produce a supplementary planning document to support this approach

* mixed employment/housing development on suitable strategic sites and also as a tool for regeneration in town, district and local centres.

* Encouraging the provision of live/work units within housing developments.

17.19 Opportunities for mixed employment/housing development will be pursued at the strategic sites identified at Breadsell Lane, in the North West of the Borough (Preferred Approach 1) and at Bulverhythe (Preferred Approach 18)

17.20 Between 2009–2013 some 19,065 m² of employment floorspace will be developed at the Enviro21 Innovation Parks’ as part of the major regeneration programme co-ordinated and implemented by the Task force. The aim of Task Force projects is to attract new businesses to the town and stimulate growth in under-represented sectors, by creating a step change in the quality of business space available.

17.21 The success of these early schemes will be critical to the phasing and implementation of the remaining development areas which are capable of providing a further circa 41,638 m² of employment floorspace, including land at Ivyhouse Lane – a major development site and on infill opportunities within the primary employment areas.

17.22 Live/work accommodation represents one of the most recent and innovative approaches to workspace development. This is because it is designed for dual use, offering a combination of residential and employment space. Live/work units are different from traditional home working in that the buildings or units are specifically designed to have a higher proportion of business use. Alternatively, the work element may be designed to accommodate more workers than just the resident

17.23 Live/work accommodation can play an important role in creating sustainable communities and mixed areas, reducing the need to travel by car, aiding the development of small businesses and providing local investment

Sustainability Appraisal

17.24 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 91 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

North Bexhill

17.25 The regeneration efforts in Hastings also need to be considered in the context of the impact of development outside of the town. Most significant here is the North East Bexhill proposal in Rother district. This is a major development area aiming to provide some 50,000m² of commercial development. It has the scope to meet the needs of both local and in-moving occupiers. Bexhill plays a complementary role to that of Hastings’ Hub status by providing opportunities for employment development as part of an urban extension on a scale not possible within the constrained urban area of Hastings.

17.26 North East Bexhill represents one of the most important new land releases within the Hastings travel to work area. However its implementation is dependent on the completion of the proposed Hastings–Bexhill Link Road. Whilst the identified employment land commitments in Hastings are not dependent on the implementation of the road scheme per se, any delay or indeed uncertainty over the road scheme’s completion will greatly reduce the impact of regeneration efforts in terms of the scale of change needed.

Hastings Travel to Work area

Hastings Travel to Work area

17.27 The implementation of the link road is also critical to business confidence. A direct link between Bexhill Town Centre, the new business development planned for northeast Bexhill and the existing business locations in Hastings at Churchfields and Castleham and the planned Enviro21 Innovation Parks, will cause a major shift in the perception of the wider regeneration area as a place in which to invest and do business.

Strategy linked to office development

17.28 New office based employment opportunities will be created in Hastings Town Centre. The Hastings office market is relatively undeveloped. The Town does not have a commercial central core of traditional office space of any significant size. The quality of office space available in the Town Centre will change markedly with the completion of Lacuna Place, a Task Force development of 8,885m² due for completion in 2008.

17.29 In addition to Lacuna Place, a further 23,000m² amount of office floorspace will be developed. This is a Task Force initiative that will be phased over the period 2011–2016. Public funding will support the early phases of development and the later phases will be achieved through the private sector on the basis of increased investor confidence in the area. Inevitably, delivery of the project will be become increasingly dependent on market conditions as it moves into later phases.

Protection of employment locations and land

17.30 The town’s primary employment areas in Hastings, namely the Castleham, Churchfields, Ponswood, Ivyhouse Lane and West Ridge/Ashdown estates, together with other smaller concentrations of employment related activities, play an important role in providing business locations for local firms and employment opportunities for local people. The strategy for these areas will be to maintain them as locations for new businesses and those needing to expand. Accordingly, we will seek to protect all viable employment land/premises and produce a supplementary planning document to support this approach.

17.31 Allocated infill sites in the main employment areas (primarily at Churchfields) have scope to add some 19,878m² of new floorspace. This could accommodate a range of higher quality unit development, ranging from small start-up units to larger units. It is envisaged that these sites will be brought forward by the private sector over the lifetime of the plan.

Skills and training

The Issues

17.32 12.3% or 6,100 of Hastings’ residents have no recognised skills (for example National Vocational Qualifications) in comparison to an East Sussex average of 11.8% and the South East at 10.1% with no skills. At the higher skills levels, Hastings has only 16.8% qualified to above level 4, against the South East at 29.5%. The level of local skills is rightly recognised as an issue for Hastings residents as this adversely affects the local population’s ability to compete for jobs. The need for skills development has been recognised within sub-regional and local policies and a number of initiatives are underway with specific objectives to increase the number and level of qualifications within the workforce.

17.33 These include the development of two new campuses for Hastings College, work-based learning and work-experience initiatives, vocational training and school diplomas, community-based learning, and University Centre Hastings.

17.34 Reforms are also underway to transform secondary and tertiary education so that all young people achieve and continue in learning to at least 18.

17.35 The success or otherwise of attracting new employers and retaining existing ones, will in part be dependent on how well matched local skills are to the needs of employers. A failure to tackle these barriers could result in recruitment difficulties, skills gaps, or increased commuting into Hastings. Hastings is responding to the Leitch Report into skills through a new emphasis on responding to employer demand through such frameworks at “Train to Gain”, and the College’s Services to Businesses work.

17.36 The Government is seeking to get more people back into work, particularly those who are on out of work benefits such as incapacity benefit. Hastings will benefit from the Government’s Working Neighbourhoods Fund, established to provide resources for local authorities to tackle worklessness and low levels of skills and enterprise in their most deprived areas. Activities undertaken will help to increase economic activity rates.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

17.37 In terms of how the Core Strategy can help support improving the skills base and educational attainments of the workforce, you told us:

  • 82% of respondents agreed that we need to actively support the provision of child care services.
  • 80% of respondents agreed that the potential for live/work units should be explored.

The Preferred Approach – Skills and Training

17.38 Improving local provision and attainment is critical to the success of the regeneration programme. Efforts to significantly increase the amount of training floorspace in the town are underway. The first of these to be delivered is the recently operational University Centre Hastings (UCH), managed by the University of Brighton. UCH currently provides a range of full and part time courses for 1,800 students, a figure which is expected to rise to 3,200 by 2011. UCH courses are commercially focused, designed in partnership with local employers to cover subjects from computing to business management, accounting, broadcast media and a range of adult education and Open University programmes.

