Visitor centre plans are flawed

The process that has been followed by HBC concerning the planning process for the new visitor centre on Lower Coastguards Lane, in Hastings County Park, is flawed both on legal and moral grounds, for 4 reasons -

Reason 1

The new building, if built, will be adjacent to the HBC boundary and therefore the residents affected are not Hastings residents. Under HBC protocol rules only Hastings residents are allowed to speak at Planning meetings. There are many valid and justified objections to this new building, including many from residents who live very close by. Since they are not Hastings residents their views have been treated with disdain by HBC, and they were denied permission to speak at the public meeting.

The surprising and inappropriate vitriolic attack, made by a Hastings Borough Councillor in the public planning meeting of 4th march 2015, against Fairlight Parish Council demonstrates the disdain that HBC holds for Fairlight and its residents.

The objectors who reside in Fairlight, have been denied natural justice, and our human rights have been ignored - we have been bullied, but we will not submit !

Reason 2

It was unjust that HBC decided upon its own planning application in this case. Internal controversial applications for such developments (i.e. a new building, playground and outdoor theatre, which will be an eyesore within an AONB) and those which attract such a large number of objections should be referred to a higher independent body for an impartial decision.

It is also obvious that justice cannot take place when the Judge, Jury and Defendant are one and the same body! Planning law that allows such self approval is contrary to natural justice and fairness, and should be challenged !

Reason 3

The 90 + objections raised by walkers and users of the Park, other interested parties, and local residents who will be adversely affected, have been largely ignored by HBC.

Reason 4

The laws and rules that protect AONBs have been ignored by HBC. Unnecessary new developments within an AONB that are a cynical commercial enterprise built on an open aspect site - virgin grass and part of a farmers field - that spoil the natural landscape views, are illegal.

HBC should hang their heads in shame - they have been corrupted by financial greed and have no empathy with Nature and the Country Park.

I appeal to your readers now - protest and complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, our MP (Amber RUDD), and DEFRA - it is not too late to preserve the Fire Hills as they are and as we all love them - it is a very special place that deserves better. Please help to stop this desecration of our Nature Reserve.

David Lucas

Coastguard Lane, Fairlight