Back in August Sussex Business Times took a look at the upcoming regeneration of Eastbourne’s town centre – focusing on the Arndale Centre, Devonshire Quarter – and the A27 development. This time around, we focus on Hastings and delve deep into what is soon to become of the coastal town 

Located on the south east coast, around 16 miles from Eastbourne’s town centre, Hastings is a town that carries a deep and interesting history. It’s known for the 1066 Battle of Hastings, fought on a nearby field where Battle Abbey now stands and the Norman ruins of Hastings Castle, once home to William the Conqueror, overlook the coast. Despite this, and through years of neglect, Hastings has (somewhat undeservingly) earned itself a misjudged reputation, but this is all about to change… 

Hastings Borough Council confirmed a few months back that it has started talking to partners about the possibility of developing a harbour, housing and transport improvements in the Old Town of Hastings. “We have been approached by Hastings Harbour Quarter Ltd, a company specially formed for the purpose. Its directors are experienced developers and architects who have carried out a number of large projects across the country,” said Council leader, Peter Chowney. “The scheme is at a very early stage, but it has potentially very significant benefits for the town, including a new marina providing moorings, boat storage facilities and support services; around 1,000 to 1,300 new homes; a protected launching and landing site for our fishing fleet; and transport improvements to the area. “The proposal could have a substantial and lasting direct benefit to Hastings, with its construction alone worth around £500m. The spending power of the residents of the new homes is expected to be around £26m per annum, with significant additional spending from the many thousands of new visitors the development could attract.  

“There are still a lot of questions to be answered, before I’d be comfortable with the scheme. I would want to see at least 25% of the new homes as social housing, access for vehicles would need to be achieved without damaging the Stade and its character, and car parking lost at Rock-a-Nore would need to be replaced, ideally with underground car parks. It would also need to protect, and indeed enhance, our local fishery, along with the existing attractions on the Stade. But these are very early days, and we will debate the principle of the work at our cabinet meeting on September 11.”  

Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, has also spoke out following the announcement of such discussions. She said: “This scheme has the potential to deliver fantastic new opportunities for our town through boosting the supply of housing, improving local transport, creating jobs and providing new facilities for our fishing fleet. However, we must make sure this development is in the best interests of our community. I’m pleased there will be further discussion and consideration of the proposals before a decision is made on whether to take it forward,” as Cllr Keith Glazier, East Sussex County Council leader, added his view: “While still early days, this is an exciting proposal which could potentially have significant economic benefits not just for Hastings but for the whole area. Clearly there are a large number of transport, environmental and financial challenges to overcome but we will work with the borough council and other partners to endeavour to address these issues, which need to be resolved to enable the scheme to progress.” 

Moving onwards and upwards though, this £500 million regeneration plan for Hastings seafront was confirmed and unveiled last month. The Hastings Harbour Quarter project will transform the town while preserving and enhancing the town’s maritime heritage. Construction of a new harbour will provide jobs in the area, from construction jobs through to the ultimate job creation connected with the operation of the harbour, new public realm, marina and many associated facilities and attractions. Speaking in terms of numbers, the regeneration is expected to create It will also create jobs, extra parking and a working marina for up to 600 vessels. In addition to this, it is also intended to provide in the region of 1,300 much-needed houses, including homes for harbour and key workers. As part of the process, Hastings Harbour Quarter – a newly-former company which will undertake the development – will be consulting with the public and interested parties over the size, location and access arrangements.

Andrew Doyle, Director at Hastings Harbour Quarter said of the development plans: “This is truly a transformational potential development for the people of Hastings. The intention is to construct a ‘halo’ development as an exemplar for seaside towns and communities. We believe that this development will provide many much-needed jobs and continue the regeneration of Hastings , which has seen tremendous improvements in the last few years. The many elements of this project here mentioned will secure the prosperity and community of Hastings for generations, with growth thriving future for all the people of Hastings.” 

Of course, as we make our way further through these development plans, we’re expecting certain elements to change, and unforeseen circumstances will surely affect the current schedule. Either way, what is to come of Hastings is exciting and no matter what, promises to enhance the town and its surrounding areas. 

Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors: Over 125 years of legal services for Hastings  

Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors has been providing first-class legal services to the people and businesses of Hastings for over 125 years. Back in 1889, the firm’s founder, Dr Frederick Goodwin, opened their first office and was joined in partnership shortly after by Ralph Gaby. Some years later, Allen Hardwicke joined the partnership and the rest as they say is history.  

Gaby Hardwicke has grown exponentially since those early years, but has stayed true to the values of its founders, with the pursuit of excellence, a caring approach and the provision of fast, effective legal advice at the heart of its philosophy. Today Gaby Hardwicke has offices in three East Sussex towns – Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne, and its business clients have access to a highly skilled team whose practice areas cover a wide spectrum of commercial law fields. 

Many of Gaby Hardwicke’s commercial solicitors gained experience at regional or City firms, which enables the provision of a city-style service at competitive regional rates. Gaby Hardwicke’s clients have included substantial companies in both the manufacturing and service sectors including many well-known local businesses in the field of vacuum technology, healthcare and the motor industry, and of course many SMEs and local family-owned businesses. More unusual clients have included the London Military Attaché’s Office of a Middle Eastern government, telecommunications companies, fashion houses, fabric designers, and publishers. In recent years the firm’s lawyers have handled landmark cases in the fields of trade marks, database rights, confidential information and employee competition. 

Mark Williams is Corporate Finance and Commercial Agreements Partner at the firm. He leads most of the high-value corporate and commercial transactions and has acted for clients in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and America, frequently in deals of up to £20m. He is also the key lawyer for commercial contract matters and company law. If a business needs expert advice on shareholders’ agreements, terms and conditions of business, licensing or franchise agreements, partnership agreements, matters involving directors or any corporate transactional matter, Mark is on hand. 

Partner Jeremy Laws heads the Commercial Dispute Resolution team, resolving business disputes for Gaby Hardwicke clients as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Our preferred approach is to resolve disputes through negotiation, mediation or arbitration, but where litigation is unavoidable we’re a match for any city law firm. 

At Gaby Hardwicke’s Hastings office, the Commercial Property team is led by Partner Jon Fielden. Jon and his team have vast experience in the sale and purchase of shops, restaurants, hotels, pubs, offices, industrial premises, development sites and healthcare businesses. They are also experts in agricultural land transactions and the use of commercial property as security for business funding or pension investment. 

For employment law matters Gaby Hardwicke’s clients turn to Partner Paul Maynard and his team of specialists. Paul is one of a small number of British lawyers to successfully fight a case in the European Court of Human Rights. Paul’s team are on hand to provide a speedy response to day-to-day enquiries by phone, email or in person at the firm’s offices or at your place of business. 

As one of the longest established law firms in Sussex and a major employer in Hastings and beyond, Gaby Hardwicke has a long-term commitment to the local community. The firm regularly supports and advises local charities. Each year, Gaby Hardwicke’s partners donate part of their annual profits to the Gaby Hardwicke Foundation, a registered charity that supports and assists worthy local causes. The firm’s 2017 ‘Charity of the Year’ is the Friends of the Conquest Hospital, and staff and partners alike are raising funds for the hospital’s MRI Scanner Appeal. 

Gaby Hardwicke is renowned throughout the East Sussex business community for its strong principles and impeccable standards. Thanks to the breadth and high level of its lawyers’ expertise, many of the firm’s business clients will never need to use another law firm.

To find out more visit www.gabyhardwicke.co.uk , call 01424 457 500 or email info@gabyhardwicke.co.uk 

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