Development ‘must impact on tourism’

I have very firm reasons to believe that the once unspoilt Ecclesbourne Glen in Hastings Country Park has been ruined by developments at the Rocklands Caravan Park, which sits at a prominent position overlooking it. Since 2009 many trees and shrubs that used to shield the caravan park from view have been destroyed; new car parks and roads are now visible from the Glen, where new caravans have been installed and trees removed to open up sea views for the residents.

Following a large landslip the Glen is now closed until at least October. This landslip lies just below where substantial works have been carried out in the caravan park, and many local people believe that this landslip is related to these building works in the caravan park. Hastings Borough Council have commissioned an investigation into it.

To add insult to injury, a new 2 story building is being constructed, which dominates the views from the East Hill and Ecclesbourne Glen, and local people do not understand why planning permission was granted for this building. A previous near identical application was rejected on the grounds that it would be detrimental to this part of the High Weald AONB and contrary to local development policies.

If, as I believe, it is found that uncontrolled commercial developments have destroyed what once was one of the most beautiful spots in the South East, questions will need to be answered by Hastings Borough Council, as to why they have failed in their duties to maintain an area that was voted “second natural wonder” of the South East in a 2006 BBC poll. It is not just a scandal for the citizens of Hastings, but will surely impact on revenue from tourism.

I urge your readers to go and view the damage at Ecclesbourne Glen for themselves and to submit complaints to Hastings Borough Council. A web site is being constructed to document the developments in the Glen - please Google “Save Ecclesbourne Glen” to see this.

Chris Hurrell

High Wickham