‘Fantastic’ project at the heart of Hastings

It’s been lying empty and unused for more than 30 years but this week Hastings MP Amber Rudd was given a tour of the Observer Building in Cambridge Road and was told about the plans to bring in alive.

Ms Rudd heard that White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures (WRNV) are hoping to put the Observer Building to immediate productive use and to protect it as a community asset. Beth Woolf, Joint Project Manager and Coordinator of WRNV and director Jess Steele outlined ‘exciting plans’ for regeneration and to bring the building back into use after 34 years.

WRNV aims to create what they describe as, ‘a building of multiple uses’.

“It will have strong connectivity within the building, as part of the ecosystem of community-led buildings in the immediate area including Rock House, 12 Claremont, 39 Cambridge Rd, Alley, caves, etc, and with stakeholders throughout the wider neighbourhood and community,” says the WRNV website.

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 15.37.08
One of the empty spaces within the building which WRNV hopes to put to productive use in the very near future.

The three main types of use will be…

  • workspace – ranging from co-working space, ‘work-boxes’ for creative and tech micro-enterprises, to large artist studio spaces
  • homes – capped-rent homes which might be individual flats or clusters of shared accommodation for people in housing need with a local connection and the enthusiasm to make a contribution to the social and physical upkeep of the building and the neighbourhood
  • leisure – including food & drink, events, games/adventure, and potentially a travellers hostel/residential training centre.

Ms Rudd said: “I was thrilled to be shown around the Observer Building. It is fantastic to see this project taking place in the heart of Hastings”

Ms Steele said: “It was good to show Amber Rudd around the Observer Building and the other local capped-rent projects – existing and planned. Both as the Hastings MP and in her role for DWP she liked our approach to ‘squeezing’ the building for life-changing opportunities for local people and businesses. We hope she will be able to help.”

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