Another Tressell walkabout in beautiful, sunny spring weather. Today, Cllr. Peter Chowney and Ali Roark (Labour candidate for Tressell Ward in the Hastings Council elections on 6th May) explored Frederick Road, Deepdene Gardens, Cookson Gardens, Ticehurst Close, Valleyside Road, Little Acres Farm, and Speckled Wood housing. Here are some of the problems and issues we found.
‘Road to Nowhere’ site
We started by walking down Frederick Road, pausing to look into the former hospital site that has outline planning permission for development of 56 new homes in three phases. The first phase, for 33 homes, has full planning permission, but it’s taken quite a while to finalise the s.106 agreement (the detailed legal agreement between the developer and the council that follows a larger planning application). This s.106 agreement is now nearing completion, hopefully within the next couple of weeks. When that’s signed off, we hope the developer, a local company called Gemselect, will begin building the new homes quickly. There’s quite a lot of rubbish and flytipping on the site, so it will be good to see something finally happen there. This site was originally earmarked for a Millennium Communities housing project almost 20 years ago, but the only thing that was ever built was the access road. Now, finally, we’ll see some new homes appear – we hope!
We then walked up Deepdene Gardens. The road area was very clean and tidy, and looks so much better than it did a few years ago. The standard of street cleaning has improved a lot since the council brought the service back in-house. That seems to have led to more pride in the area, with the problems of flytipping and general littering that used to prevail now pretty much gone. The play area at the bottom end of Deepdene Gardens is maintained by Orbit housing association, and was looking tidy and well-maintained.
Waterside Close turns of from Deepdene Gardens. There’s a larger play area here, maintained by Hastings Council. This one also looked to be clean and in good condition. The only area that was still badly littered was the footpath between Waterside Close and Quantock Gardens. This land is owned by Network Rail and it’s their responsibility to keep it clean. However, it’s pretty much impossible to get Network Rail to tidy up land they own, so we’ll see if we can get the council’s street cleaners to do a litter pick along there, as a one off. The culvert beside the footpath, although littered, has now at least had the mattresses and other flytipping cleared out of it. We reported those last time we did a walkabout here, and we were pleased to see Southern Water had removed them, particularly as blocking the culvert causes a flood risk if there’s heavy rain.
Cookson Gardens Estate
Walking northwards along Frederick Road, we strolled up Valleyside Road (no problems there), then into the Cookson Gardens estate. All was looking clean and tidy here too (although it always does). The play area, which is maintained by Hastings Council, looked tidy and well-maintained, with children playing in it. It was good to see that the planting around the play area had been tidied up too, allowing the dogwoods to display their red winter stems to good effect. We reported last time that it was rather overgrown, so it was good to see this had been put right. We will keep an eye on it over spring and summer though. The area immediately around the play area is the only landscaping the council maintains on this estate – the rest is maintained by local residents.
Little Acres Farm
Continuing on up Ticehurst Close, we walked into the newer Little Acres Farm estate. This is a rather denser housing development than the Cookson Gardens estate, but arguably makes better use of the space. A single bungalow with a smallholding had previously stood on the site – now there are 32 new homes. With housing land at such a premium in Hastings, and housing (especially social rented housing) in such high demand, these higher density housing schemes, with three and four storey town houses, are becoming more commonplace. All looked pretty good here too, clean and tidy, still with a feeling of ‘newness’. We did spot a rather smoky bonfire as we returned to Frederick Road. Bonfires are legal, as long as they don’t become a ‘public nuisance’ by going on too long or happening too frequently. You can also only burn garden waste – burning domestic waste, plastics, or building waste is not permitted. It’s also an offence if the bonfire produces a lot of smoke that drifts across a highway and obscures visibility for road users. This one was borderline, but please make sure you consider others when lighting bonfires. Better still, don’t do it at all. If you’ve got garden waste, compost it rather than burning it.
Frederick Road North End
We continued up to the top of Frederick Road, to the Tressell Ward boundary at The Ridge, then retraced our steps back down Frederick Road. The road itself seemed very clean and tidy – again, that wasn’t the case under the previous street cleaning contractor.
Speckled Wood Housing
We concluded our walkabout with a diversion into the Speckled Wood development, beside the woodland of the same name. This is mostly grade 2 listed homes converted from the former Hastings workhouse. The workhouse was incorporated into the St Helen’s Hospital that occupied the site where Cookson Gardens now stands, and the soon-to-be developed site further up the road. There’s still an underground tunnel that joined the main St Helen’s Hospital to the workhouse under Frederick Road, now sealed up. The Speckled Wood development has not been without its problems, and the developer cut corners leading to problems with some of the properties, as well as an access road that wasn’t up to ‘adoptable standard’ and street lights that have never been connected. But it was otherwise looking good on a bright morning, with local cats enjoying the spring sunshine!
That was it for this week. Next week, we’ll be looking at the top end of the ward: Clifton Road, Percy Road, Coghurst Road, and Greville Road.