A town gearing up for another wave of popularity
Hastings nestles on the south coast of East Sussex and has been a famous fishing port for hundreds of years. The fishing has declined since its heyday, but it is still home to the largest beach-based fishing fleet in England.
The fleet has been based on the same beach for at least 400 years.Its longevity is attributed to Rye Bay’s prolific fishing grounds and the area has recently won an accreditation for their sustainable fishing methods.
Today health, public services, retail & education services are the major providers of employment here.
The borough incorporates the areas of Ore Valley, Silverhill, St Leonards, West St Leonards and Hollington and is located approximately 24 miles east of Sussex’s county town Lewes and 53 miles south-east of London.
With an estimated population of 86,900 it was the 66th largest settlement in the UK in 2011.
The average property price in Hastings is just 0.5% above the national average and a very encouraging 34.19% below the south-east of England’s average. Properties in the area have risen by 5% in the last year. With these positive statistics Hastings is a very worthy area for property investors.
Hastings pier was devastated by fire in 2010, two years after closing due to safety reasons. The Council subsequently bought it and with the help of an £11.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is turning it into what has been hailed “as the coolest-looking pier in the world.” Once back in service, it will be host to concerts, plays, circuses and more. It is due to re-open in June 2015, bringing with it a significant boost to the economy.The attraction is expected to draw over 325,000 visitors in the first year. It will contribute around £1.2 million to the local economy, adding more maritime charm to an existing array of fine buildings beautiful countryside.
Economy & Employment
Health, public service and education drive Hastings’ economy.
The constantly developing Priory Quarter is Hastings town centre’s revamped business and education district. The site is currently home to Saga’s headquarters, which brought 800 new jobs in the area.
Qualification levels in Hastings borough are similar to the national average with the main employment sectors being in health, public services, retail and education services.
There are also various industrial estates around the town, mostly on the outskirts, which include engineering, catering, motoring and construction. They are mainly SME’s with 85% of the firms employing fewer than 10 people.
There are plans to expand the retail area in Hastings, including Priory Meadow Shopping centre, it is intended to have a second floor added to part of the retail area creating additional space for retailers to move into the centre and aiding with local employment.
The ‘Big Local’ initiative joins local talent from individuals, groups & organisations who want to make their area an even better place to live. A local trust is working with over £1 million in funding to develop North East Hastings over the next 10 years. The range of partners will provide expert advice and support for residents to regenerate the area.
£14 million is flowing into the rebuild of Hastings pier which is due to open in June 2015.
Studies of successful resorts, which increased visitor numbers by 150% between 1996 and 2005, attribute their success largely to investing in public areas and heritage buildings, to a strong community spirit and good leadership.Hastings is doing just that. The pier project raised £600,000 in community shares from 3,000 people, more than half from the resort itself.
The South East England Development Agency was founded to regenerate the local economy.In 2002 a 10-year programme was set up to tackle the local reliance on public sector employment. The regeneration scheme saw the construction of the University Centre Hastings (now known as the University of Brighton in Hastings) and the new Sussex Coast College campus, alongside construction of the Priory Quarter.
Hastings is also an inventor’s paradise. It is ranked in the top 10 for the number of patents per 100,000 residents.
The Coastal Space project is underway to transform properties in the Central St Leonards area. Work has also started at the former St Mary’s Nursing Home in Carisbrooke Road. The building is being converted into 11 one and two bedroom flats. This will make a huge impact in the area and go a long way to regenerating the area.
Air: Gatwick is the nearest airport to service Hastings, being under 54 miles away. It operates worldwide flights.
Rail: On a fast train you can be at London Charing Cross in 90 minutes. Brighton is an hour away, Ashford International and the Eurostar take 47 minutes and run hourly.
Road: Hastings is accessed by the A259 to the west from Eastbourne, continuing through Hastings to the east it becomes the A270 and heads into Ashford. From thenorth the A21 joins up to Tunbridge Wells.
Bus: Stagecoach run the main town routes, branded as part of the ‘Hastings Arrows’. Stagecoach in Hastings also run long distance routes to Eastbourne and to Folkestone and Dover.These routes (99, 100, 101 and 102) are branded as part of ‘The Wave’, which runs from Hastings to Eastbourne and is run jointly with Stagecoach in Eastbourne.
The borough of Hastings is home to 18 primary schools, 4 secondary schools and 1 independent school, alongside 2 further and higher education colleges/universities.
East Sussex County Council opened two academy schools, The St Leonards Academy and The Hastings Academy, in 2011.Since then the schools ratings in the borough are soaring. All the secondary schools are now ranked a minimum of satisfactory by ofsted and are improving rapidly.
Sussex coast college offers a 6th Form and A-level qualifications, alongside full-time and part-time courses, higher education and apprenticeships.
Higher Education is provided by The University of Brighton. It is based on the south coast over 5 campuses in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings.It caters for around 21,000 students and employs around 2,500 staff over 5 campuses. The Hastings campus offers undergraduate degrees in more than 30 subjects.
That means Hastings property investment is ideal if you’re looking for a major town for your portfolio.
Shops & Leisure
Shopping & Dining: Priory Meadow has excellent shopping facilities hosting over 40 stores as well as cafés and restaurants.It has all you can wish for in retail along with opticians and hairdressers, for the essentials.
St Clement’s is the choice for a good restaurant, offering seasonal menus from the area’s best produce with fish from Hastings’ fleet at its heart. Produce is sourced from traditional butchers, rare-breed farms and non-intensive dairies, local farms, fishermen & grocers. The minimal restaurant interior has the intention of maintaining a relaxed and informal atmosphere while letting the food speak for itself.
Sport & Culture: Many annual events take place in Hastings, the largest of which is the May Day bank holiday weekend festival, featuring a Jack-in-the-Green competition and the famous Mayday run, where thousands of motorcyclists ride the A21 to Hastings. A yearly carnival also takes place during August, which includes a week of events around Hastings Old Town including a seaboot race, bike race, street party and pram race. In September there is the month-long Coastal Currents Arts Festival and a Seafood and Wine Festival.