As with any project of this kind, there are a number of essential requirements. These create the framework that will ensure the financial aspects of the scheme make acceptable business sense.
A key element of the regeneration is the building of 280 new homes within the town centre. This is for two reasons: firstly, the sale of these homes will help to pay for the regeneration scheme and secondly, people living in the town centre will create vibrancy and activity in the centre of town, especially in the evenings.
Providing for some new residential development in the town centre will help create life and activity, and offer a new style of housing for Hailsham. The delivery of these homes will create sustainable, accessible and diverse living that will enable residents to benefit from existing and established infrastructure and new and improved facilities within the town centre.
A wider range of experiences will also be encouraged to locate in the town centre, providing for a greater diversity of activity in the town centre. The hope is this will draw people in at different times of the day and thus support retail and other commercial ventures.
Building heights across Hailsham are generally in the order of two to three storeys (EMU analytics, 2017). Across the UK, ‘there is significant untapped potential to create additional homes above shops, on or near the high street’, including ‘unutilised space above shops that could be more intensively used or redeveloped into additional housing units’ (Lichfields and Child Graddon Lewis for the Federation of Master Builders, December 2017, Homes on our High Streets: How to unlock residential development on our High Streets).
The research also suggests that realising this potential can do more than just deliver new homes, as ‘revitalising our high streets through well planned and designed residential units could help rejuvenate smaller town centres’. The Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan supports and encourages new development in the town centre, including delivery of new residential units which could be realised through new mixed-use development, with commercial use on the ground floors and residential above.
The majority of the housing delivery in Wealden will be focused around the built up areas of South Wealden including Hailsham, Stone Cross, and Hellingly. This area, together with Polegate and Willingdon, is called the South Wealden Growth Area.
The proposed housing allocations in Hailsham and the resultant population growth will significantly increase the town’s catchment population, and in this context it is considered that there is potential for Hailsham to capitalise on this and attract new investment and development.
Within Hailsham town centre the windfall allowance of 300 dwellings (as identified in Policy WLP7 of the Wealden Local Plan) is intended for land within the town centre as part of the wider plan for regeneration. These residential developments would also be required to make off-site open space contributions in accordance with Policy HWB1 of the Wealden Local Plan, 2019.
To promote town centre living, broaden the housing market offer and encourage sustainability, new residential accommodation could include apartments above high street retail, apartments located within a new neighbourhood and townhouses.
New homes would include a mix of type and tenure, meeting both market and social housing delivery demands. Higher density housing above retail, one – three bedroom homes and townhouses.
Locating housing close to the town centre will reduce the reliance on unsustainable transport solutions, such as the car and allow for better access to public transport. Re-development of previously developed land within the town centre to help meet the housing need will also lessen the impact and loss of greenfield sites surrounding the town.
The aspiration of this regeneration is in line with the objectives of the Vision for Hailsham and the South Wealden Growth Area as identified in both the Wealden Local Plan Submission Version, January 2019 and the Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan Submission Version, March 2019.
“Within Hailsham Town Centre the windfall allowance of 300 dwellings (as identified in Policy WLP7) is intended for land within the Town Centre as part of wider regeneration proposals. These residential developments would be required to make off-site open space contributions in accordance with Policy HWB1 of this Plan.”
(Policy SWGA 3: Hailsham Town Centre, Wealden Draft Submission Local Plan, January 2019)
Middle Super Output Area
Total Allocations and SHELAA sites
Windfall Allowance from
Windfall Allowance distribution
Identified for Hailsham Town Centre
(Policy WLP7: Distribution of Homes, Wealden Draft Submission Local Plan, January 2019)
“Applications for residential development are encouraged, particularly where they comprise part of a mixed-use scheme. In such cases, residential units will be provided on upper floors, with the ground floors comprising retail or other complementary uses.”
(Policy HAIL TC1: Hailsham town centre, Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan Submission Version, March 2019)
“Encourage the appropriate re-development of previously developed land to help meet housing need and encourage the regeneration of Hailsham Town Centre.”
(Objectives, Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan Submission Version, March 2019)
“The Neighbourhood Plan supports and encourages new development in the town centre, including delivery of new residential units. This could be realised through new mixed-use development, with commercial use on the ground floors and residential above.”
(Town Centre Opportunities, Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan Submission Version, March 2019)