(13) PREFERRED APPROACH 27: Skills and Training

To support the development of training and education floorspace in the town, through the new Hastings College developments at Ore Valley and Station Plaza, and the further expansion of University Centre Hastings in the town centre.

The Council will support proposals that improve, protect and, where needed, make new provision for childcare services.

17.39 Hastings College is moving to two new sites, Station Plaza and Ore Valley. The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) have invested £92 million in the new college development at Station Plaza, a sixth form and further education college being developed by the Hastings and Rother New College team. This is the result of a major review of post-16 education by the LSC. The college will provide a range of academic and vocational courses for 2500 students, and will help to bring about education-led social and economic regeneration by improving skills levels, addressing inequalities and encouraging partnership working. The college is due to be completed in September 2009. The site of the new construction skills college will be at Parker Road in the Ore Valley; this will also be completed in September 2009.

17.40 This student economy will have an impact on the town, attracting new residents and increasing demand for accommodation, shopping, leisure, entertainment, recreation, transport and other services.

17.41 The College is engaged with over 700 local businesses that either receive training or feed their ideas and experience into curriculum development. The College is working with industry to extend its current range of relevant and effective training provision.

17.42 Regeneration in Hastings & Bexhill will bring an unprecedented amount of construction activity over the next few years. We are working with developers, businesses, skilled trades people and new generations of trainees to ensure local people and firms benefit from the increase in training and employment opportunities this activity will bring, through a Construction Training & Employment Charter. This provides a model for engagement between employers, trainers, trainees and the local labour force, that could be applied in other sectors such as retail and hospitality, and could be included within planning agreements.

17.43 It is recognised that skills development is not something that only happens between the ages of 14 and 21. The process starts at pre-school age, and continues throughout an individual’s life, with work-based training, professional development, and lifelong learning. It also takes place in the home and community, as well as formal educational institutions. Physical accessibility is a key concern, as is overcoming social barriers to learning such as childcare or other caring responsibilities, disability, health, and timing.

Sustainability Appraisal

17.44 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 91 and 92 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Tourism

The Issues

17.45 The tourism sector in Hastings has stagnated in terms of the number of staying visitors, and there is a lack of quality visitor accommodation. The town currently has 1000 serviced visitor bed spaces, which are not all good quality, compared to a total of 8000 in 1951 (excluding camping and caravans). The lack of accommodation has precluded major events being held in the town.

17.46 However, some very good quality boutique hotels have developed in the past 5 years, which have been pump primed through the “Space To Stay Scheme”, but also significant private sector investment. Hotels at the top end of the market are doing very well, whereas poorer quality accommodation is not doing so well.

17.47 Hastings is also heavily dependent on summer day visitors, and spend per head is low compared with some of our south coast competitors.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

17.48 Responses received in relation to the town’s role as a tourist destination indicated a general support for tourism and the need to enhance our tourist offer.

The Preferred Approach – Tourism

17.49 Hastings’ aim is to extend the tourist season and to encourage more short-stay visitors with a higher spending power. In order to achieve this, The Council will:

(15) PREFERRED APPROACH 28: Tourism

Encourage the provision of new hotels in the area, and the upgrading of existing facilities. There will be a presumption against the loss of bedspaces in the key tourist areas of the Old Town, the Town Centre, the Seafront and Warrior Square, unless the facility is no longer viable or is incapable of improvement to a good standard. A Visitor Accommodation Supplementary Planning Document, to be prepared during 2008, will support this policy approach.

17.50 Tourism provides a range of 'entry-level jobs' supported by a smaller number of professionals, and will remain important to the local economy. However, it must be recognised that it is unlikely to generate sufficient of the higher value-added jobs that, combined with a higher skilled workforce, will bring about sustainable regeneration on its own.

Sustainability Appraisal

17.51 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 92 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Language Schools

17.52 These play a largely unrecognised role in the local economy - £35m visitor spend annually by 35,000 students in 26 registered schools – a figure approaching the value of the entire day trip market. It also helps keep attractions open in the winter months as well as providing permanent year round employment. Hastings is one of the biggest destinations for language students in the whole country. Accommodating students provides an important source of income to many local families.

The Preferred Approach – Language Schools

(7) PREFERRED APPROACH 29: Language Schools

In recognition of their importance to the local economy, the Council will support proposals that improve, protect or make new provision for language schools.

Sustainability Appraisal

17.53 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 92 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Links

  • Issues and options stage – Questions 8.1 to 8.7
  • Core Strategy objectives – 1, 3, 4, 12
  • Draft South East Plan – CC1, TC2, RE2, RE3, TSR1, SCT1, SCT3
  • Hastings Local Plan 2004 policies – E1, E4, New policy
  • Community Strategy targets – 1, 7, 8, 9a, 9b
  • PPGs/PPSs/Circulars – PPS1, PPS3, PPS6, PPS12, PPG4

Measuring Success

  • Number of new hotels provided
  • Average distance travelled to work by residents
  • Average earnings – Workplace based & Residence based
  • Economically active working age population
  • Business survival rates after 3 years
  • Business start-ups and closures
  • Changes of use from hotels to other uses
  • Losses of employment land
  • Number and size of language schools

Transport and Accessibility

Strategic Road and Rail Schemes

The Issues

18.1 For many years Hastings has suffered from a lack of investment in strategic transport infrastructure, both road and rail, which has lead to the town becoming peripheral in regional, national and international terms. Improved accessibility to the town by road and rail is essential to reduce this relative peripherality if the regeneration objectives of the town are to be achieved.

18.2 The draft South East Plan has now identified Hastings as a regional hub. Regional Hubs should be the focus for investment in the transport system that leads to an increase in their overall level of accessibility. Regional Hubs should also aspire to accommodate higher density development and provide a highly accessible focus for employment, community, retail, leisure and cultural services. This role is supported in the South East Plan, which identifies the A27, the A259 and the A21 routes as movement corridors (spokes) that should provide a level of service that supports the role of Hastings as a Regional Hub and a focus of economic activity. Clearly, none of these spokes perform this role adequately at the present time, key strategic transport infrastructure improvements will need to be secured. Improving accessibility within the urban area and promoting sustainable alternatives to car usage by cycling, walking and public transport is also very important.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

18.3 Many respondents emphasised the need to improve accessibility to Hastings both by road and rail to reduce its relative peripherality, if the regeneration objectives of the town are to be achieved. 80% of respondents supported the measures in the Issues and Options document, which aimed to improve accessibility to reduce the need to travel.

