Bringing Hastings history to life and putting it back to work

Is your’s a creative business and would you like to be in at the start of the development of what is being called an ‘exciting neighbourhood community project’.

With works on the Lower Alley, Claremont set to be completed in April social enterprise developer White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures (WRNV) is now looking for local creative businesses to become its partners.

A spokesman said: “We are making an open call for longer-term tenancy or 2021 season proposals that will activate one or a combination of spaces now available for rent in the Lower Alley.”

If you are interested you can download an ‘expression of interest’ information pack by clicking the links below and you should return your completed application form by the end of this month (February 28th) to jay@wrnv.org.uk.

  1. Information Pack
  2. Application Form
  3. Lower Alley Plan
  4. Patio Courtyard Visual

Background

Nestled behind Claremont for close to 170 years lies one of Hastings’ hidden historic gems. Simply known to locals as ‘The Alley’, it is a last fragment of town common land that has no claim of public or private ownership. It is cared for by its neighbouring building owners and tenants and has long been a favoured canvas for the town’s talented graffiti artists.

Surrounding the Lower Alley there is a collection of spaces which include five caves hewn into the rock of St Michael’s Cliff, Rose Cottage – a Victorian stable block and a patio courtyard to the rear of 10 Claremont’s shop and basement space.

Creating commercial and learning opportunities for Hastings creative retailers, craftspeople and educators.

In recent years, WRNV has taken ownership of the caves and a long term lease on 10 Claremont.  In 2017, partner organisation Jericho Road Solutions bought Rose Cottage, bringing another alley building out of dereliction and back into community use as an artist workshop and studio space. 

As owners of the Observer Building and partners of the Hastings Commons, WRNV says it saw the potential to marry all these spaces together with a vision for a new creative and inclusive neighbourhood project. ‘The Hastings Commons’ is about holding buildings under common ownership and bringing them back to life for the common good. WRNV says: “It’s about creating positive ways for people to live and work that enable them to thrive.”  

Building on this vision, WRNV was one of three town projects to recently secure an accelerator grant from the Hastings Town Deal fund. This fund has enabled the refurbishment of the caves, 10 Claremont, patio courtyard and Rose Cottage stables space. Landscaping works have been commissioned to connect the Alley with a wider greening vision for the town centre. Historic England has also stepped into the breach funding essential works on the Alley cliff face to ensure stabilising safety works. 

“This collection of buildings now presents an exciting array of commercial and learning opportunities for Hastings creative retailers, craftspeople and educators,” says the WRNV spokesman.

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