5 March 2018
MY NEW DOC ON HASTINGS' COMEBACK
As the picture above neatly illustrates, Edward Hopper would have loved Hastings' new peer. And he wouldn't be alone. This modern, sparsely furnished peer has recently earned a prestigious award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and is officially the most exciting peer in England to date. Like most success stories, this one has had its fair share of sad episodes - to put it mildly. And like nearly all success stories, it inspires us to look for potential that is based on people and not only on footfall figures, property prices and transport links.
Although Hastings' comeback from half-abandoned seaside resort to what now seems like a Brighton 2.0-in-the-making has had to do with both affordable property and improved transport, this story is much more complex.
Headline-grabbing public projects (new gallery, new peer, new fast train connection), local grassroots initiatives and a good business climate have turned Hastings into a very attractive place to set up a small business. They have seen setbacks too: the council first tried to lure headquarters of big firms to the city (a complete flop), Brighton University opened a campus here (they are closing it soon) and 'Down-from-Londoners' have bought up plenty of nice houses here for the price of a parking space in Hackney, squeezing some locals out of the housing market. But Hastings is now well aware of the pitfalls of regeneration and there are some really interesting measures to prevent the town from sleepwalking into them.
In this film, I was experimenting with the style of Monocle Films. You will notice this anyway if you like those films but if not, Hastings will still be a great place to visit and set up a small business.
Film will come online 28 March. So make sure you come back then for some sea breeze.