Work due to start on firm’s car park - but is it enough?

Hastings Direct, Conquest House, Bexhill
Hastings Direct, Conquest House, Bexhill

Work to expand the car park at Bexhill’s biggest employer is due to begin shortly - but the neighbours feel more needs to be done.

Shortly before Christmas, planning permission was granted for insurance firm Hastings Direct to expand its car park by 191 spaces in a bid to alleviate parking issues in surrounding residential streets.

But those who live near the firm’s Collington Avenue office say that this is not enough.

The Collington Residents‘ Action Group said it was pleased planning consent had been granted, but “very disappointed” that the plans had been reduced from the original 298 extra spaces proposed.

A CRAG spokesperson said: “Hastings Direct is continuing to recruit and we were told they intend to take on another 100 plus employees.

“This negates much of the benefit of the 191 spaces proposed. It will do very little to alleviate the car parking problems that residents are facing every day in the roads surrounding Hastings Direct.”

She said the situation is “deteriorating” with the parking problems spreading to more neighbouring roads.

CRAG argues that Hastings Direct’s ‘green’ travel policies, including encouraging workers to cycle or car share, are not working and a “more radical policy” is required.

She said: “It would appear as if Hastings Direct and Rother District Council are not prepared to take the measures needed to make an impact.

“Residential roads continue to be used as a Hastings Direct ‘free car park’ for its employees, while residents’ quality of life appears to be overlooked.

“People’s lives are being severely affected by the continued growth of Hastings Direct and with it the ever-increasing number of cars parking and driving in the area.”

CRAG say that many local elderly residents need care, with their carers forced to park illegally or a distance away from their homes, impacting on the time spent with their client.

She added: “Junctions are dangerous, crossing the roads hazardous, and parking on the pavements, which has become the norm, restricts access for mothers with pushchairs and the elderly with mobility scooters.”

She added: “Decriminalisation and permit parking would appear to be the only answer to give residents back their roads, unless Hastings Direct come up with a more radical solution than that proposed at present.”

Hastings Direct has put the car park project out to tender and has asked all contractors to ensure that ongoing works do not impact the spaces it currently has to avoid any further pressure on the surrounding areas. Once work begins, it is expected to take up to six months to complete.