The Preferred Approach – Strategic Road and Rail Schemes

18.4 The South East Plan’s Implementation Plan identifies the following strategic schemes of importance to Hastings which are needed to facilitate the delivery of the level of growth set out in the Plan:

  • Bexhill to Hastings Link Road – East Sussex County Council responsibility. Planning application submitted.
  • A21 Baldslow Junction – Highways Agency (HA) responsibility.
  • A21 Tonbridge to Pembury and A21 Kippings Cross to Lamberhurst – HA responsibility.
  • A21 Flimwell to Robertsbridge – HA responsibility.
  • A259 Pevensey to Brenzett Improvements – improved safety measures under investigation. HA responsibility.
  • Ashford – Hastings Line Capacity Improvements – Rail industry Responsibility. Under investigation.
  • Willingdon Rail Chord – Rail Industry responsibility. Further appraisal work required. Possible developer funding.
  • Upgrading of Ore Station together with improved services, and new stations at Glyne Gap and Wilting – Feasibility study of Wilting option is to be undertaken. Possible funding from developers, rail industry and ESCC.

18.5 All of these schemes would improve the accessibility of Hastings, reduce its peripherality in transport terms, and support regeneration of the town. They would also make an important contribution towards Hastings performing its function as a regional hub. Some would have other benefits. The Bexhill to Hastings Link Road, for example, would reduce traffic congestion along Bexhill Road, improve air quality and allow the introduction of bus priority lanes.

(25) PREFERRED APPROACH 30: Strategic Road and Rail Schemes

To support the delivery of strategic road and rail schemes identified in the draft South East Plan Implementation Plan. The Council will continue to lobby to secure their timely provision.

18.6 The delivery of these schemes is the responsibility of a variety of agencies, including the County Council, the Highways Agency, the Rail Industry and private developers.

Sustainability Appraisal

18.7 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 92 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Local Road Improvements

18.8 The County Highways Authority wishes to safeguard the route of the proposed Hastings Spur Road Phase 2 Scheme until the Bexhill and Hastings Link Road has been operational for at least one year in order to retain flexibility to deal with any local traffic impacts.

The Preferred Approach – Local Road Improvements

(9) PREFERRED APPROACH 31: Local Road Improvements

To retain saved policy TR1, until the impact of the Bexhill/Hastings Link Road can be assessed.

‘Land between Wishing Tree Road and Sedlescombe Road South is safeguarded for the construction of the County Council’s Hastings Spur Road Phase 2 Scheme’

More Sustainable Transport Options

The Issues

18.9  In a medium sized town like Hastings, it has to be recognised that the private car is likely to remain the primary means of transport for the foreseeable future. There is also a concern that too draconian measures to limit their use could damage the regeneration of the town. Nevertheless, the LDF should aim to provide a policy framework that will encourage a modal shift and move Hastings towards a more sustainable future in transport terms. It will therefore be important for the LDF not only to consider strategic transport infrastructure but also to address other transport infrastructure needs (bus and cycle lanes, train stations and car parking management) both within Hastings and between Hastings and Bexhill.

18.10 The County Council is the responsible authority for local transportation. It has recently published an Accessibility Strategy Local Assessment of Hastings and Bexhill and is at present preparing the Hastings and Bexhill Local Area Transport Strategy (LATS). The purpose of the LATS is to identify key local transport problems and issues within the Hastings and Bexhill Area and provide a local framework for transport planning which takes into account the long term development strategy for the area. The County Council is at present working on the LATS and anticipates going to public consultation on a draft at the same time as consultation is undertaken on preferred options for the LDF. The LATS will be an important input into the LDF Core Strategy and the timetable proposed should enable the LATS to inform the transport policies to be incorporated in the Core Strategy.

The Preferred Approach – More Sustainable Transport Options

18.11 A draft strategic framework for the LATS produced by the County Council in October 2006 identified five strategic objectives - maximising accessibility, improving air quality and environment, safety, tackling congestion and promoting regeneration. The 2006 Issues and Options paper set out a number of possible measures to improve accessibility within Hastings and to promote other forms of transport as an alternative to the private car. They were well received by respondents, and generally meet the strategic objectives of the LATS set out above. It will be for the LATS to test the feasibility of these measures and to come forward with proposals and policies that can, if appropriate, be incorporated in the Core Strategy.

(20) PREFERRED APPROACH 32: More Sustainable Transport Options

To support the draft Hastings and Bexhill Local Area Transport Strategy (LATS) produced by the County Council in October 2006. In particular, support the 5 strategic objectives of maximising accessibility, improving air quality and environment, safety, tackling congestion and promoting regeneration.

Sustainability Appraisal

18.12 We consider the sustainability effects of these approaches on page 92 and 93 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Car Parking

The Issues

18.13 There are two aspects of transportation where we have a measure of direct control. This is in relation to off-street car parking and location of development.

18.13  Car parking provision is one of the demand management tools, which can be used to achieve a shift towards more sustainable transport modes. It is however a crude tool and the reality is that in towns the size of Hastings the shift from car usage to other forms of transport will take some considerable time to achieve. It is also important that parking is not reduced to a level where the regeneration of the town could be prejudiced. The town centre is particularly sensitive in this respect and the implications for Hastings’ competitiveness with other south coast centres would need to be carefully considered.

The Preferred Approach – Parking

(16) PREFERRED APPROACH 33: Car Parking

To fully exploit opportunities to improve access to the town centre by means other than the car, before consideration is given to limiting parking provision.

One option that will be further considered is park and ride. A facility at Wilting Farm associated with the Link Road could not only cater for vehicles accessing Hastings town centre but could also serve a future station at this location. Another option worthy of consideration is Baldslow near the A21/A28 junction. Either of these options could be in Rother District, and it will be necessary for both Hastings and Rother Councils to work together to explore the feasibility of this approach.

(8) PREFERRED APPROACH 34: Residential Parking

Require provision at, at least one parking space per dwelling, except in the most exceptional circumstances. On street parking problems are already evident in large areas of the town, and experience suggests that to reduce off street provision below this minimal level would merely exacerbate parking problems.

Sustainability Appraisal

18.14 We consider the sustainability effects of these approaches on page 93 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Location of Development

The Issues

18.15 High-density developments, developments generating significant amounts of traffic and those of sub-regional importance will need to be directed to areas accessible by a range of transport services.

18.16 The majority of significant residential and commercial development options being considered in the LDF are close to public transport interchanges. All options are being tested for their impact on the highway network and the opportunities for improving accessibility by non-car means.

The Preferred Approach – Location of Development

(10) PREFERRED APPROACH 35: Location of Development

Major* developments will be required to produce a travel plan, in line with forthcoming guidance from East Sussex County Council, and will be expected to contribute to improved transport infrastructure, particularly for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. There will be a presumption against development generating significant amounts of traffic on sites, which are not well related to a range of transport modes unless, through improvements to public transport or travel plans, this can be mitigated.

*major development is that which falls within the thresholds set out in the East Sussex County Council draft ‘Guidance on Travel Plans for New Developments’. These thresholds reflect national guidance in Appendix B of Guidance on Transport Assessments (CLG/DfT, March 2007). The final version of the ESCC document is due June/July 2008.

Sustainability Appraisal

18.17 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 93 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Links

  • Issues and options stage – Questions 9.1 to 9.3
  • Core Strategy objectives – 7, 8
  • Draft South East Plan policies – CC8b, T1, T3, T7, T8
  • Hastings Local Plan 2004 policies – TR3, TR4, TR5, TR6, TR7, TR8, TR9, DG2, DG25.
  • Community Strategy targets – 19
  • PPGs/PPSs/ Circulars – PPG13

Measuring Success

  • Percentage of new residential development within 30 minutes public transport time of a GP, hospital, primary and secondary school, employment and a major retail centre.
  • Bus passenger journeys
  • Compliance for travel plans to be provided on commercial schemes over gross 1,000m²
  • Compliance of car parking standards in residential completions (Annual 10% random sample)

Community Infrastructure and Quality of Life

Community Infrastructure

The Issues

19.1 The health and social well being of the town’s residents and their educational attainment levels are vitally important to the regeneration of the town. Spatial planning policies need to reflect the complementary role of planning in supporting other strategies and initiatives that seek to provide essential services and facilities in the town, and ensuring that new developments provide the infrastructure necessary to meet local community needs they generate.

19.2 Hastings must be a town for everyone and it is important that everyone feels they are included and can access the opportunities the town has to offer.

19.3 Planning needs to take account of all the community, including particular requirements relating to age, sex, ethnic background, religion, disability or income.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

19.4 92% of respondents to the 2006 Issues and Options consultation supported the approach set out below:

“Development proposals must contribute to improving the education attainment, health, safety, quality of life and well-being of local residents and visitors to Hastings”.

The Preferred Approach – Community Infrastructure

19.5 The consultations undertaken with infrastructure providers have identified the following needs:

  • East Sussex Hospitals Trust has indicated that there is no requirement for additional land to serve the Conquest Hospital.
  • The Hastings and Rother PCT advises that Hastings is currently undersupplied in terms of GP services, but that a planned network of 3 new primary care centres to be located at Station Plaza, Broomgrove Millennium Community and Upper St Leonards and one existing centre, linked to the secondary care Acute hospital, would overcome this shortfall and provide some additional capacity for future population growth.
  • ESCC Education Department has identified a possible need for a new primary school in the north west of the town.
  • ESCC Library Service has a commitment to £6.2m in its capital programme for a new library in Hastings Town Centre. The need for satellite, branch or individually tailored library services will be considered depending on the demand arising from new development and on the funding available.
  • Southern Water has identified no requirements for strategic infrastructure in the plan period. Local infrastructure would be the responsibility of individual developers.
  • The Hastings/Bexhill Waste Water Treatment works has sufficient consents headroom to accommodate most of the 4200 housing provision, but an increased consent may be required towards the end of the plan period. The Environment Agency has not identified any constraints to prevent this.
  • Hastings is served by the Darwell and Bewl reservoirs. 4200 extra dwellings does not cause concern from a water supply viewpoint. It is likely that there will be a need to increase the capacity of Bewl reservoir by 2015, although this only one of a number of options being considered.
  • The Mobile Operators Association advise that the industry is demand led, on the basis of annual roll-out plans rather than anything longer-term.
  • The Fire Service has indicated that its services could accommodate 4200 additional dwellings, but it would need to assess the impact of the specific locations proposed for the new housing on response times, to determine whether additional facilities are required.

19.6 It is intended that, where they can be identified, the Core Strategy will contain a schedule of community and infrastructure needs arising directly from the development proposals in the strategy together with the agency responsible for the timescale of their provision.

19.7 Community facilities and essential infrastructure can be achieved through the planning system by making developers meet the needs arising from their development. We currently secure ‘developer contributions’ through a policy in the Hastings Local Plan 2004 and Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) Note 7. One of the problems Hastings faces is that land values are relatively low and the amount that individual developments can contribute is low compared with other parts of the south east, particularly when the need to provide affordable housing is taken into account. The SPG therefore sets out a priority order for contributions:

  • Essential on-site infrastructure
  • Essential off-site infrastructure or mitigation
  • Sustainable transport
  • Education
  • Off-site community facilities, youth, public art, libraries, social services, waste, countryside management and economic development

19.8 The Council’s preferred approach is therefore:

(50) PREFERRED APPROACH 36: Community Infrastructure

Provide an up-dated policy on community infrastructure - developer contributions towards community and other infrastructure, which will be supported by the development of a detailed Supplementary Planning Document.

19.9 A review of priorities will be undertaken but these are unlikely to change significantly, for example the provision of affordable housing will remain a high priority. New requirements such as renewable energy will need to be included. The Police have asked that contributions on policing should be added to the list of priorities, but whilst this will be considered, it is unlikely that we will be able to meet this request, given the present housing market situation in Hastings. Sport England would like to see policies for securing contributions for open space, sport and recreation. Whilst open space and recreational provision directly related to new development would be a normal planning requirement, the securing of contributions to wider recreational provision will require careful consideration, in the light of the above.

