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Part Four – Theme Based Policies

Chapter 6: Developing Sustainable Communities

Managing change

6.1 The Government is committed to the creation of sustainable communities – that is, creating and maintaining places where people want to live and stay. To achieve this, and realise the vision of the Planning Strategy, we have prepared an overall framework for managing change in the town up to 2028, supported by more detailed policies dealing with different aspects of change. The role of design and access statements in supporting good design in development is set out in Policy SC2.


POLICY SC1: Overall Strategy for Managing Change in a Sustainable Way

Growth and change will be managed so that development meets sustainability objectives, avoids significant vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, improves the quality of the natural environment, supports the diverse needs of communities and provides vibrant, safe, healthy and inclusive places where existing and future residents want to live and work. This will be achieved through:

  1. endeavouring to meet housing needs of all sectors of the community, including the provision of affordable housing
  2. providing access to education, training and jobs and supporting the creation of new enterprises to bring economic prosperity and greater self-sufficiency
  3. improving access and ease of mobility for all in new and existing developments, but especially for sensory and physically impaired or disabled people
  4. supporting the social, economic and environmental regeneration of disadvantaged areas and communities
  5. enhancing the cohesion and vitality of communities, providing neighbourhoods with a vibrant and accessible mix of flexible and compatible uses, services and community facilities
  6. requiring new development to make provision for fibre-based broadband infrastructure
  7. managing flood risk and reducing the potential effects of climate change on existing and future communities
  8. providing accessible forms of development that reduce the need to travel by car and are integrated with public transport and other sustainable modes of travel, allow for ease of movement and provide safe environments
  9. requiring high quality distinctive architecture and urban design which adds to local character and sense of place
  10. reducing opportunities for crime and disorder through innovative design and the clear distinction of public and private space
  11. providing an accessible greenspace network and protection and enhancement of biodiversity
  12. protecting against light, air, water, land and noise pollution.
  13. supporting the move to a low carbon economy
  14. providing everyone with access to a good quality natural environment
  15. ensuring that the amenity of development proposals in proximity to existing wastewater facilities is protected

POLICY SC2: Design and Access Statements

Design and access statements accompanying planning applications should demonstrate the evolution of the design prior to submission, the rationale behind the scheme, and how it meets the criteria of policy SC1.  Place specific design briefs may also be appropriate depending on circumstances, suitability and timing.

Developments should follow the waste hierarchy, as set out in the prevailing Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) guidance1, in the choice of building materials and construction methods used, and include this in the Design and Access Statement

6.2 This policy will be supported by more detailed design policies in the Development Management Plan.

Addressing climate change

6.3 Climate change is likely to result in wetter, warmer winters and drier, hotter summers, along with a rise in sea levels. Summer rainfall in the South East is projected to decrease by 8% in the 2020s, 19% in the 2050s and by 23% in the 2080s2.

6.4 The planning system is able to ensure that the design and location of development proposals take into account the need to adapt to future climate change through both its ability to grant planning permission and the allocation of suitable development sites in plans. In particular, planning has a role in:

  • ensuring inappropriate development does not take place in areas at high risk of river or sea flooding;
  • ensuring development does not make water shortages and drought worse;
  • helping to manage high temperatures, particularly in urban areas through protection and management of urban greenspace; and
  • controlling the spatial design of new development, such as its layout and orientation.

6.5 In Hastings, we intend to take a pro-active approach to reducing the town’s carbon emissions, and ensuring sustainable development and high quality design are at the heart of our approach to plan making and development management. It may be appropriate in the longer term to consider the potential for water-based energy from the sea such as wave and tidal power. We also recognise that existing buildings too, can add to the town’s overall carbon emissions and therefore these should be considered in any strategy towards dealing with climate change. Private and community energy generation or water harvesting also has the potential to reduce utility bills and fuel poverty. We will encourage the installation of renewable energy and micro- generation technologies and energy and water efficiency measures within existing development.

6.6 We are committed to providing an additional 3,400 homes and significant levels of commercial development up to 2028. We therefore need to reduce our carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the targets set in the Climate Change Act 2008, and to offset the additional (approximate) 3,000 tonnes projected to result from the planned development in the town3.

6.7 Climate change mitigation and adaptation measures such as micro-generation, green roofs and walls, sustainable drainage systems, networks of green spaces, the protection and enhancement of biodiversity, waste reduction and recycling, and flood risk management are all now essential components of good planning and design along with the more traditional concerns such as sense of place, local distinctiveness and designing out crime.


