The application, submitted by Hastings Borough Council, relates to the Bulverhythe Recreation Ground, in Bexhill Road, St Leonards
Cllr Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing and homelessness, said the scheme would help provide ‘much needed new homes for the town’.
However, the Friends of Combe Valley, a charity set up to support the aims of the Countryside Park, has objected to the application, alongside more than 100 residents.
Organisations including the Environment Agency, Sport England, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Sussex County Archaeologist and Sussex Ornithological Society have also made detailed objections to the proposal.
The Friends of Combe Valley said: “Whilst we recognise the need for additional housing in the Hastings area, this need has to be balanced with the needs of existing residents and the overall environment of the borough.
“The proposed development will cause irreparable damage to the Countryside Park and risks producing housing which is unsustainable because of the high flood risk, exacerbated by climate change.”
In response to the planning application, the Friends of Combe Valley has asked planners to consider the flood risk associated with a site that is located on a floodplain for the neighbouring main rivers of Combe Valley.
Announcing the application, Cllr Batsford said the council has been awarded £6.9m in government funding from Homes England to remove the barriers to developing the site. He added: “Although the site is currently classified as Flood Zone 3b, we have undertaken extensive flood modelling which we believe demonstrates that the site is suitable for housing development. The flood defences that we will employ will not only protect the new homes but will also protect the existing houses and businesses on Bexhill Road and beyond that might otherwise flood.”
In its objection letter, the Friends of Combe Valley acknowledged the £6.9m but said ‘it is crucially important that housing development does not take place on a level 3b Flood plain except in exceptional circumstances which should be determined by central government’.
The charity also raised the issue of increased traffic on the ‘already very busy’ Bexhill Road. The proposed development includes parking spaces for 300 cars.