The site being considered for regeneration covers areas of Hailsham Town Centre, including the Wealden Council offices, leisure centre, the Hailsham Medical Centre, Seaforth Surgery and the Vicarage Field area. Wealden District Council is a key landowner in the town centre and has been in early conversations with other landowners and leaseholders to ensure the regeneration can be a success.
In recent years there has been an emerging focus on the need for regeneration in the centre of Hailsham, together with nationally changing trends in how we use the high street. Redevelopment provides a once in a generation opportunity to revitalise open spaces, bring a more varied mix of uses into the town centre, and provide much needed new homes.
As a key owner of land in the town centre, Wealden District Council through Hailsham Aspires is putting together proposals for the future of Hailsham Town Centre. This will deliver a vibrant mix of uses in line with the Vision for Hailsham identified in the Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan and offer Hailsham a bright future as the key growth town in East Sussex.
Following on from the consultation undertaken to date on the local community’s priorities for the town centre, three masterplan options have been created, all of which include:
- Exciting new shops, restaurants and cafes
- Open public and green spaces
- Major economic investment in Hailsham
- New exercise, leisure and access to healthcare facilities
- New energy efficient homes
- Community spaces for local groups
- An invigorated evening economy
- Increased connectivity and accessibility for all
We are looking to provide an exciting new mix of uses in the town centre, introducing varied uses such as cafes, shops, restaurants, leisure and community uses. We will be looking to attract local traders and independent shops, as well as those needed by the local community. Attracting evening visitors with an enhanced night-time offering will also be a key part of the plans.
An anchor store is a major retail store used to drive business to smaller retailers. These larger department stores or grocery stores are generally part of a retail chain and serve as the prominent business in a shopping area.
The Hailsham Aspires team have written to all of the business tenants within the site boundary and will continue to consult with them as the masterplan options progress. We will be doing all we can to minimise any disruption to businesses throughout this process, with key aims of the regeneration being to boost the local economy and encourage more footfall into the town centre.
Redevelopment of the town centre will improve and enhance existing public spaces. These include sunny places to sit, play and socialise, plus green spaces with significant tree planting and landscaping, as well as creating links to the wider countryside, that look to increase wildlife and biodiversity.
Building new homes in Hailsham is a key objective for the Council, given the need to meet new housing targets. Bringing more homes into the town centre will also enable people to access services, retail, employment and leisure activities on their doorstep. This will be more convenient, more sustainable and help create a vibrancy to the town that will attract more people and businesses to Hailsham.
Transport and Access
Yes, a multi-storey car park and other parking has been included within each masterplan option. We understand that car parking is important to local people and want to provide this whilst maximising opportunities for public and open spaces, and making the town centre as accessible as possible for all.
Redeveloping the town centre provides an excellent opportunity to improve active travel and green access walking and cycling routes across the town. Cycle parking will be provided and a Travel Plan will be in place to promote sustainable transport.
We are currently at the early stages of drawing up our proposals, and we will take access into account when we develop detailed designs.
Heritage and Design
In line with the feedback received from the local community at the previous consultation, the redevelopment will celebrate the unique culture, heritage and identity of Hailsham, and provide an improved setting for the many Listed Buildings in the area.
The previous consultation sought the views of the local community on their aims and aspirations for Hailsham, and that feedback was taken by the project team to help create three masterplan options for the town centre. We are now looking to hear back on which masterplan options people prefer.
Now that the consultation has closed, the project team is collating all of the feedback given and using this to create a preferred masterplan option based on the responses. The Hailsham Aspires Project Sponsor Board will then agree a preferred masterplan option that will be put to Wealden District Council formally for confirmation.
After a preferred masterplan option has been selected, the Council will look to find a development partner to help bring the masterplan proposals forward.
We’re looking at having a preferred masterplan for review by May 2021, and seeking a development partner later this year. There is then still more detailed design work to be done, the planning process to navigate and construction contracts to procure. So if all goes well, we could be in a position to start on site in around two – three years’ time.