POLICY SC3: Promoting Sustainable and Green Design All development must be designed to:

  1. incorporate appropriate climate change mitigation and adaptation measures such as green roofs and walls, sustainable drainage systems, multi-functional green space, protecting and enhancing biodiversity, waste reduction and recycling facilities, water efficiency, flood risk management, and the use of recycled materials in new development
  2. enable a low carbon future in a changing climate

Innovative design proposals that enhance and attractively contrast local surroundings will be supported.

Working towards zero carbon development

6.8 Whilst we recognise the importance of micro-generation technologies in reducing harmful gas emissions, this overall strategy seeks to implement an energy hierarchy by achieving energy efficiency first, before looking at implementation of other forms of renewable energy generation on a larger scale. The Hastings Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Study (2009)4 did not identify any sites as being suitable for exceeding national standards for sustainable building set by either the Building Regulations or the Code for Sustainable Homes. Our policy therefore concentrates on how best to achieve low carbon development in line with the requirements set by  the Code for Sustainable Homes and the step-by-step tightening of the Building Regulations. The national timetable for this is as follows:


Year Target Private Sector Public Sector
2008 Introduced 1 May 2008 None Level 3
2010 Code Level 3 - A 25% improvement in energy efficiency compared to Part L of the Building Regulations 2006 Level 3 Level 4
2013 Code Level 4 – A 44% improvement in energy efficiency compared to Part L of the Building Regulations 2006 Level 4 Level 6
2016 Code Level 6 – Zero Carbon homes Level 6 Level 6

Table 5: Timetable for introduction of changes to building regulations


POLICY SC4: Working Towards Zero Carbon Development

The energy hierarchy below sets out the most suitable and cost effective method of achieving low carbon development.  Developers are required to follow the hierarchical approach in achieving the energy and carbon dioxide emission requirements of the Building Regulations, for all new residential development.  New non-residential development is encouraged to follow the same approach.

  1. to improve energy efficiency through thermal and fabric performance improvement measures, then:-
  2. provide on-site renewable energy generation or on-site connected heating, or Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technologies, or Combined Cooling, Heat and Power (CCHP) systems then:-
  3.  the remainder of the CO2 reduction targets to meet the Building Regulations targets should be met through suitable additional measures such as larger CHP or district heating systems or Mega Watt (MW) scale wind offsetting.

Developers are encouraged to meet higher standards than those required nationally, and pursue additional low carbon or renewable energy generation measures where practicable.

Compliance with this policy approach is required to be demonstrated through design and access statements submitted with a planning application.

Heat density opportunity areas

6.9 Although it is intended that zero carbon homes and carbon reduction in other non-residential buildings will be delivered through national building regulations, it is critical that the local planning system helps to direct the shift needed towards low carbon development and communities.

6.10 Through heat mapping, the Hastings Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Study (2009) identified two high heat demand areas of the town:

  • Conquest Hospital
  • Summerfields Sports Centre

6.11 Development in these areas could present opportunities for the introduction and expansion of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems and district heating networks into the existing build stock.

6.12 There may also be a further opportunity to support the introduction of district heating in the town centre. We will continue to explore options for further heat density opportunity areas, and these will be identified in the Development Management Plan.


POLICY SC5 – District Heating Networks and Combined Heat and Power Systems

To facilitate compliance with the Government’s timetable to deliver zero carbon homes and buildings, Hastings Borough Council will explore opportunities for Combined Heat and Power systems connected to district heating networks in the vicinity of the Conquest Hospital, Summerfields
Sports Centre, and Hastings town centre. Opportunity areas will be identified in the Development Management Plan.

Renewable energy schemes

6.13 The Hastings Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Study (2009) assessed the town’s potential to provide large scale renewable energy.

6.14 The study concluded that approximately 4-5MWe (Megawatts electricity) of large scale wind power will be required to offset the carbon emissions resulting from planned development in the town, taking account of the strengthening of the government’s sustainable building standards.

6.15 In response to this, the study identified potential for wind energy in both Combe Valley Countryside Park (within both the Hastings and Rother areas) and at Hastings Country Park. This is in addition to the planned 2MW (megawatt) turbine at the Queensway Employment Corridor.

6.16 Reliability on the local biomass resource (conifer, non-coniferous, mixed and coppice woodland resources) is limited due to inaccessibility within the borough boundary, and competition in the surrounding area, for example, surrounding rural areas have much more available woodland.