19.10 In any event, the whole basis on which developer contributions are secured may change prior to the submission of the Core Strategy. Having recently abandoned proposals for a Planning Gain Supplement, the Government has recently introduced proposals for a Community Infrastructure Levy into its Planning Reform Bill at present before parliament. This would replace, in whole or part, the existing mechanisms for securing developer contributions. The Core Strategy will be amended to take account of any new system.

Sustainability Appraisal

19.11 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 93 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Neighbourhood Planning - Area Co-ordination

The Issues

19.12  Area Co-ordination is about working at a local level to improve quality of life. In Hastings service provision is being organised around four areas, each containing four wards. In each of these areas service providers, residents and local councillors work together so services meet the needs of individual neighbourhoods. We have organised the LDF Core Strategy to clearly show what change is planned in these geographic areas.

19.13 Co-ordinated by our Neighbourhood Renewal Team, this system aims to tackle crime and raise levels of education, health, employment, housing and environmental standards across the town, whilst maintaining the focus on the neighbourhoods in need of most improvement according to the latest data. We have organised the LDF Core Strategy to clearly show what change is planned in these geographic areas.

19.14 It is important the Local Development Framework supports the spatial aspects of each of the four area delivery plans, and vice versa, and that Area Co-ordination is used to gain greater involvement in, and understanding of, planning issues affecting local neighbourhoods and the town as a whole.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

19.15 70% of respondents agreed that area co-ordination should be recognised as a key way of putting planning policies into practice;

19.16 78% agreed it was an important way to involve local communities in planning issues relevant to their neighbourhood/local area;

19.17 71% agreed it should be recognised as a mechanism for ensuring continual improvement in services provided by the council.

19.18 The detailed comments revealed mixed feelings about neighbourhood planning – some feeling it was another layer of bureaucracy and that there was too much consultation already, others thought that the areas were too big, and wanted more localised neighbourhood working.

The Preferred Approach – Area Co-ordination

(12) PREFERRED APPROACH 37: Area Co-ordination

The role of area co-ordination will be recognised in the Local Development Framework by clearly identifying in planning documents where it can have a positive impact in policy implementation. In particular the Council will talk to local people about development of new planning policies.

Sustainability Appraisal

19.19 It is not possible to appraise this approach, as this is a process not an outcome in itself.

Links

  • Issues and options stage – Questions 10.1 to 10.10
  • Core Strategy objectives – 7, 11
  • Draft South East Plan policies – S1, S3, S4, S5, S6, S7
  • Hastings Local Plan 2004 policies – CN1, CN3, CN6, CN7, CN9, CN12
  • Community Strategy targets – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12
  • PPGs/PPSs/ Circulars – PPS1

Measuring Success

  • An indicator for monitoring community infrastructure will be developed when the community infrastructure levy has been introduced.

Green Space, Landscape And Leisure

20.1 The town’s natural and historic environment is a key asset to our regeneration plans – it makes Hastings an attractive place to live and work in, and is of vital importance to the tourism industry locally.

Nature Conservation and Improvement Of Biodiversity

The Issues

20.2 Government guidance now requires enhancement as well as protection of our most important wildlife sites and habitats and promotion of biodiversity. Our strategy is set out in Hastings Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2006.

20.3 The draft South East Plan says that unavoidable damage to wildlife interest should be minimised through mitigation; that any damage should be compensated for, and that such measures are monitored.

20.4 For a small urban area we have a very comprehensive range of wildlife and habitat protection designations already protected through existing Local Plan Policies:

  • International importance – Hastings Cliffs Special Area Of Conservation
  • National importance – 3 Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • Local importance – 7 Local Nature Reserves and 30 Sites of Nature Conservation Importance

20.5 It is very important that these areas are protected from unwarranted development. Government guidance requires us to make it clear that priorities for protection are higher for international and national sites than for local designations.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

20.6 The strategy for biodiversity was supported by 94% of the respondents to the Issues and Options consultation. The Forestry Commission maintain that Ancient Woodland should have the same level of protection as SSSIs.

The Preferred Approach - Nature Conservation and Improvement of Biodiversity

20.7  The strategy for biodiversity follows that of the draft South East Plan. The section below sets out the strategy along with information on how this will be put into practice.

(22) PREFERRED APPROACH 38: Nature Conservation and Improvement of Biodiversity

a) Provide the highest level of protection for nationally and internationally designated sites.
The legal protection for the Hastings Cliff SAC is set out in Government Circulars 06/2005 and 01/2005.
Paragraph 8 of PPS9 sets out the Government’s policies for developments likely to have an adverse effect on SSSIs.
The Council will apply the principles set out in these documents when considering planning applications, which affect nationally and internationally designated sites.

b) Avoid damage to locally important wildlife and geological sites wherever possible.
The Council has identified 30 Sites Of Nature Conservation Importance and these are protected through saved policy NC6 of the Hastings Local Plan 2004. The biodiversity value of these sites and other areas of previously developed land will be reviewed in 2008 and will inform a new policy to be included in the Site Specific Allocations DPD. Ancient woodland is protected through saved policy NC10 of the Hastings Local Plan 2004.

c) Ensure that unavoidable damage to biodiversity is minimised through mitigation, that any damage is compensated for, and that such measures are monitored.
This will be achieved through saved policies NC8 and NC9 of the 2004 Local Plan. These policies will be reviewed as part of a future development control DPD.

d) Make sure areas of wildlife importance are accessible and well promoted, identifying areas of opportunity for biodiversity importance and setting local targets to contribute to regional biodiversity targets and quality of life.
In October 2006 the Council adopted The Hastings Local Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). This identifies all of the town’s national priority habitats, including a description of the habitat and its location along with national targets and objectives relating to the habitat. The BAP shows that the majority of areas of high biodiversity importance in the Borough occur in designated sites – that is the 7 Local Natures Reserves, 3 Sites Of Special Scientific Interest and the Hastings Cliffs Special Area of Conservation. The Council’s BAP strategy is to enhance biodiversity by focusing on the management and protection of this green network of designated sites, which are in themselves ecologically diverse and contain priority species and habitats.

e) Influence and apply agri-environment schemes, forestry, flood defence and other land management practices to deliver biodiversity targets.
Each of the SSSIs and LNRs has an approved management plan and the Council works with partners such as the Sussex Wildlife Trust and the St Helen’s Park Preservation Society to carry out practical management for the improvement of access, education and biodiversity in these areas. The Council aims to achieve National Nature Reserve status for the Hastings Country Park area by 2015, in conjunction with the biodiversity improvements being undertaken through agri-environment grant aid.

f) Maintain and establish accessible green networks and open green space in urban areas. 
Saved policy NC7 of the 2004 Local Plan identifies a green network of wildlife corridors, SSSIs, LNRs and SNCIs. This policy will be taken forward in the Site Allocations DPD.

Alternatives and Sustainability Appraisal

20.8 This policy approach has already been appraised as part of the SE Plan process. However, a broad appraisal has been carried out on page 93 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal report.

Landscape Protection

20.9 This was an omission from the Issues and Options Consultation. The Council’s preferred approach is to continue the protection set out in the 2004 Local Plan.

20.10 The overall strategic approach will be supported by more detailed policies in following DPD’s and SPD’s.

The Preferred Approach – Landscape Protection

(16) PREFERRED APPROACH 39: Landscape Protection

The overall approach will be to protect and enhance the Borough’s landscape including:

* The distinctive landscape setting of the town, particularly the structure of gills, woodlands and open spaces and the relationship and clear division between the unspoilt coastline of Hastings Country Park and surrounding countryside and the built-up area

* The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

* The strategic gap between the built-up edge of St Leonards and the western boundary of the Borough

* The undeveloped coast

The Council will work with Rother District Council to improve access to and management of urban fringe areas.

Open Spaces

The Issues

20.9 We need to make best use of our open spaces to promote healthy recreation, community safety, accessibility, urban regeneration and adapting to climate change.

20.10 The 2006 Parks and Open Spaces Strategy specifies that the focus for the future will be to improve the quality and value of existing open spaces, rather than establish new ones.

The Preferred Approach – Open Spaces

(73) PREFERRED APPROACH 40: Open Spaces – Enhancement, Provision and Protection

The Parks and Open Spaces Strategy sets out the strategic policy direction for the provision and management of the town’s open spaces. Our consultations revealed very high levels of support for the Core Strategy to help implement the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy by:

a) The progressive enhancement of existing open space provision rather than the creation of new provision, with priority for sites within or adjacent to the most deprived neighbourhoods. The development process will be one means of funding this enhancement through the pro-active use of planning agreements. In particular this could be used to support the proposals for the Broomgrove Millennium Community, the Central St Leonards Master Plan, play provision and the open space network. However, where major new development is proposed in areas with no access to open space, we’ll try to make sure demand generated by the development is met through new provision.

b) The Site Allocations Development Plan Document will identify development sites where the provision of new, or enhancement of existing open space will be a requirement. The open space contribution from ‘windfall’ development sites will be assessed in relation to need identified through the open spaces audit of 2006 and its subsequent updates. All provision will need to be in accordance with the Council’s Quality Standard For Open Spaces.

c) The protection and enhancement of open spaces. The following spaces have been identified in the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy as being of town-wide significance, and the Core Strategy will develop policies to protect, manage and enhance them. These are: Alexandra Park, BOS Field, Church Wood, Gensing Gardens, Hastings Cemetery, Hastings Country Park, Old Roar Ghyll (part of Alexandra Park), Ponds Wood, St Leonards Gardens, St Helen’s Wood, Warrior Square, West Hill, Ore Valley, Summerfields Woods, pedestrian-only streets in the Town Centre, the Seafront, Bexhill Recreation Ground (football), Horntye Park, White Rock Gardens, William Parker Sports College, Sandhurst Recreation Ground (cricket). Currently two Borough wide Open Spaces are subject to further review.

With regard to other open spaces including private open space and allotments, these will be identified in the Site Allocation Development Plan Document and will be protected from development which would lead to loss of their open character, biodiversity or accessibility.

Planning permission will only be granted for small scale development which directly contributes to or enhances their value to the community. Where this does occur, compensatory provision or a contribution towards further off-site provision will be sought.

Developing a Network of Accessible, Safe, Green Pedestrian and Cycle Routes

20.11 Following the 2006 Issues and Options consultation we have been working to develop a strategic network of cycle and pedestrian routes which will link communities to the town-wide open spaces, the seafront, the town centre, community facilities such as schools and the hospital and nature conservation areas. We feel this network is achievable in the plan period, up to 2026 and provides a clear focus and priority for directing public and private sector investment and developer contributions. The network is to be developed in accordance with our Quality Standards for Open Spaces.

(172) PREFERRED APPROACH 41: Open Spaces – Strategic Network

To develop a strategic network of cycle and pedestrian routes as shown on the diagrammatic network on page 133.

Sustainability Appraisal

20.12 We consider the sustainability effects of these approaches on page 94 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Sports and Leisure Facilities

The Issues

20.13 Existing facilities are in need of refurbishment and renewal to meet modern aspirations and requirements for high quality multi purpose facilities, meeting a range of leisure needs. This should be provided through centrally located, accessible main facilities with provision for casual recreation, such as multi-use games areas locally based within communities.

20.14 The Summerfields Leisure Centre and the White Rock area are in need of renewal and refurbishment to meet modern aspirations, a range of leisure needs and to provide high quality multi-purpose facilities. Options for the future of these areas are being explored through a study - the results of which will inform the Site Allocations DPD.

The Preferred Approach - Sports and Leisure Facilities

(7) PREFERRED APPROACH 42: Sports and Leisure Facilities

Major sports and leisure facilities should be centrally located and be accessible to all of the community. Provision for casual recreation, such as multi-use games areas should be locally based within communities. Given the importance of accessible sports and leisure facilities to improving health and fitness, the Council will continue to protect and support playing fields, sports pitches and sports and recreational facilities through saved policies SP1 and SP2 of the 2004 Local Plan.

Sustainability Appraisal

20.15 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 94 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Childrens' Play Provision

The Issues

20.16 The 2005 Open Spaces Audit found that the current policy of providing fully equipped formal children’s play areas is not working well, as the play spaces are often underused and expensive to maintain and manage.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

20.17 86% of respondents to the consultation on the Issues and Options paper supported a new approach to play provision as set out in the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy.

