Observer column: 4 September 2020
As you may have heard, we have been working on our new local plan for Hastings over the past few months and now we are ready to start sharing more information with you.
The new local plan will set out a vision for our borough until 2039 and for the development of the town. In an ideal world, we wouldn't be updating such an important document during a pandemic, but changes made to the National Planning Policy Framework in 2019 mean that we must develop it now.
We have been collating evidence and now have the main emerging themes we believe should be prioritised within our new local plan. These priorities include: improving public health and wellbeing, achieving a thriving economy and creating new job opportunities, addressing climate change and meeting our zero carbon ambitions, delivering homes that people want in well-designed neighbourhoods and protecting and celebrating the town's natural and historic environment.
The new local plan will have a big influence over the broader recovery of our town, and it is being created alongside the Town Deal proposal, so that we can plan for the long-term future of Hastings whilst also still helping our town recover from the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is important for us to hear the views of residents, workers and business owners as you are the people this plan will affect most. Our plan must show local priorities and present a vision of change that communities can endorse whilst still meeting our statutory requirements.
In previous years we would have held face to face events to let you know what was happening and listen to your views. This time round with safety as our top priority, we're gathering your input digitally instead.
We have created a quick and simple questionnaire so you can tell us what you think are the main priorities we should focus on. You can also share with us any research that you feel may be important for developing the new local plan.
You can find out more about the new local plan, how to get involved and fill in the questionnaire, on our website: www.hastings.gov.uk/local-plan
Please join us at this early stage in helping to shape the future of Hastings and St Leonards.
I hope that you are staying safe and well and thank you for continuing to consider others and their safety with social distancing, hand-washing and wearing a face covering.
Finally, thanks to all the teachers and support staff who have been working hard to ensure all our children can return to school as safely as possible. I hope the start of term goes well for you and for our town's children.
Council Leader's column