Shoreline Management Plan

Shoreline Management Plan

Summary of Relevant Sections for Hastings and St Leonards from the South Foreland to Beachy Head Shoreline Management Plan (SMP)


The South Foreland to Beachy Head Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) outlines strategies for managing the coastline between South Foreland and Beachy Head, including specific sections that pertain to Hastings and St Leonards. The SMP provides a framework for addressing coastal erosion, flood risks, and other environmental concerns while considering the needs of local communities and preserving natural and historical resources.

Policy Unit 4c23: Fairlight Cove (West) to Hastings

Implications of the Plan for This Location:

  • Time Periods and Management Activities:
  • By 2025: Cliff erosion will continue, providing nominal feed (fines) to the shoreline system. No built assets are at risk during this period, but some agricultural land and part of Hastings Country Park will be lost. Coastal landscape and biological/geological assets will be maintained. Progressive loss of the Iron Age Cliff Castle Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) site at Hastings is expected. Coastal footpath positions will be at risk and may need realignment.
  • 2025–2055: The conditions and impacts will remain similar to those in the first period. The continued erosion will affect the same areas and assets.
  • 2055–2105: Continued cliff erosion with similar impacts as before. Ongoing need to manage beach access at the Country Park.
  • Specific Monitoring Requirements:
  • A review of the preferred strategy option may be necessary using updated data from the Strategic Monitoring Programme to verify policies.
  • Monitoring cliff retreat rates against predictions to ensure accuracy.

Policy Unit 4c24: Hastings

Coastal Defence Management Activities:

  • Short Term Policy:
  • Maintenance of existing structures and improvements to groynes and harbour structures as necessary.
  • Specific monitoring and potential strategy review are required, as the existing strategy has not been approved by Defra and the base data used is outdated.
  • Specific Monitoring Requirements:
  • Review and update the existing data to verify the short, medium, and long-term policies for this frontage.
  • Priority given to strategic monitoring to review cliff retreat rates and ensure accurate predictions.

Policy Unit 4c25: Hastings to Bulverhythe

Coastal Defence Management Activities:

  • Short Term Policy:
  • Continuation of current coastal defence practices, including maintenance and improvement of existing defences.
  • Specific study and monitoring requirements are identified to ensure long-term sustainability of the defence strategies.
  • Strategic Monitoring Programme:
  • Essential for reviewing and updating the existing strategies.
  • Monitoring the impacts of erosion and other coastal processes on built and natural environments.

Key Points and Recommendations

  1. Cliff Erosion and Land Loss:
  • The continued erosion of cliffs in the Hastings area is a significant concern. It impacts agricultural land, parts of Hastings Country Park, and historical sites such as the Iron Age Cliff Castle.
  • Realignment of coastal footpaths may be necessary to mitigate the impact on public access and recreational use.
  1. Maintenance of Coastal Defences:
  • Regular maintenance and improvements of groynes, harbour structures, and other coastal defences are crucial.
  • These activities are necessary to protect built assets and reduce the rate of coastal erosion.
  1. Monitoring and Strategy Review:
  • Continuous monitoring of erosion rates and coastal changes is essential to ensure that the strategies remain effective.
  • Regular reviews and updates of the strategies based on new data and monitoring results are recommended to adapt to changing conditions.
  1. Environmental and Historical Preservation:
  • Efforts should be made to preserve the coastal landscape and the biological and geological assets of the area.
  • Special attention is required to protect historical sites like the Iron Age Cliff Castle, which are at risk due to ongoing erosion.
  1. Public Access and Recreational Use:
  • Management of beach access and the alignment of coastal footpaths are important to maintain public access and recreational opportunities in the face of erosion and other coastal changes.


The South Foreland to Beachy Head SMP provides a comprehensive plan for managing the coastline in the Hastings and St Leonards area. It addresses the challenges posed by cliff erosion, the need for coastal defence maintenance, and the importance of monitoring and updating strategies. The plan emphasizes the preservation of natural and historical assets while ensuring the safety and accessibility of coastal areas for public use. Through continuous monitoring and adaptive management, the SMP aims to balance environmental conservation with the needs of local communities and stakeholders.