Hastings residents' reaction to controversial £24 million town centre regeneration plans

Residents in Hastings have given their views on a multi-million pound regeneration programme for the town.
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In 2021, Hastings was one of 101 towns in the UK to receive a share of the Government’s Towns Fund to kickstart the regeneration of the town with funding of £24.3m.

An open day was also held recently at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre for residents, businesses and visitors to give updates on the programme, with an exhibition consisting of visual updates for all projects and representatives for each of the current projects present to answer questions around the projects.

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One of these is the Hastings Town Centre Public Realm and Green Connections project, which could see the creation of new cycle routes, the removal of traffic and the rerouting of bus services.

The open day was held recentlyThe open day was held recently
The open day was held recently

However, people criticised the plans on the Observer’s Facebook page, with one describing them as ‘hair-brained’.

Roy Beeley said: “I’m all for smartening up what is already there in the town centre but to go ahead with this hare-brained scheme to de-pedestrianise part of the town and move the only taxi rank seems utterly pointless.”

Petrina Kempton said: “De-pedestrianising part of the town centre, from the cinema to Costa. Why? Rerouting buses. Why? Removing bus stops on Harold Place. Why? Removing the taxi rank in Havelock Road. Why? All to put in a cycle route from the station to the seafront and a 'park' in the end of Harold Place, which cash strapped HBC will have to maintain. Just no. Stop with this nonsense already. Upgrade the paving instead of using nasty tarmac; replace the toilets; put back some benches.”

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Lyn Meadows said: “All it needs is the town centre to be repaired to a good standard and cleaned and brightened up. No changes to bus routes or road reopenings as that's going back 40+ years.”

Harold Place Green Connections - artist's impression of Harold Place. Photo: ContributedHarold Place Green Connections - artist's impression of Harold Place. Photo: Contributed
Harold Place Green Connections - artist's impression of Harold Place. Photo: Contributed

Jim Dixon said: “Do you reckon we could earmark a couple of quid for potholes? Would be an investment in the long-run to prevent negligence claims?”

Gemma Vousden said: “I hope this doesn't mean you will pull down every old historical building in Hastings. Far too many have disappeared.”

Paul Raynor said: “How about replacing some public loos? There are lots of older people who need somewhere to go.”

John Gordon addd: “All talk and ideas but no action.”

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Organisers of the recent open day said more than 25,000 people visited the shopping centre throughout the day.

Residents who attended were able to comment on the Hastings Town Centre Public Realm and Green Connections project, as Arup, the design team, unveiled proposed plans for the project and invited feedback from attendees, alongside officers from East Sussex County Council transport team, Hastings Borough Council and the Hastings Garden Town team.

Transition Town Hastings will be hosting a walkabout to talk through the plans on February 15. Places are limited. Email [email protected].

Full details including the project brochure, public events and how people can respond to plans can be viewed on the East Sussex County Council website. Paper copies of the brochure also including a copy of the survey and freepost envelope are available at Hastings Library, Brassey Institute, 13 Claremont; Summerfields Leisure Centre, Bohemia Road and Common Room, Eagle House, 27-29 Cambridge Road.

The online survey must be completed by 11.59pm on March 1.

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Graham Peters, chair of the Town Deal Board, said: “I’m pleased that so many people came along to the open day to find out more about the projects in the town being funded through the Town Deal programme.

“This targeted government funding gives us the opportunity to improve the lives of Hastings residents through the specific Town Deal projects, including the town centre public realm and green connections project and the town centre regeneration plan, where the council is working with Homes England to bring forward development opportunities for new homes and commercial and leisure uses in the town centre.”

More information on the Town Deal programme can be found via the Hastings Town Deal blog www.hastingstowndeal.co.uk and on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter).