Plans to get regeneration funding for Hastings Old TownPlans to get regeneration funding for Hastings Old Town
Plans to get regeneration funding for Hastings Old Town

Traders meet to discuss how Hastings Old Town can benefit from government funding

The Hastings Old Town Traders group met last Thursday to discuss ideas of how the Old Town can benefit from the Government’s £20 million level up funding for the town.

Over the next few months, the town will develop a strategic vision to cover the next ten years, and a detailed three year spending plan will be drawn up.

What goes into the plan must be based on what the people of Hastings see as the main priorities and the areas being looked at are tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, regenerating high streets and improving transport.

Traders and some Old Town residents, gathered at Babels, in George Street to discuss ideas. The meeting was chaired by Ady Maylam, who said: “For the purpose of funding and bids the town has been divided into four areas, The town centre, Old Town, St Leonards and Silverhill and Ore and we want to get a fair share of that money for the Old Town. We are looking for suggestions and ideas to take that forward. We only have until the beginning of August to put this together.”

Ideas put forward, on the night, to improve the Old Town, included greening up the area, creating more wall murals and improving connection between the town centre and the Old Town.

There were suggestions of a leaflet with a directory of Old Town shops and businesses to be available at the train station, pointing out the unique character of the area. There was also a suggestion of new information boards in the town centre, directing people to the Old Town.

Anger was expressed by many of the traders about the council’s decision to do away with the tourist information centre and sever links with 1066 Country Marketing.

A local guest house owner said: “When Hastings was part of the 1066 Country campaign the town was promoted all over the South East, in London and at events on the continent too. We have seen a real decline in visitors coming to the town who would have been made aware of it from those sources. Not to be part of 1066 Country is crazy. We got so much help from them.”

Questions were raised about how the funding panel, which makes the final decisions on where the money goes, is appointed, how qualified it is, and how representative it is of the local community.

Local regeneration company Sea Space, which established The Azur at Marina, St Leonards, is represented on the panel.

Old Town councillor and former Hastings Mayor, James Bacon said: “The Old Town is the gem in the crown of Hastings and this is a good opportunity to get some funds to improve it.”

Heather Bishop said: "The town needs more provision for youth so that young people don’t get bored and get into mischief. It would be good to looks at inside spaces for youth in the winter as well as the multi-use games areas that we have.”

The group is still open to ideas and suggestions from people who were unable to attend last Thursday’s meeting. You can email suggestions to [email protected].