Hastings Old Town was presented with the first ever Britain’s best walking Neighbourhood Award yesterday after winning a public vote to find the very best urban area for going about everyday life on foot earlier this year.
At a special ceremony at Butlers’ Gap attended by Judy Rogers in one of her last roles as town mayor the official award was handed over by the Kate Ashbrook chair of the Ramblers board of trustees.
The old town was one of ten areas to make the shortlist for Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood Award and more than 12,000 votes were cast, with Hastings Old Town taking 21 per cent of the vote – a decisive win.
Anthony Slack a long-time Hastings Old Town resident nominated his neighbourhood for the award saying: “Whether it’s simply to visit local shops and restaurants, to go to the doctors’ surgery or to the local cinema or theatre, or just to admire our historic buildings, walking is usually the best way to do it in Hastings Old Town.
“The well maintained green spaces, the sea views, and the pleasant places to stop for a rest and to socialise, all combine to make Hastings Old Town a fantastic, walkable community. We’re delighted that the Old Town has been crowned as Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood.”
Hear what Anthony Slack told Hastings In Focus just after the Hastings’ victory was announched. by clicking on this link…
The streets of Hastings Old Town really were made for walking and several factors contribute to its win. Developed before the advent of the car, it’s well designed for making short journeys on foot. The streets are crisscrossed by narrow ‘twittens’, passages developed in Victorian times that today form charming pedestrian routes between the main thoroughfares.
But new measures have also been implemented in efforts to prioritise pedestrians, including vehicle restrictions on some streets during certain times, installing and improving paving and widening footways, making the old town even easier to navigate on foot.
Hear what local councillor – and now Hastings’ deputy mayor James Bacon had to say about the old town’s success…
The awards sparked residents’ pride in the area, with many sharing their love for walking in the town. Resident Dean Parker said: “I’ve walked in Snowdonia, the lakes, the Scottish Highlands and almost everywhere in between, hankering for these places daily. Yet since living in the old town I have no desire to leave. It doesn’t have the drama of the mountains, or the beauty of the northern countryside, but with the sea, the sharp steep steps up into the country park and the wonderful views I have all I need to fulfil my days.”
Councillor Kim Forward, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council and lead member for regeneration, planning and culture said: “I am delighted that we’ve won this award! All credit to Anthony Slack and all those who voted for our wonderful Old Town. We have won a number of awards over the years, and every one is special; just like Hastings.”
The Ramblers launched the award to celebrate areas that put pedestrians first. The walking charity hopes the awards will encourage more local authorities to think about how they could make small changes in design to improve walkability, to help improve the health and wellbeing of residents.
If you think your neighbourhood is well-designed for walking, nominations are now open for the 2019 award. Download a nomination form from
What we said when the win was announced in March
The other areas shortlisted for the award were:
- DG1 in Dumfries, Scotland
- Diglis, Worcester, Worcestershire
- Hackney, London
- Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
- Newtown, Powys, Wales
- Salford, Greater Manchester
- Stocksbridge, South Yorkshire
- Town Moor, Newcastle
- Walthamstow, London