Core Strategy Preferred Approaches
The Vision for Hastings
4.1 The Core Strategy has to identify an overall vision for the town; giving a clear picture of the type of place we want Hastings to be by 2026.
4.2 At the Issues and Options stage we presented two visions. We received a wide range of comments, with most recommending that we pursue and refine vision 2, making it specific to Hastings. You can read the comments made at www.hastings.gov.uk/ldf/resources.aspx
4.3 Government guidance suggests that the vision should closely relate to the Hastings & St Leonards Community Strategy. With this in mind we have redrafted vision 2, to include the essence and principles of the Community Strategy vision, at the same time aiming to make the vision as specific to the Borough as possible:
“By 2026 Hastings will be a safe and thriving place to live in, that offers a high quality of life, and has a strong economy and sustainable future, founded upon our unique heritage and seaside location, and supported by social, economic, cultural and environmental regeneration”.
4.4 We also have to write a statement to describe what Hastings might look like in 2026, when the vision has been fulfilled. We’ve written our statement based on what people have said in our consultations and on the strategic objectives we’ve drafted to achieve the vision.
4.5 Remember this is a vision. We have to be realistic and recognise that it is impossible to predict and shape the future.
Vision Statement: Take a trip to Hastings in 2026:
4.6 It’s 2026, and Hastings is one of the most desirable places on the South Coast to visit, to stay, to work, to study and to live. The regeneration programme has transformed the town with the university centre, new office and leisure activity, and the college and library revitalising the town centre, the Millennium Community and college transforming the Ore Valley, and Central St Leonards and flourishing as a desirable location for people to live, shop and work.
4.7 Over 4,000 homes have been built in the town, providing a mix of styles, designs, sizes and affordability to meet the differing needs of residents. As a result many more people are now in quality housing that they could not access a decade ago. Hastings has looked to the future by placing accessibility and sustainability high on its agenda with building and planning policies that encourage a sensible approach to using resources for building and living. The homes are well-constructed using sustainable materials, renewable energy, and following energy and waste efficiency and safety principles. It is not only the new homes that are of improved quality; focused renewal programmes, investment and enforcement actions, have vastly improved the quality of the private sector housing stock in Central St Leonards that several years ago was in a poor state of repair. Good use has also been made of the limited land available, with some allocated for housing, and some for economic activity. The Millennium Community development at Ore Valley gives an excellent example of how an area that was once a disused industrial site can be regenerated into a desirable place to live.
4.8 The town’s population has increased, with many skilled professionals and their families coming in the last 5 years, attracted by the quality housing, the range of careers available and the promise of a high quality of life by the sea. Many work from home taking advantage of flexible working, and modern flexible fibre-optic and other ITC technology. Others use the improved links to London, Ashford and Brighton to reach their offices. There are more people coming to the town too, with students and office workers commuting in on a daily basis and an increase in leisure and weekend visitors.
4.9 The strong focus on raising education standards for children and young people, from pre-school to school leaving age, has contributed to young people having higher aspirations. As a result they are achieving good exam passes, with the excellent town-wide training and education facilities at University Centre Hastings and the Further Education colleges at Station Plaza and Parker Road being widely used. When they leave full-time education, they are equipped with a variety of skills, and are prepared for the next stage of their lives, whether that is university or the workplace, where there is a variety of jobs and careers available for all ages.
4.10 Tourism continues to be important to the local economy. The number of bedspaces has been increased, the tourist season extended and there is generally a higher quality tourist offer. But regeneration has ensured that other local businesses have grown and new employers have been attracted to the town creating a healthy, diverse economy, as well as a strong housing market.
4.11 Improved transport infrastructure has played a major part in opening up the town, with a choice of travel options, enabling people to reach the town centre easily, including rail links from Wilting and the Ore Valley, and local buses that serve the housing areas, with good fares, and convenient timetables. Car-use has decreased on short journeys with many people walking or cycling into town, to their nearby shops or to school. Links to neighbouring areas are much improved following the opening of the link road to Bexhill, and improvements to the A21.
4.12 The Town Centre is a centre of activity, with a reputation for good retail that offers a range of high street brands as well as independent stores. The town remains alive in the early evening with a range of cafes and shops open until 9pm.
4.13 Every home is in walking distance of quality open space. The award winning Hastings Country Park and the new Pebsham Countryside Park border the town. The open spaces are a major factor in Hastings residents maintaining their active lifestyles, many of who are now are now living healthier longer lives.
4.14 The rejuvenated seafront continues to attract visitors and residents throughout the year whatever the weather, who can walk or cycle from the Old Town to Bexhill. Hastings is an inclusive place, with a diverse range of communities, residents, employees and visitors.
4.15 Hastings still knows how to party and continues to host festivals that brings the whole town together as well as attracting visitors from all over the South East. Hastings has always been famous for its culture and history and is now planning for the major celebrations in 2066, which will attract international interest.