Employment Land Retention Supplementary Planning Document

Ended on the 15 February 2010
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Appendix 4 – Local Economic Context

1.1 Hastings is a tightly constrained coastal town surrounded by protected landscape and countryside such as the Hastings County Park and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

1.2 Growth and regeneration are central to the town’s future prosperity. Whilst we need to maximise the town’s potential to accommodate further sustainable development. The South East Plan identifies Hastings as a regional hub located within the Sussex Coast sub-region (stretching from Chichester to Rye). This emphasises its role as a centre of economic activity and transport services.  The Hastings/Bexhill Link Road will support the regional hub. The Government has invested more than £85 million4 of funding into a variety of regeneration projects, The vision is for a transformation in the town’s built environment, range of available sites and business space, ICT infrastructure, and availability of new housing.

1.3 Government planning guidance advocates that development on previously developed land should take priority. This has resulted in the Borough’s valuable employment land and premises coming under increasing pressure for redevelopment to higher value uses, such as residential and retail development. Statistics show that 85% of businesses employ 10 or fewer people and demonstrates the importance of smaller business premises which can house these growing businesses. However, it often is these smaller premises which are under the most pressure to move to higher value uses. It therefore is important to strike a balance between the competing needs within the Town, particularly between the provision of employment floorspace and the housing needs of the Borough.

The Hastings and Rother Employment Strategy and Land Review May 2008

1.4 The Hastings and Rother Employment Strategy and Land Review May 2008 was undertaken as part of the evidence base for the Local Development Framework. The purpose of this document is to understand the future needs for employment land and buildings in Hastings and Rother and compare this to the existing supply of stock and employment land within the Town, whilst also identifying what types of land and premises will be needed to satisfy these future needs.

The Evidence Base – Hastings and Bexhill Economic Development and Inclusion Strategy.

1.5 Hastings Council has adopted the Hastings & Bexhill Economic Development and Inclusion Strategy. This aims to take forward the economic development of the area under three objectives:

  1. Success – to increase business activity and create employment providing a range of job opportunities and increase average earnings
  2. Inclusion – to enable local people, particularly those who are disadvantaged, to raise their skills and aspirations and to get jobs offering stable employment and a living wage
  3. Sustainability – to achieve and maintain environmentally sustainable prosperity by maximising environmental benefits and opportunities and minimising negative environmental impacts.

1.6 The Strategy is intended to complement and support the 5 Point Plan of the Hastings and Bexhill Task Force, of which the Council is a key member. It includes the specific aim to "safeguard existing sites and premises, and encourage the redevelopment of out-moded stock, increasing density where appropriate" (Aim 1.1.1)

4 Including £38 million from the South East England Development Agency, plus a further £19M, £15 million from English Partnerships for Hastings Millennium Community, £3.5 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England for the University Centre Hastings, £10 million from other public sources, mainly the EU. There is also additional investment into Sussex Coast College from the LSC and SEEDA.

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