Hastings Town Centre and Bohemia Area Action Plan
Summary of existing Planning Policy
Hastings Planning Strategy
The Hastings Planning Strategy (HPS) provides a long term plan to deliver regeneration and sustainable growth in the town up to 2028. The HPS outlines a number of Strategic Objectives that will help meet the overall vision for the Borough. Relevant aims within Objective 1 include 'providing for 20,500m2 of retail floorspace in the town centre by 2028' and 'developing Hastings and St Leonards Town Centres as the focus for employment in the office, retail, leisure and cultural and service sectors, with Hastings Town Centre being the primary focus'. Objective 7 seeks to make best use of the Seafront and promote tourism within Hastings. A relevant aim within Objective 7 is to 'increase opportunities for vibrant art and craft studios, markets, chalets and retail' within the seafront area.
The relevant HPS policies are outlined below as follows:
- Policy DS3: Location of Retail Development states a need for 20,500m2 new comparison goods floorspace up to 2028, with this need being primarily met within Hastings Town Centre. Furthermore, it is stated that 2,800m2 of retail warehousing needs will be met on edge-of-centre and out-of-centre sites.
- Policy E3: Town, District and Local Centres sets out the
hierarchy of town, district and local centres in Hastings.
Development proposals for town centre uses are directed to
town and district centres. The hierarchy of centres is as
follows: Town Centre: Hastings (the principal centre in the
- District Centre: The Old Town, St Leonards centre, Ore Village, Silverhill
- Local Centre: Bohemia
- Policy E3 seeks to safeguard the retail character and function of the centre, enhance its appearance and quality, encourage a diverse range of uses within the centre including retail, leisure, social, education, arts, culture, office, residential and commercial.
- Policy E4: Tourism and Visitors seeks to promote and secure sustainable tourism development in Hastings Town Centre by encouraging a more diverse and high quality tourism offer in both attractions and accommodation.
- Policy FA3: Strategy for Hastings Town Centre states the
- provide for c.21,700m2 (net) employment floorspace at Priory Quarter by 2028
- provide for 20,500m2 (gross/net) retail comparison goods floorspace up to 2028
- achieve a more even mix of housing tenure
- promote competitiveness in terms of the range and type of shops operating in the area
- ensure the area is attractive to visitors and support the retention of visitor accommodation
- promote accessibility by local public transport, walking and cycling, and for people with disabilities
- develop the evening economy
- promote and encourage improvements to the public realm as part of new development schemes and in day to day repairs and maintenance
- promote leisure and cultural facilities including a new library, registration service and wedding venue, and support the development of cultural quarters between White Rock & the America Ground and Station Plaza through the Development Management Plan
- protect and enhance architectural heritage, particularly in the conservation area
- maintain the distinctiveness of the area in terms of architecture, townscape and function
- improve the existing housing stock and quality of life for residents
- encourage mixed use developments and explore the potential for 'living above the shop'
- seek to reduce the number of long term empty homes
- control the distribution and mix of Houses in Multiple Occupation within the area.
Development Management Plan
The Development Management Plan (DMP) document follows on from the Hastings Planning Strategy. The DMP shows in more detail where the housing, offices, shops and other development will go; and provides specific policies to be used in the determination of planning applications.
The Development Management Plan identifies the following retail policies:
- Town Centre Boundary: Policy FA3;
- Hastings Town Centre Shopping Area: Meadows: Policy SA1;
- Drinking Establishments and Hot Food Take Aways: Policy SA4
Policy SA1 states that within the Hastings Town Centre Shopping Area at ground floor level, as defined on the Policies Map, proposals for planning use classes A1-A4 and other uses appropriate to the character of the shopping area will be permitted provided both of the following criteria are satisfied:
- The proposal would not result in non-A1 uses exceeding 5% of the total floorspace of Priory Meadow and not more than 45% of the total number of ground floor units in the remaining shopping area, as defined on the Policies Map;
- The proposal would not result in such a concentration of non-class A1 uses as to lead to a significant interruption in the shopping frontage, thus harming the vitality and viability of the Hastings Town Centre Shopping Area as a whole.
Policy SA4 states that planning permission for new drinking establishments (use class A4) and hot food take-aways (use class A5) will be granted provided that the proposal would not adversely affect neighbours, result in public disorder and that it would not cause a danger to the public highway.
Policy CQ1identifies four Cultural Quarters where cultural activities are concentrated and where their continuance and expansion will be encouraged and supported. The areas of relevance include the White Rock and America Ground Cultural Quarter (including Robertson Street and Harold Place) and the Academic Cultural Quarter (including Priory Quarter). The Development Management Plan recognises that cultural activities can make a vital contribution to the local economy, strengthening visitation rates and raising aspirations in the town. The document notes that it is natural for many of these to cluster within an area for mutual advantage, benefiting from flexibility, change and temporary uses, in addition to an availability of indoor and outdoor exhibition and performance space.
Section three of the DMP identifies Site Allocations across the Borough, two of which are of particular relevance to this study and fall within the Town Centre Boundary and immediately adjoin the Hastings Town Centre Shopping Area:
- Site Allocation HTC3 (The Observer Building) is identified within the DMP as being suitable for mixed use (including tourist accommodation, retail, educational and leisure facilities).
- Site Allocation HTC6 (Priory Quarter, Havelock Road) is also identified as being suitable for mixed use development including education, retail, leisure and hotel uses. The Development Management Plan confirms that the site has outline planning permission for a large scale mixed use development comprising offices, education, retail and leisure. It encompasses a significant part of the Academic Cultural Quarter, and is allocated primarily for business development, but also allows for other complementary uses – retail, education, car parking, hotel and/or leisure proposals, should they come forward. A design brief has been prepared to help guide development in this location.
Elsewhere within the Hastings Town Centre Boundary, and in close proximity to the Town Centre Shopping Area, Site Allocations HTC 1, 2 and 4 are allocated for residential development.