The Bulverhythe Recreation Ground has provided an important green open space for generations of West St Leonards residents. Its position on the edge of the Combe Valley Countryside Park makes it a useful gateway to the park as well as a great place for locals to kick a football. It is hugely disappointing that the Labour leadership at Hastings Borough Council now seem intent on depriving local people of this facility and have submitted plans for 192 homes to be built on the site.
The site, which is confusingly also referred to as ‘The Lower Tier Site’, is part of a collection of several sites in Bulverhythe which have remained clear as the western part of the borough has grown through the decades, and for good reason. As most people in town know, the site floods regularly, so much so that it spends much of the winter months actually submerged. So unsurprisingly the plans have been met with a combination of hostility and incredulity by many and even disbelief by others.
What has of course inflamed local people further is the Labour leaderships assertion that it isn’t a flood plain at all and that the environment agency are wrong. This is clearly nonsense from the council and they need to stop saying it. No one believes them and it’s antagonising those that live near the site and see its seasonal flooding. It is also worth noting that the countryside park management board have voted against the scheme (with the exception of a Labour councillor of course)
The obvious ecological and environmental unsuitability of the site has eclipsed some of the other faults with the plans. The buildings themselves look strange on the plans and not to the taste of many, the architects have taken inspiration from the net huts which are located on the other side of town and couldn’t be more incongruous on the site. As well as the architects not knowing the difference between Rock-a-Nore and Bulverhythe there is the matter of the road. Bexhill Road has seen big improvements in its traffic flow since the opening of the link road a few years ago and this scheme threatens some of that progress with hundreds of extra cars turning in and out onto Bexhill Road every day. Car ownership will be high amongst residents as the bus service is not as good as it could be and the nearest train station a full half hour walk away. Are we, as a town, really wanting to rid ourselves of this recreation space to build this car-centric scheme on a flood plain? I think not and I urge everyone that reads this to write in to the planning department of Hastings Borough Council to object. I also urge everyone to support the campaign group that is fighting the scheme and the local Conservative Councillors Karl Beaney and Matthew Beaver who have been tireless in their opposition to these shoddy plans.