Today, I walked around the ‘top end’ of the ward: Cookson Gardens, Ticehurst Close, Tuppenney Close, Little Acres Way, Frederick Road, Percy Road, Coghurst Road, Greville Road, Clifton Road, Travellers Lane and Speckled Wood (the housing development). This end of the ward is mostly owner occupied, with some private rented housing. There are generally fewer problems here than other parts of the ward. In the past, dog fouling has been a problem, but there wasn’t much in evidence today – the area was very clean, thanks to the council’s Direct Services Organisation that now cleans the streets, rather than an external contractor. However, dog fouling could become more of an issue as winter sets in, it usually does.
Cookson Gardens, along with Ticehurst Close and Tuppenney Close, looked clean, neat and tidy, as they usually do. The play area was in good order, but the council-owned planting around it was a bit weedy – I’ll try to get our grounds maintenance contractor to tidy it up. It’s always annoyed me that the nameplates for Tuppenney Close are spelt wrongly. It’s named after Frederick Tuppenney, a former mayor of Hastings who was involved in the Hastings workhouse (later part of St Helen’s Hospital, now the Speckled Wood housing development). Frederick Road is also named after Frederick Tuppenney, renamed from ‘Cackle Street’.
Little Acres Way
Little Acres Way is a new housing development just to the north of Tuppenney Close, and was controversial at the time that planning permission was granted, as the existing residents were concerned about additional traffic. This development now appears to be fully occupied, and the show home has been sold on.
Percy, Coghurst and Greville roads
From here, I walked up the rest of Frederick Road, as well as Percy Road, and Coghurst Road and Greville Road, but found no obvious problems there, beyond some poor footway maintenance. Coghurst Road was particularly bad – I’ll get onto the county council about that. It’s good to see the house at the bottom of Percy Road has been smartened up, following ‘Grotbuster’ action by the council – the end wall was very prominent, but now looks much tidier.
Clifton Road and Travellers Lane
Clifton Road has been recently resurfaced by the county council, which is a big improvement. I also checked on Travellers Lane, a small unmade road where dumped rubbish, abandoned cars and knotweed had been a problem at the bottom of the gardens of a couple of houses in Victoria Avenue. This had all been cleared following Grotbuster action by the council, but the knotweed is growing back now. It’s worth noting that allowing knotweed to spread into adjoining land is categorised as anti-social behaviour, so there might be further action the council can take. I’ll follow it up.
At the bottom of Clifton Road, there’s an abandoned site that has planning permission for development, but nothing’s started yet. The site is ‘tidy’ in the sense that it’s not flytipped or covered in rubbish, and is securely fenced. It is overgrown, but that’s not a bad thing from a biodiversity point of view. The Herras fencing isn’t exactly pretty though. The site received planning approval in July 2017, for a development of five homes – there were many objections, although this site has always been earmarked for housing development, and is not part of the Speckled Wood protected area. The address of this site is actually Church Street, which is a now just a track along the north western edge of Speckled Wood. It originally had housing all the way along, but this was demolished as part of a slum clearance programme in 1959. Normally, planning consent lapses after three years if no development takes place, so I’ll try to find out what the position is now with this site.
Immediately next to the Church Street site, there’s a large house that’s now boarded up and empty. This was a care home, but a planning application was received earlier in the year to convert it into an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation), with 17 bedrooms and shared facilities. This application is still under consideration, with revised plans recently submitted.
To conclude this walkabout, I had a look at the Speckled Wood housing development. This is a Grade 2 listed building, originally the Hastings Workhouse, then part of the old St Helen’s Hospital, redeveloped as housing around 15 years ago. Unfortunately, the developer cut too many corners, and some of the homes there have suffered from problems such as damp penetration, and there are other planning conditions that weren’t properly met. The road into the estate was also never made up to a standard that would allow adoption by the county council, which means that the street lighting into the development has never worked (and probably never will). But beyond these issues, there were no other obvious problems. And that was it for this week. Next week, we’ll be looking around Speckled Wood (the woodland this time) with representatives from Ore Community Land Trust, and we’ll have a look at High Bank and Old London Road too, if we have time.