6.17 The Council will therefore take a positive approach to delivering renewable energy developments in the town, and will work in partnership with Rother District Council in considering and identifying sites in urban fringe areas. Any consideration of sites that do come forward within Combe Valley Countryside Park will need to give due consideration to the Parks objectives and purpose of its designation, in line with part b) of Policy SC6


POLICY SC6: Renewable Energy Developments

Proposals for renewable energy developments, including any ancillary infrastructure or building will be supported unless:

  1. their scale, form, design, material and cumulative impacts is unacceptable to the local landscape or built environment; and
  2. they would adversely impact on the local community, economy, biodiversity or historic interests
  3. the scale and impact of developments in nationally recognised designations, such as the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Scheduled Monuments, Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings or Registered Parks and Gardens, is not compatible with the purpose of their designation

The Council will investigate the town’s potential for accommodating renewable and low carbon energy sources and supporting infrastructure.  Suitable sites will be identified through the Development  Management  Plan.

Flood risk and water quality

6.18 The 2008 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA)5 identifies that flood risk in Hastings is attributed to several sources. These include tidal and river flooding, groundwater and sewer flooding, and surface water run off. The most significant flood risk problem exists towards the west of the town around the Bulverhythe area, where groundwater, surface water run-off and tide locking combine to create high levels of flood risk. Higher flood  risk areas are also mostly apparent along the Seafront, and around the Hollington Stream and Combe Haven River.

6.19 The SFRA identifies the areas that are affected by groundwater flooding risk, and the extent of the minor aquifers. As this covers a significant area of the town, it is important that these resources are protected from the risks posed by any new large scale commercial development, particularly in West St Leonards and central parts of the town. The Development Management Plan will set out potential development sites in vulnerable areas that could impact on water quality, and consider the measures that need to be taken.

6.20 The Cuckmere and Sussex Havens Catchment Flood Management Plan (2009) and the Hastings Surface Water Management Plan (2011) both highlight that surface water flooding is likely to increase, with further action in the future required to reduce the impacts of climate change. Without future reductions in the amount  of surface water generated, the economic and physical development of the town could be compromised. Sustainable Drainage Systems should therefore be designed to provide additional capacity to store run off.


POLICY SC7: Flood Risk

The Council will support development proposals that avoid areas of current or future flood risk, and those that do not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere.

The Council will adopt a risk-based sequential approach to determining the suitability of land for development, in accordance with the principles set out in national planning policy relating to Flood Risk and the Hastings Strategic Flood Risk Assessment 2008.

Following application of the sequential and exception tests where necessary, development proposals will need to:

  • be of flood resistant or resilient design
  • ensure the most vulnerable land uses are directed away from the areas at highest flood risk on a site where there is more than one flood zone.
  • manage surface water run-off appropriately, particularly in the Combe Haven Catchment Area, in accordance with the Council’s adopted Surface Water Management Plan and its standing advice

Developers will particularly need to address flood risk in areas at the highest risk, such as Bulverhythe, Combe Valley Countryside Park and Hastings Town Centre.

Adaptation of all developments to reduce the risk of flooding will be sought through a variety of suitable measures, including the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems.  Proposals for the long-term management of these should be submitted to the Council at or before the planning application stage.

6.21 It is acknowledged that Hastings is within an area of ‘water stress’ as defined by the Environment Agency, and that we must continue to work towards reducing water consumption in the town. Compulsory water metering and changes to the Building Regulations will restrict water usage and assist in reducing current demand. Measures within Policy SC2 also seek to ensure that all new development is designed to incorporate water efficiency measure to reduce demand on water supply.

Coastal change

6.22 The South Foreland to Beachy Head Shoreline Management Plan First Review (2006)6 explores how climate change and natural processes will shape the shoreline over the next 100 years, and the implications this will have on coastal management. For the coastal strip along Hastings Seafront to Bulverhythe and Glyne Gap,  the long term policy is to ‘hold the line’ to prevent flooding and erosion of the seafront, and protect economic, tourism and residential assets.

6.23 For the section of the coast from Fairlight Cove to Hastings, the policy is ‘no active intervention’, allowing natural cliff retreat. There is no existing or planned development within this area.

6.24 In view of the above, the Council does not consider it necessary to identify a Coastal Change Management Area in addition to the work undertaken on the Shoreline Management Plan.



1. Defra, 2011 Guidance on applying the Waste Hierarchy http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/2011/06/15/pb13530-waste-hierarchy-guidance/ or as superseded
2. source: UK Climate Change projections 2009 South East central estimate based on medium emissions scenario
3. source: Hastings Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Study 2009
4. www.hastings.gov.uk/environment_planning/planning/localplan/evidence_base/
5. www.hastings.gov.uk/environment_planning/planning/localplan/evidence_base/
6. South East Coastal Group website at www.se-coastalgroup.org.uk


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