The Preferred Approach - Childrens' Play Provision

(7) PREFERRED APPROACH 43: Childrens' Play Provision

Local green spaces should be designed in a way that maximises their informal play value. That there should be a relatively small number of large equipped play spaces at key locations around the town that are accessible to all. The Council will require developers to design housing environments in which children have space to play informally and safely and where they have priority over vehicles, and where such spaces contribute to the provision of open space. These are to be developed in accordance with the Council’s Quality Standard For Open Spaces.

Sustainability Appraisal

20.18 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 94 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Links

  • Issues and options stage – Questions 11.1 to 11.10
  • Core Strategy objectives – 11.13
  • Draft South East Plan policies – C2, C3, C4
  • Hastings Local Plan 2004 policies – NC6, NC7, NC8, NC9, NC10, L1, L2, L2, L4, L7, DG13, OS1, OS2, OS3, OS4, OS5
  • Community Strategy targets – 13a, 20
  • PPGs/PPSs/ Circulars – PPS1, PPS9, PPG17

Measuring Success

  • Access to open space - Increase the % if households within 300 metres of an accessible open space that meets the Councils Quality standards
  • Condition of SSSI’s (PSA set by Govt requires that 95% of SSSI’s be in a favourable (unfavourable recovering) condition by 2010
  • % of open spaces managed to green flag award standard
  • Change in areas and populations of biodiversity importance: Priority habitats & species and the change in areas designated for their intrinsic environmental value including sites of international, national, regional, sub-regional or local importance
  • Planning permissions granted contrary to advice of the Environment Agency on either flood defence grounds or water quality
  • Numbers of participations engaged and registered on Active Hastings interventions Numbers of participations engaged and registered on Active Hastings interventions within 20% most deprived SOAs
  • Childrens’ Play Provision indicators will be introduced when the Childrens’ Play Provision Supplementary Planning Document is written.
  • Extent of multi functional Green network

Environmental Sustainability and Design

Overall approach

The Issues

21.1 To support the development of sustainable communities, as part of the town’s regeneration there is a significant need to reduce the effects of and adapt to, climate change. This will involve taking a pro-active approach in reducing the town’s carbon emissions.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

21.2 The “Issues and Options” presented ideas for a strategic policy, and asked whether any other issues needed to be considered. There was general agreement that the issues put forward were all relevant, but further emphasis needed to be placed on the risk of sea flooding in the LDF, and encouraging sustainable modes of transport. Transport issues are considered in the Transport section in chapter 3. Designing out crime and encouraging better accessibility to developments were suggested as additional areas to be included.

The Preferred Approach – Sustainability and Design

(23) PREFERRED APPROACH 44: Sustainability and Design

Incorporate a strategic policy that:

* Promotes development that will minimise energy use and consumption through the appropriate layout and orientation, building form and design, and design to take account of the micro-climate

* Promotes development that incorporates renewable energy production facilities into new developments to minimise carbon dioxide production

* Manages and reduces the threat of flooding through the consideration of planning applications using the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and the incorporation of appropriate Sustainable Drainage Systems in new development

* Reduces consumption of natural and non-renewable resources

* Protects against light, air, land, noise and water pollution

* Promotes development that incorporates recycling facilities, and uses waste as a resource4

* Meets high water efficiency standards

* Promotes safe, ‘Secure By Design’ and community safety features

* Encourages equality of access to developments for the whole community

* Require all developments of 10 or more dwellings to be constructed to meet Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes or its equivalent, subject to viability. Require all business and commercial development above a threshold of 1000m² to meet the BREEAM standards subject to viability. Viability testing of a selection of sites in Hastings will be undertaken as part of the preparation of the evidence base for a detailed policy.

Sustainability Appraisal

21.4 The strategic policy was not presented alongside any other alternative options, but as the only preferred policy direction. As such, sustainability appraisal did not compare it to other options.

21.5 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on pages 94 and 95 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Sustainable Design

The Issues

21.6 Sustainable design plays an important role in addressing climate change and the long term sustainability of the town. Affordable homes are already being built to high sustainability standards in line with the Code for Sustainable homes, which leaves a gap in the private sector where the issue of low carbon building needs to be further developed.

21.7 Part L of the Building Regulations sets standards and targets for reducing the carbon emissions of new homes, progressing towards zero carbon by 2016. The overall strategic approach above also covers many sustainable design elements contributing to the Code for Sustainable Homes.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

21.8 The majority of respondents (93%) agreed that all new developments should meet the minimum level of sustainable construction, for example, using the BREEAM and Eco-Homes standards (which have now been replaced by the Code for Sustainable Homes). Mixed views were received as to the actual level of sustainability that should be achieved, as it was recognised that requiring the highest levels could be too onerous on developers in a town where viability is an issue.

Renewable Energy

The Issues

21.9 We can progress towards low carbon building by maximising the energy efficiency of buildings, reducing consumption, and making sure energy demand is met from new renewable energy capacity. Although design and build costs are usually higher for energy efficient buildings, lower running costs, health benefits and increased comfort of the occupants, compensate for such costs.

Renewable Energy - Standalone Schemes

21.10 The Council takes a positive attitude to the development of renewable energy provision. There is an opportunity to reword the existing criteria based Local Plan policy to reflect this. Following new Government guidelines (March 2008), we will investigate the potential for identifying specific sites for renewable energy schemes.

The Preferred Approach – Renewable Energy

(10) PREFERRED APPROACH 45: Renewable Energy – Standalone Schemes

Proposals for renewable energy developments, including any ancillary infrastructure or building will be favourably considered if:

1) Their scale, form, design, materials and cumulative impacts can be satisfactorily assimilated into the landscape or built environment and would not harm the appearance of these areas; and 

2) They would not impact adversely on the local community, economy, biodiversity or historical interests.

The Council will investigate the area’s potential for accommodating renewable and low carbon energy sources and supporting infrastructure. Suitable sites will be identified through the forthcoming Sites Allocation Development Plan Document.

Renewable Energy - On Site Provision

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

21.11 The majority of respondents (80%) were in favour of requiring developers to submit an assessment of a developments’ energy demand, and that we require at least 10% of this demand to be supplied from on site renewable energy. Mixed views were received as to whether we should only ‘encourage’ developers to do this, or whether the requirement should relate to all developments as opposed to larger schemes over a certain threshold.

(9) PREFERRED APPROACH 46: Renewable Energy - On Site Provision

We are developing a flexible policy for on site renewable energy provision. This policy will encourage developers to consider a range of renewable energy technologies on their sites, some of which may be more appropriate in different locations. The policy targets may increase during later reviews of the plan, in order to reflect the need to address climate change.

Subject to further evidence base work (prior to the submission of this Core Strategy), all new commercial development above a threshold of 1000m, or residential development of 10 or more dwellings, will be expected to provide at least 10% of their energy requirements from onsite renewable energy generation, unless it can be demonstrated that the development will be unviable in terms of development type, location, design or economics.

Sustainability Appraisal

21.12 We consider the sustainability effects of this approach on page 95 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Flood Risk And Water Quality

The Issues

21.13 The risk of coastal and river flooding in the town will increase in the future as a result of the effects of climate change and rising sea levels. Coastal and fluvial flooding is particularly relevant towards the western end of the town, with surface water flooding being prominent in the lower Combe Haven Catchment around Bulverhythe. Housing development in the wrong locations could also adversely affect water quality in the town’s rivers and streams.

21.14 We need to respond appropriately to these issues, and ensure that new development is directed to areas of where there is the lowest possible risk, and incorporate mitigation measures such as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDs), to minimise the impacts of new development.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

21.15 The issues and options document presented one option, which was to accord with the draft South East Plan policy in relation to Sustainable Flood Risk Management. 47% of respondents agreed that this covered all the flood risk issues in Hastings, with 35% disagreeing.

The Preferred Approach – Flood Risk

21.16 Since the publication of the Core Strategy Issues and Options, a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment has been undertaken in line with government guidance, which has been used in the identification of development proposals in the Core Strategy. However, more detailed assessments will be necessary when planning applications are submitted.

(10) PREFERRED APPROACH 47: Flood Risk

In accordance with PPS25

The flood risk associated with new development will be taken into account at all stages of the planning process – this includes in the preparation of future DPDs and SPDs and at the planning application stage.

Developments will be directed away from flood risk areas in accordance with principles set out in PPS25 and informed by the Council’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment.

Positive adaptation of developments to reduce the risk of flooding will be sought through a variety of suitable measures, including the appropriate use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs).

Sustainability Appraisal

21.17 The option presented at the issues and options stage was not appraised during the sustainability appraisal process due to it having already been appraised as part of the South East Plan. The revised approach is still in keeping with national and regional guidance, and again, has not been appraised in the Sustainability Appraisal report.

Sense Of Place and Local Identity

The Issues

21.18 Sense of place and local identity are important characteristics of our town. The future planning policies must make sure that future developments retain the best of the existing heritage and townscape so they add to local character and distinctiveness. Public art and lighting schemes have had a very positive impact on the image of the town in recent years

21.19 We already have a set of development control policies relating to the design and appearance of new development, but the LDF gives us the opportunity to consider whether we should be more proactive in requiring new buildings and spaces to be innovative and complementary to local urban form and building styles and more accessible to everyone.

You Told Us – Results of Issues and Options Consultation

21.20 Our consultations showed that there was a lot of support for the proposal to prepare urban design guides for those parts of the town where new development is likely to impact on features of local identity, and to prepare site specific design briefs for major development sites.

21.21 Our consultations also showed that there was overall support for a policy encouraging developers to invest in public art in the development and surrounding area

The Preferred Approach - Sense Of Place and Local Identity

(10) PREFERRED APPROACH 48: Sense Of Place and Local Identity

To assess design quality in planning proposals for new homes, the Council will require all major planning proposals involving residential development to address the 20 questions that make up the Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment (CABE) and the Home Builders Federation Buildings for Life standard. This information will need to be submitted with planning applications involving ten or more dwellings.

Place specific design briefs may also be appropriate, depending on circumstances, suitability and timing.

Built and Historic Environment

21.22 The town has a rich historic heritage and this plays a key part in promoting economic prosperity by fostering tourism and providing attractive living and working conditions which encourage inward investment. We already have a set of planning policies controlling development in relation to listed buildings, conservation areas, archaeological sites and ancient monuments. The Council is committed to using its planning powers to preserve and enhance the town’s unique heritage and conservation area appraisals are a major way of assessing and managing the historic built environment.

The Preferred Approach – Built and Historic Environment

(10) PREFERRED APPROACH 49: Built and Historic Environment

Development proposals will be expected to contribute positively to the character of the built and historic environment of the Borough.

The character of the built and historic environment will be protected, preserved or enhanced. Particular protection will be given to the character and special features of:

  1. Conservation areas;
  2. Listed buildings;
  3. Historic parks and gardens; and
  4. Archaeological sites

Development which preserves or, where appropriate, enhances the character of important historic buildings and sites and their settings will be encouraged.

21.23 This policy approach will be supported by more detailed policies in the Development Control DPD.

Sustainability Appraisal

21.24 We consider the sustainability effects of these approaches on page 95 of the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal Report.

Links

  • Issues and options stage – Questions 12.2 – 12.12
  • Core Strategy objectives – 4, 12, 13
  • Draft South East Plan – CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4, NRM3
  • Hastings Local Plan 2004 policies – DG23, DG24, DG26, DG2
  • Community Strategy targets – 21
  • PPGs/PPSs/Circulars – PPG15, PPG16, PPS1, PPS10, PPS22, PPS25, Circular 04/06

Measuring Success

  • Renewable energy capacity (Megawatts) installed by type
  • Number of commercial developments over 1000m² providing at 10% of their energy requirements from onsite renewable energy generation
  • Number of residential developments over 10 dwellings over 1000m² providing at 10% of their energy requirements from onsite renewable energy generation
  • Number of qualifying developments/properties installing SUDs
  • All major housing developments (10 or more dwellings) to be appraised against Council for Architecture and The Built Environment guidance
  • Planning permissions granted contrary to advice of the Environment Agency on either flood defence grounds or water quality

Pedestrian & cycle route

4 In considering planning proposals regard will be had to the East Sussex County Council Supplementary Planning Document “Construction & Demolition Waste”.

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