Hastings Planning Strategy Proposed Submission Version

Ended on the 17th August 2012
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Chapter 10: Community Infrastructure

10.1 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.

10.2 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.

10.3 We are required to take account of all community requirements, particularly those relating to age, sex, ethnic background, religion, disability and income.

Infrastructure delivery

10.4 An Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) has been prepared in consultation with service providers responsible for infrastructure in Hastings, which will be reviewed as and when appropriate. The IDP will help ensure that the right infrastructure is in place at the right time to provide additional capacity required to support development proposed by this Strategy, and also to enable the determination and co-ordination of investment plans. It will do this by identifying:

  • the infrastructure needed to support planned development

  • the lead agencies responsible for providing key infrastructure

  • timescales, relative to the planned development, for providing key infrastructure

10.5 It is likely that future contributions towards the infrastructure required to support development proposed by this Strategy will be made through the introduction of an area-wide Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) plus appropriate Section 106 contributions for site specific needs. Until such time as an area-wide CIL is introduced all contributions will be made through Section 106 in line with current legislation and national policy, including the pooling of contributions.

(1) 10.6 The IDP and associated Schedule showing the infrastructure schemes required to support this Strategy, is available to view or download from our website at www.hastings.gov.uk/environment_planning/planning/local_development_framework/ldf_documents/. Where appropriate, sites to accommodate identified infrastructure needs will be identified in the Development Management Plan.

Development contributions

10.7 Community facilities and essential infrastructure can be achieved by requiring developers to enter into legal agreements under Section 106 of the Town and Country planning Act 1991 (planning obligations) to meet the needs arising from their development.

10.8 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. Our adopted Supplementary Planning Guidance note (SPG) sets out a priority order for contributions:

  1. Essential on-site infrastructure

  2. Essential off-site infrastructure or mitigation

  3. Sustainable transport

  4. Education

  5. Off-site community facilities, youth, public art, libraries, social services, waste, countryside management and economic development

(1) 10.9 A potential tariff approach to infrastructure provision will be explored as part of the Development Management Plan, in consultation with East Sussex County Council. The existing Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) will be updated or superseded as necessary, once a decision has been made about whether to seek development contributions through CIL.

(3) POLICY CI1: Infrastructure and Development Contributions

The Council will seek to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place at the right time to provide the additional infrastructure capacity required to support new development. This will be achieved through the following:

  1. Preparing, regularly updating and facilitating the implementation of an Infrastructure Delivery Plan, setting out the infrastructure to be provided by the Council, other public sector bodies and the utility companies to support new development and meet future needs.

  2. Mitigating inadequacies in infrastructure arising from proposed development through development contributions that will provide towards sufficient and appropriate improvement through upgrade, enhancement or new infrastructure.

  3. Contributions will relate to all aspects of land use, community infrastructure and services that may be directly related to the development proposed, and accord with the council’s identified local priorities and objectives for delivering sustainable communities. Development will be required to contribute towards providing all infrastructure that will be needed to support future development in Hastings.

Sports and leisure facilities

10.10 Inclusive sport and leisure facilities play an important role in addressing inequalities, improving quality of life and enhancing community interaction. We recognise that it is essential for all residents to have access to a range of leisure opportunities and the importance of maintaining a geographical distribution of facilities to meet local community needs. The Hastings & Rother Leisure Facilities Strategy 2009-2020 provides a current and projected level of supply and demand for sports facilities in Hastings which will help inform any future developments. Non traditional sporting partners will also be encouraged to be involved in future developments, helping to widen access and increase participation in physical activity.

(1) 10.11 The programme of refurbishment to Summerfields Leisure Centre and Falaise Fitness Centre has been completed, giving these facilities an additional 15 year life span. Freedom Leisure currently manages these facilities, although the situation will be reviewed in 2016 when the contract expires. There is a clear aspiration to build a new leisure centre but no funding has been identified at present. We also anticipate further changes to the leisure facilities at White Rock Gardens up to 2015, including an expansion of the Skate Park. We recognise the need for a reassessment of the range and standard of facilities in the area and will be undertaking this during the Planning Strategy period.

10.12 Protecting the existing stock of playing fields and sports pitches is also important to maintain the health and well being of local people, and in light of increasing pressures for development. We therefore seek to protect the existing provision, and encourage the development of new facilities in central locations.

(2) POLICY CI2: Sports and Leisure Facilities

Major sports and leisure facilities should be centrally located, or easily accessible to all of the community. Provision for casual recreation, such as multi-use games areas should be locally based within communities and where possible, built in school partnership developments, which can maximise daytime use as well as community use outside school hours.

Playing fields and sports pitches will be identified as part of the green infrastructure network (see Policy EN2), and planning permission for the reduction in size or number of playing fields or sports pitches will only be granted where:

  1. existing facilities are of a poor and unsustainable quality and surplus to requirements; or

  2. the proposal would serve to upgrade the sports facilities, or reinstate them elsewhere on the site; or

  3. the proposed development is necessary to meet an important national, regional or local need and alternative provision is made that enhances, or is equivalent to, existing recreational facilities; or

  4. in the case of an operating school site, the proposal is for educational purposes that are essential and cannot be satisfactorily accommodated elsewhere.

Children’s play provision

10.13 Play is vital to a child’s healthy development and the Council recognises that it is essential for every child to have access to quality play spaces. Formal equipped play areas offer essential play opportunities, but it is important to recognise the value of informal play opportunities in the shared public domain also. This relies on sensitive design in areas such as landscaping, public art and street design.

10.14 The Open Spaces Audit, undertaken in 2006, found that the Council’s policy to provide fully equipped formal children’s play areas was not working as well as it should, and that play areas were often underused and expensive to maintain and manage.

10.15 As the principle providers of publicly accessibly equipped play sites in Hastings, AmicusHorizon Ltd and Hastings Borough Council have been working together to prepare a Play Space Strategy (August 2011) for future play space provision. This strategy favours the improvement of existing play facilities in the local area of any new development using off-site developer contributions, but will require play facilities in a new development where there are no other sites nearby.

(1) POLICY CI3: Children’s Play Provision

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. Developer contributions will be sought to improve existing provision in proximity to the proposed development, but where no good playgrounds exist within 600 metres or a 15-20 minute walking distance, new play facilities will be required.

In some neighbourhoods where it is not appropriate or viable to provide further equipped play areas, developers may be required to enhance Community green spaces as an alternative.

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