Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Rock House Photo Karen Simnett

Rock House Photo Karen Simnett

Rock House rocks!

An experimental, collaborative, creative, affordable mixed-use building: Rock House in the centre of Hastings offers both residential and working space, aiming to “disrupt the usual gentrification story by making it possible for people who ‘scrape a living’ – but contribute so much to the area – to continue living and working here”. Karen Simnett writes.

If you haven’t yet come across Rock House on Cambridge Road, it’s the one right next door to the Observer Building and it’s the youngest of the FJ Parson’s Observer Printworks dynasty. Rock House was a nine-storey office block of 1969 vintage and now houses two floors of residential tenants with three flats per floor and seven commercial floors.

The first, second and third floors are currently home to a collection of creative businesses and the ground floor (named ‘Ground Control’- yes there’s a strong Bowie influence here!) contains a co-working space for entrepreneurs and start-ups or those wanting an extra desk away from home or their normal office space. The ground floor also includes a bookable meeting room/project space that is free for not-for-profit community groups or residents to use. Rock House also benefits from super-speed broadband – the fastest in Hastings as far as we know! We’re also pleased to announce we’ve just signed a contract with Opus Energy for 100% renewably sourced electricity.

Rock House desk spaces

Rock House desk spaces

Rock House was purchased by Meanwhile Space CIC and Jericho Road Solutions. Keen for it to have strong community connections, they gave 10% of the shares to White Rock Trust and in December 2015, the three partners signed an agreement to hold equal shares in White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures (WRNV), the owner of the building.

The vision has always been to create a mixed-use building – space for living, working and community action – where creativity and collaboration could thrive, with capped rents to protect affordability and preserve the diversity of the neighbourhood. Jess Steele of Jericho Road was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4, describing how Rock House aims to disrupt the usual gentrification story by making it possible for people who ‘scrape a living’ – but contribute so much to the area – to continue living and working here.

The tenants of Rock House are various creative businesses, some of whom work with charities or ethical businesses. The latest advancement in this unique Hastings building is the idea of self-management. Rather than pay an outside letting agent, which raises the cost for tenants in the form of service charges, the self-management approach involves tenants taking control of the day-to-day running of the building such as managing the cleaning and waste contracts, lift maintenance, security and general decision-making. This gives tenants more autonomy in how they feel the building should be managed and more creativity in doing so as well as saving themselves extra costs.

Another new feature soon to appear is some digital signage in the ground floor window, which will advertise the work and projects of all the tenants in the building, events and news about the building or local things happening in the White Rock/America Ground area. This is being installed on a voluntary basis by two of our residential tenants.

Rock House logo

Rock House logo

To support this project, stay informed of the latest developments and get invited to Rock House events, please join Friends of Rock House (FORH). This is a new unincorporated association bringing together tenants, users and supporters to support the development of Rock House as an experimental, collaborative, creative, affordable mixed-use building and to encourage and promote connections between Rock House and the wider local community.

To join FORH or for more info on workspace, please contact

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Posted 15:08 Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016 In: Home Ground

1 Comment

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  1. Lucy Pappas

    I love this idea! I’ll be needing a new place to live soon xx

    Comment by Lucy Pappas — Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016 @ 20:37

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