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The Courtyard – vision of a corner of Covent Garden on Hastings sea front.

Initial Town Deal projects in the lens

HOT photographer Russell Jacobs has been scouring the town in search of photogenic sights, and preferably topical news. He found some at the Source Park, the lower alley behind Claremont, Pelham car park and in Silverhill. Text by Nick Terdre.

We are about to see the first fruits of the Town Deal – before we even know if Hastings Town Deal board’s proposal has been accepted (fingers crossed!). Last year Hastings was awarded £1m in ‘accelerated funding’ from the government’s Town Fund for four shovel-ready projects, as the fashionable phrase has it, to help kick-start regeneration.

There hasn’t been any racing around the Source Park – the “world’s largest underground BMX and skatepark” – during lockdown but there has been a hive of building activity to prepare The Courtyard – restoration of  the sunken long-disused courtyard area to create spaces for new market-style shops and food outlets. A little corner of Covent Garden for Hastings, as it were.

We’ll have to wait for an easing of lockdown before acquainting ourselves with the pleasures of The Courtyard but there is already one notable feature in plain view – a new staircase linking it to the promenade level at the east end.

Hastings Commons

Another project with Town Deal accelerator funding is under way in the long-abandoned lower alley running off Claremont behind Rock House, with the refurbishment of caves, the patio courtyard and the Rose Cottage stables space to bring new retail, training and outdoor space to life.

Historic England has also pitched in with funding to stabilise the cliff face containing the caves by the installation of mesh, says White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures whose project it is.

Works in the lower alley are being overseen by Kim Kish.

WRNV has dubbed the area Hastings Commons as it is “a last fragment of town common land that has no claim of public or private ownership.”

It has invited expressions of interest from potential tenants keen to be involved in this “exciting array of commercial and learning opportunities for Hastings creative retailers, craftspeople and educators.”

Charging points multiply

A third tranche of accelerated funding will help the council towards delivering its climate emergency commitments to make Hastings carbon neutral by 2030 by adding another 14 charging points for electric vehicles. Two each are located in Pelham car park and Carlisle Parade car park, and 10 in Priory Street car park.

New charging points being installed in Pelham car park.

“With these 14 units HBC will then have 21 units across its sites – there were already three in Pelham, three in Marina and  one in Bexhill Road retail park,” council spokesman Kevin Boorman told HOT. “These units will be on the EO EV network.”

With an overall project cost of £50,000, the council had to draw on its Renewable Energy Capital Programme to top up the £15,000 of Town Deal money. In mid March the new units still awaited commissioning and lining work.

A year ago Hastings only had 2 EV units and these were often faulty, Boorman said. “This investment will support and enable residents, businesses and visitors to travel to the town centre, with the knowledge and confidence that they will be able to charge their electric vehicles.

“Such investment will support the transition to low carbon vehicles and help to meet the town’s climate emergency goals and improve local air quality. One of the most significant barriers to the uptake of electric vehicles is the availability of local EV charging infrastructure.”

Silverhill’s Paris in the spring

Silverhill briefly enjoyed its very own mini-version of the Eiffel Tower in the springtime – until the planning department found out about it and ordered its removal.

Nick Charman built it for his wife Bernie when the coronavirus obliged them to cancel plans for a trip to Paris, where they spent their honeymoon, due to the coronavirus. It wasn’t meant to be a permanent fixture but it became even more temporary when he was ordered to remove it pronto.

The planners’ prompt action contrasted starkly with their perceived tolerance towards some developers who appear to be allowed to get away with bending and breaking the rules with impunity.


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Posted 18:39 Wednesday, Mar 24, 2021 In: Photography

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