Farley Bank has suffered from very poor cleaning in the past, but this is now much improved. The cleaning problems have emerged in part because Hastings Council is responsible for cleaning the roads and footpaths, but Optivo Housing Association is responsible for cleaning the grassed and planted areas. This is pretty unsatisfactory, as litter and rubbish easily gets moved between different areas of responsibility. Added to that, the verges alongside Farley Bank itself are the responsibility of East Sussex County Council. Today, our walkabout took us along Farley Bank to the old Broomgrove allotments site, down to Hurrell Road, into Bishop Avenue to look at the development on the former Ore Business Park, then Frederick Road, Deepdene and Waterside, and down to Valleyside Road.
The roads, footpaths and steps seemed pretty good. But the planted areas, particularly along the raised footway by the houses at the eastern end, were in a pretty awful state (see picture). We’ll take this up with Optivo housing association, again, as they’ve repeatedly promised to maintain the estate in a better condition, which has happened, but is beginning to lapse (again). We did spot some litter and flytipping on the highway areas, and reported these via Hastings Council’s ‘My Hastings’ website.
Broomgrove Allotments and Hurrell Road
The former Broomgrove Allotments site at the end of Farley Bank has developed into quite an interesting bit of ‘rewilded’ grassland, where the dry conditions created by the steeply sloping site give rise to an interesting habitat, with quite a lot of unusual wildflower species, especially earlier in the year. The site has been bought by Park Lane, a local housing developer. It already has planning permission for housing development, but the only part so far built is the flats at the bottom of the site, which have been completed for some years now. Hurrell Road, at the bottom, is an unmade, unadopted road, so it’s not maintained by the county council. However, local residents seem to look after it well, patching up serious potholes as they appear. There was a proposal to properly surface this road as part of the Ore Business Park housing development, but local residents weren’t keen on this, and have generally preferred the road to remain as it is. The steps from Hurrell Road up to Farley Bank were also badly littered (see picture), so we reported that too.
Ore Business Park
The Ore Business Park housing development has a troubled history, however. We walked along Bishop Avenue (the new road through the development) to look at progress on the site. This is another site where development was abandoned after just a few houses were built, at the bottom of the site where it joins Hurrell Road. These houses are now occupied, but the road has never been properly finished and surfaced. Also, access to Bishop Avenue was never supposed to be from Hurrell Road, the access was supposed to be from the top of the site, on Farley Bank. However, because the upper parts of the site were abandoned, this hasn’t been possible. Now, the rest of the site has been sold on and is being developed (pictured) in line with the original planning permission. This permission requires the developer to finish off the bottom end of Bishop Avenue, and construct part of a cycle route, designed to link up to a cycle route through the Frederick Road site (see later), connecting to Ore Station through the Broomgrove Power Station site (over the border in Baird ward) when that’s redeveloped. We will do all we can to make sure the developers fulfil all their responsibilities under their planning permission, including the completion and surfacing of all of Bishop Avenue, the cycle path, and closing the connection between Bishop Avenue and Hurrell Road.
The Road to Nowhere
Further on, we stopped along Frederick Road to look into the ‘Road to Nowhere’ site. This was originally the old St Helen’s Hospital, demolished in the early 1990s, and was bought for redevelopment as part of a ‘Millennium Communities’ project that never materialised. The old signs about this are still displayed on the site. At that time, an access road was built through the site, almost 20 years ago, but no further development took place, so it became known locally as the ‘Road to Nowhere’. A couple of years ago, the site was bought by Gemselect, another local housing developer. After an initial planning application was rejected, a revised application was approved. That was over a year ago. There have been some fairly extensive negotiations between the council and the developer to finalise the s.106 agreement that’s drawn up after planning permission has been approved. Those negotiations are now pretty much complete , and the s.106 agreement will be signed soon. When that happens, the developer can start work. There was quite a bit of litter along this part of Frederick Road too, we reported that via ‘My Hastings’.
Deepdene and Waterside
From here we walked down to Deepdene Gardens and Waterside Close. All looked pretty clean and tidy, although there was a serious problem with the gap between the two sections of culverted stream alongside the footpath at the end of Waterside Close. This has been used extensively for flytipping, and is completely clogged up with old mattresses, furniture, and other rubbish as well as a fallen tree. This is dangerous (see picture); this culvert is designed to get rid of flood water that drains down there in heavy rain. In the past, obstructions to the culverted section and in the open section have resulted in local flooding. Keeping this open section clean and free from rubbish and debris is the responsibility of Southern Water. We’ll get on to them to make sure they remove the rubbish as soon as possible. At the bottom of Deepdene Gardens, the small play area there has a broken fence panel resulting in a sheer drop down to an abandoned area by the railway line fence. This isn’t ideal in a play area – we think this area is maintained by Orbit Housing Association, so we’ll get on to them about it. We then walked a little further along Frederick Road to Valleyside Road (no problems there) and a little way into Speckled Wood, which was looking particularly pleasant on this early autumn morning. And that was it for this week – next time, we’ll be looking at the top end of the ward, around Clifton, Greville, and Percy roads, as well as the top end of Frederick Road, and perhaps the rest of Speckled Wood.