Many questions to be answered

Rye and Battle Observer letters
Rye and Battle Observer letters

From: Chris Lewcock, Archery Road, St Leonards

As presented, the proposed Hastings Marina could potentially be a major investment boost for the Borough, add to the existing attractions, provide improved mooring facilities and add to the housing stock.

We are told that we shouldn’t look gift horses in the mouth. What, however, if the project turns out to be an over-ambitious kite-flying exercise? The council’s planning and regeneration capacity is already over-stretched – how much time would have to be diverted to a potential pipe-dream?

A few questions need to be addressed.

The cliffs beyond Rock-a-Nore are prone to major rock falls – two in the past year alone. Is this a safe place to put 1,300 houses and new moorings?

Historically, shore protection measures in Hastings have restricted natural onshore drift of materials, adversely affecting the coastline to the east.

What more damage might a large marina projecting seaward do?

The houses would presumably have to be built at or around sea-level. Is that wise in an era of rising sea levels and more extreme storms and floods?

Additional housing is proposed and the council hopes that some will be affordable for local people to rent. However, in several recent housing cases, the council has conceded that on grounds of commercial viability no affordable housing needs be provided. Why should this scheme be any different?

What disruption and extra costs, eg mooring fees, will our local fishing fleet face during construction and once the marina is in use?

Is there any marine archaeological or natural environmental interest in the seabed to the east of Rock-a-Nore that might be adversely affected by the development?

How solid are the credentials of the proposed developer (and perhaps their backers)? Are they robust enough to carry such a mammoth project? A cursory look on the internet shows that Hastings Harbour Quarter Ltd based in Tenterden appears to have a capital of £100.

If a marina is to be sited in the Borough, isn’t the West Marina and Bulverhythe area a higher priority? There has been limited recent investment in that area and there is under-used council-owned land at Seaside Road and Cinque Ports Way?

These questions, and probably many more, will eventually need satisfactory answers before the proposal can be taken very seriously.