‘Tawdry’ design is not good enough

The old Observer Building in Cambridge Road is well regarded and is in need of regeneration.

But not at any price. Adding seven storeys to a high building (that’s on a hill) will give the America Ground a skyscraper it does not need.

This is exactly what is now proposed, with the informal support (to date) of the council.

Regeneration is fine, and welcome, but it is not primarily about selling ‘locally-sourced’ vegetables, or having a cinema or a gym or a restaurant. This building, doubled in height to make student accommodation, would be an eyesore far beyond Cornwallis Gardens or White Rock Gardens.

As well as height pollution there would be light pollution, and even darkness pollution caused by the shadows cast.

Also, a big white box clad in polycarbonate is likely to weather poorly.

So the proposals are not acceptable.

If adding seven extra storeys in the Town Centre Conservation Area is the only way of ‘saving’ the building, then it is not being saved, and so the scheme is not deserving of planning permission.

The proposed building is far too high and too ugly, and breaches many of the council’s planning policies such as on historic environment, and ‘preserving and enhancing’, and the importance of considering height and Castle views,

Readers can help make up their own mind by looking at the pictures on the developers’ campaign website http://observerbuildinghastingsconsultation.com but the hype that this design is both desirable and inevitable can be opposed, as the case has not yet reached the planning committee for a decision.

What particularly shows the tawdriness of this design concerns the extra floor at the top of the existing building, clearly a later and cheap addition.

The ‘regeneration’ plans don’t even seek to remove it.

The revised facade is bad and the whole proposed building is worse than that. A slick campaign, with lines such as ‘the Shard of Hastings’, do not make this proposal good enough for Hastings. Object while you can.

Bernard McGinley

Magdalen Road

St Leonards

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