Potential community use for the Old Town Hall

A group of residents are asking the council if they can turn the currently vacant Old Town Hall on the High Street into an arts based community hub. The likelihood is that the local council will give it to the group at a peppercorn rent until they are up and running (if they can prove its needed).

If you are interested in using the space for exhibitions, selling crafts etc, renting workspaces or running workshops, get in touch via the website.

The hub will be not for profit and any rents/profit share will be at a rate affordable to all.  They plan to run a couple of craft retro fairs to get some initial funds at the beginning of July this year.
At a later stage they want to pay a manager to run the building. The hope is it will be open 7 days a week all day and evening.

You can attend weekly meetings about the hub at 6.30pm on Mondays at Old History House, 21 Courthouse Street.

Transition Town first housing meeting

We held our first housing meeting after Ken Davis’s talk on eco-refurbishing homes.

12 people attended and the conversation was really lively.

 

Here are some abridged notes from the meeting:

One member gave some background information about Neighbourhood Plans. She is Chair of the Tulse Hill Neighbourhood Plan in South London.
Some funding was made available via Locality for some initial consultation within the area (they set up a stall in Brockwell Park). They asked one question: “If you could change anything in your neighbourhood what would it be?”.

Map out an area for your plan – Tulse Hill asked all those who came ot the Brockwell Park stand and then put a pin in a map for each person to create their boundary.

Once the group has 21 people committed to the plan it’s possible to apply to be a Neighbourhood Planning Forum. A Neighbourhood Plan must relate to the established local plan but the forum writes it’s own. The plan produced is then statutory.

One attendee shared his ideas about appropriate language. He does not like the word ‘housing’ as it is not a noun. He prefers to talk about ‘making places’. He said that there are three essentials for people: Food, Community and Place.

All present in the meeting shared what things they’d like to change in the town:

  • Better design of the local environs
  • Use of meanwhile spaces
  • Use of empty/derelict spaces
  • Better quality affordable, rented accommodation
  • Joined up thinking (eg how waste water is managed within developments)
  • A greater sense of community
  • Improved awareness of planning activity
  • More spaces for people to interact – many live in isolation

What should we call this group? Making places, environment, neighbourhood, community… Ideas?

Vision Day at the White Rock Hotel.

On Saturday 18th April 2015 we had our visions event at the White Rock Hotel, a fantastic afternoon when more than eighty people came together to contribute ideas for a more sustainable town. Here is a taster of some of the ideas discussed, including a few quirky ones:

Food growing

  • Community Gardens
  • Edible bus stops / guerilla gardening
  • Garden matching schemes

Transport

  • Car free days on the seafront
  • Travel passes for integrated transport system (including new funiculars to the West/East Hills)

Economy

  • Local currency
  • Skill share/swap

Energy

  • 100% renewable energy owned by Hastings Community
  • Bio-digesters to generate energy from local garden waste

Housing

  • Rent reform / Land tax control
  • CPO / planning reform
  • Eco-housing including Eco Open Houses

Waste

  • Community composting
  • Packaging-free shops
  • Acknowledge the value in waste and use it.

Also, the presentations about Transition Town Lewes, Community Fruit and Veg Project, Trinity Wholefoods Coop, Energise Sussex Coast and a short film of a TED talk emphasised the power of community.

As such, it feels important to consider the following in the future work of Transition Town Hastings:

  • work with existing community groups
  • bring people together to create a friendlier and safer environment
  • bridging age gaps through common activities
  • developing Transition Streets
  • encouraging broader engagement

We were excited to discover lots of people at the event had valuable skills to offer and we hope to see these in action soon.

On Monday 25th May at 7pm there will be a core group Transition Town Hastings meeting in the Notley Room at the White Rock Hotel.

This meeting is for those wishing to be involved in deciding the next steps. We will be looking at how we form and facilitate working groups, develop projects and raise funds. (Photos © John Cole).