The New Town St Leonards was the inspiration of James Burton, (1761 - 1837) and was subsequently enlarged by his son Decimus, (1800 -1881) both father and Son being famous as architects in Bloomsbury, in Tunbridge Wells and elsewhere. Founded in 1828, as an example of regency Town Planning and Garden Landscaping, it is unique.
In 1967 over-ambitious expansion schemes threatened the demolition of listed buildings and the destruction of the character of the area. "Little Bloomsbury by the sea" was set for extinction. The Burtons St Leonards Society was founded to stop the threat. Their campaign, backed by various organisations like the Civic Trust, the Georgian Group and Hastings Borough Council, resulted in the designation of the conservation area in 1969, by the Local Authority.