The findings of the Hailsham Aspires consultation point the way ahead for a future-looking, modern market town which respects its existing heritage. Residents and visitors would like to see more green and open spaces in the heart of the town, restaurants, a public space for cultural activities and easier access.
Wealden District Council has been asking residents, businesses and visitors to the town what is needed to make the town more attractive and commercially viable in the 21st century. The results of its Hailsham Aspires consultation, which ran from 12 August until 12 November last year, have now been published.
“Nearly a thousand people took part in the consultation and they all shared an enthusiasm for the future of the town,” said Councillor Bob Standley, Leader of Wealden District Council. “We asked what is important for the regeneration of Hailsham Town Centre. They have provided many ideas about how we can take this project forward. There is strong support for an approach which enhances the town’s rural heritage and brings environmental benefits to its residents.”
The message is that development should be sympathetically designed to reflect the market town heritage while encouraging new shops and restaurants. The ideas light the way ahead to a bright future for the town.
The consultation supported the need for:
- Small independent shops.
- Better views of the surrounding countryside.
- More space for cultural activities and public performance.
- Eat-in restaurants.
- More trees.
- Development that respects existing building heights.
- More green spaces.
- Improved access for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Better bus services.
Some 800 people responded online to the Hailsham Aspires consultation, and a further 100 gave written views. Others responded through community events and workshops with Hailsham Community College and the Wealden Disability Group.
“The public and local organisations have shared their ideas for improving the Vicarage Field area of town,” said Councillor Standley. “I would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation, either online or by visiting the Vicarage Field Information Centre and speaking to our staff members. While I know some people continue to be wary of change, the economic imperative for regeneration of this part of Hailsham is stronger than ever.
“Our appointed development team will now seek to incorporate the best ideas from the consultation into a viable development plan. Hailsham Aspires is vital for the future prosperity of town. Helped by the views of local people, we can design a scheme we can all be proud of.”
The full results of the Hailsham Aspires consultation can be found on the consultation pages of the Wealden website. The development team will now begin drawing up a Master Plan. Members of the public will have an opportunity to comment on the evolving Master Plan later this summer. The planning application for the Hailsham Aspires project is expected to be submitted before the end of 2020.