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Foreword

Planning shapes our environment: where we live, work and play. The new Hastings Local Plan presents an opportunity to improve the way we do things in the future - how we use land, what we build, how our town centres will develop and change, and how planning decisions fit with other policies and strategies.

Hastings Borough Council has reached an important stage in the preparation of  this plan. The Hastings Planning Strategy sets out the key planning policies that will guide how the borough develops. The Strategy shows how much development will be allowed, where and when. It shows what we’ll need to do to provide homes and jobs for Hastings residents, and to continue the regeneration of the area. But none of this is straightforward. We have to stick to government rules about what we put in the plan, and in particular how many new homes we need to provide. And it’s important to note that the Hastings Local Plan is just that: a plan.  We can’t make development happen, nor can we make developers do exactly what we want them to. What we have to do is make sure our plan and the policies in it are as robust as possible, to give us the strongest possible influence over development proposals that come forward.

We need to make sure that the regeneration of our town continues, and that economic growth and prosperity are at the heart of our plan. But we also need to protect the heritage of Hastings, in terms of both historic buildings and open spaces, while ensuring new development is of the highest possible quality, particularly in our town centres and seafront. At first sight, these principles might seem to be at odds. But to maximise the economic opportunities for our town and its residents, we need to make Hastings an attractive and desirable place to visit, live, and do business. In this way, we can do our best to maximise both the prosperity and quality of life for our residents. But we must also be precise, and targeted: what’s best for Hastings Town Centre might not be best for St Helens, nor even St Leonards Town Centre. We need to develop the character, diversity and uniqueness of every part of our borough, recognising the different needs of our increasingly diverse communities. This requires bespoke tailoring, not a blanket thrown over the whole town. Our new Plan looks ahead to 2028, during which time all manner of unpredicted changes might happen. So the plan is intended to be flexible, and will need to be kept up to date. We will regularly monitor the plan to assess its progress and effectiveness, and carry out reviews when they are necessary.

So this plan is important: it will affect dramatically how the town changes in the coming years. It will  shape the look, feel and prosperity of Hastings not just for us, but for generations to come. When the Normans came almost a thousand years ago, they had no development plan. And they didn’t consult local people. But their developments influenced the town in ways we can still see today. We can be every bit as influential!


Councillor Peter Chowney

Councillor Peter Chowney

Lead Member, HBC


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