Clear that plans for Conquest House are completely inappropriate for Bexhill
From: Howard Martin, President, Bexhill Chamber of Commerce
Bexhill Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone who has responded so positively to our proposals for a new “People’s Palace” on the Hastings Direct site. It is clear that the plans for the out of date Conquest House office building to be internally converted into 86 flats, some of which barely meet the Government’s minimum size standards, is completely inappropriate for Bexhill.
The Hastings Direct site is currently home to approximately two thousand employees, estimated to be about 10% of the local workforce, many of whom will lose their jobs when (it’s no longer if) Hastings Direct reduce their local footprint or migrate from the area all together. All stakeholders, including ourselves, Hastings Direct, their development agency; Paramount Developments, Government funding agencies such as SELEP, our new town council, ESCC and our MPs must urgently work together with Rother District Council to help them deliver on their 2019 Local Plan Policy DEC3 to ensure that established employment sites are retained in such use.
RDC have the power and rationale to prevent this loss of a massive employment site and we should expend every effort to bring everyone together, not in secret undisclosed board room meetings, but in an open public forum to discuss how best we can mitigate the loss of jobs against the building of the, often promised but never delivered, destination leisure facilities and substantial hotel development that we call the “New People’s Palace for Bexhill”. We must also inherit some of Herbrand Sackville’s ethos from when he constructed the De La Warr Pavilion in under eighteen months and not see this as a project for profit, we should all see this as an initiative to give real social value to one of the currently most commercially undervalued sites in our area.
We should ask ourselves; are eighty six flats with only sixty six parking spaces worth more than two thousand jobs? Is a tired old office block worth more than a heritage inheritance for future generations?
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