Gotham Alley before work started
Studio OU's vision for West St Leonards Bathing Pool Site
St Leonards Parish Church
St Leonard's Parish Church

HUDG have worked, or are still working, with a number of community groups to help them progress their projects. Three examples are outlined below and illustrated above.

Suggestions from the community for new initiatives are welcome, and if of a suitable nature may be taken forward if resources permit.  

Gotham Alley

This is a space behind Hastings Library, running parallel with Claremont alongside the back of the Observer Building. Previously a little known back-water it is now being re-purposed as a venue for community events.

HUDG assisted Heart of Hastings by recommending an initial strategy for upgrading the area whilst still maintaining it’s essential character. First steps were to deal with public health issues – vermin infestation, rubbish clearance and storage, cuting back overhanging vegetation and resolving drainage issues.

Suggested first phase improvements were to carry out some re-surfacing to improve access and to delineate activity areas, to bring some of the caves into beneficial use, and provide an artist/artisan designed gate at the junction with Claremont to improve security and to present a more attractive appearance than the existing utilitarian gate.

These proposals were put in hand by the newly formed Alley Association in consultation with adjoining property owners and tenants, and the Local Authority.

HUDG suggested that future phases of the project could consider, amongst other minor works, introducing a portable/mobile stage and a tensioned fabric canopy, subject to available funding. 

At present the alley is a dead end, but HUDG suggested the Association might look at the feasibility of providing a new connection to Claremont via one of the existing buildings to improve footfall.

Further details of the Alley Association can be found here.

West St Leonard’s

HUDG has been able to give support to a number of campaigning groups in West St Leonards.

Planning and campaign advice from HUDG helped the South Saxons Action Group successfully fight against proposals by the County Council to build town houses and extra-care housing on the site of the former West St Leonards Primary School and playing field.

The Bulverhythe Protectors and the Friends of Combe Haven have been resisting Borough Council proposals to build 192 houses on the Bulverhythe Recreation ground in a Countryside Park and high risk flood zone. HUDG has provided guidance on the planning process, researched relevant planning issues, helped brief the Member of Parliament, and encouraged the group to emphasise and enhance the existing and potential use of the Recreation Ground.

HUDG is supporting the West Marina Group. They have been lobbying the Borough Council to work with local residents to achieve an appropriate mixed use development on the former bathing pool site at Seaside Road. This is a key location with huge potential to be a major seaside attraction but currently being promoted by the Council for 152 housing units.

HUDG has encouraged and supported already active local residents groups to work together to create a wider context for their work. This involves development of a possible neighbourhood forum and neighbourhood plan for West St Leonards.   

Burton’s St Leonard’s Society

HUDG have been discussing working with the Burton’s St Leonard’s Society (BSLS) on and off over a number of years on topics of mutual interest.

In some instances helping BSLS in formulating objections to what were considered inappropriate planning applications within the Conservation Area.

In others, looking at the possibility of some small scale urban improvements to provide better connectivity to the seafront.

An ongoing problem that the two groups are discussing is the future of St Leonard’s Parish Church and it’s surrounding area, including the still closed footpath via Sussex Steps to West Hill Road.