SoCAD, or “So come and make a difference”, was a series of events staged by HUDG in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2018. Local architects, along with some from further afield, were invited to submit ideas for their chosen sites in Hastings and St Leonard’s, unrestrained by a brief or economic considerations. The results were wide ranging to say the least.
Two exhibitions were held, one in Priory Meadow and one in what was then Hastings Trust’s premises on Robertson Street. A follow up public meeting and workshop was held about a month later in the assembly Rooms, St Leonards-on-Sea. An illustrated book of the event was produced and copies provided to interested parties, including HBC and the then sitting MP.
What was the point? Basically it was to stimulate interest in design and its potential to act as a catalyst for change. Judging by the comments received from the public (1000+ attended the exhibitions, and 150+ the follow up meeting), the event certainly created a lot of interest.
HUDG members helped the “Wonky WI” in setting up a temporary community garden on a derelict site in St Leonards which was awaiting development. This provided a community resource producing free of charge soft fruit and vegetables for local residents. The garden was entirely containerized and was capbale of relocation once the site was required for development. Unfortunately no other “meanwhile” site in the area could be found, but much later Transition Towns developed a community garden in a more permanent location at Warrior Square Station to a design produced by one of HUDG’s landscape architects.
Car Free Days are held throughout the World, 2019 was Hasting’s turn to stage their first car-free day.
Part of the seafront (from Warrior Square to Claremont) was closed to traffic for a few hours. HUDG members were pleased to be able to help Transition Towns and other groups make this happen.
Despite the poor weather the event was well received and well attended by the general public who enjoyed “actively occupying” the space usually lost to traffic. Before the day was over many of them were talking about where next year’s event could be held – a much longer stretch of the seafront, or maybe Queen’s Road?
Photos of the event can be seen here.