The Battle for Hastings Pier

The Story of the Battle for Hastings Pier – by Jess Steele It’s an exciting time for seaside towns and for piers. As we approach the opening of the newly renovated Hastings Pier, it feels important to remember the story of the Battle for Hastings Pier. The pier is a ‘totemic asset’ – something that feels like it belongs to everyone, something that draws people together. Here is our totem as it was… beautiful, derelict. It closed 10 years ago when it became obvious that the owners (an off-shore company called Ravenclaw, registered in Panama to avoid English company law)… Read more…

Locality 2015

 Jericho Road had a fantastic time at the Locality 2015 Convention in Liverpool. We caught up with old friends and made new ones, discovered some great projects and sold a lot of tea towels! We heard from some inspiring speakers from neighbourhoods all over the world including a particularly captivating talk by Jason Roberts of Build a Better Block from Dallas who, along with his neighbours, transformed the neighbourhood they live in. All the things they wanted to do to change their neighbourhood were against the rules – so they did them anyway and attached copies of the rules to… Read more…

America Ground Pow Wow!

The first America Ground Pow Wow, held on 6th October, aimed to maintain and expand a local conversation which was kicked off by White Rock Trust earlier this year to ask the questions: is gentrification happening, if so is it a problem, if so is there anything we can do about it? This led to a project to establish a community land trust and a cross-sectoral project team is now taking this forwards. While the project team gets on with the detailed development work, the Pow Wow is a way to continue the wider dialogue with local residents, businesses and stakeholders. We talked about… Read more…

What’s happening to Hastings?

Change is underway… The Pier will reopen next spring. Local businesses will see footfall improve and new business are already opening up. After years in which the powers-that-be ignored our seafront in favour of ‘grade A’ offices and White Rock was just the gap between Hastings and St Leonards, now the great ‘legacy’ assets of the area (the pier, White Rock Baths, Bottle Alley, the Observer Building, Holy Trinity Church, and the White Rock Gardens) are being brought back to life. We can be proud of the passionate efforts of local people that have made this happen and excited about… Read more…

Two Piers and a Lesson for Local Government

Spot the difference. The real difference between the circumstances – which were almost exactly four years apart – is very simple. The attitude of the council. In Hastings it took a long time and a lot of effort to persuade our council but once we did they were an active partner. At the end of 2008 our first HLF bid was rejected – mainly because the council were “luke-warm”. By the middle of 2010 they were on board and we were meeting fortnightly to progress the project. Looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, knowledge of other piers, and maybe… Read more…

Colwyn Bay Pier – next in line and it needs your help

I’ve ended up knowing much more than I ever expected to about piers! I’m still no expert in any particular aspect but I’ve come to know lots of facts, lots of specialisms, and have an understanding ranging from the technical to the historical to the emotional. And I believe that Colwyn Bay’s pier is next in line. Our emerging vision for the new HLF bid is here. If you can help please email colwyn@jerichoroad.co.uk (we’re particularly looking for specialists in emerging healthy living technologies such as wellbeing apps) Victoria Pier is one of just 31 surviving traditional (open-structure, iron-legged) piers. British… Read more…

Developer Stress

My favourite definition of an entrepreneur is someone who sets out to do something without controlling the resources to do it. I’ve been an entrepreneur a long time. Since my dad got me to write a history of Deptford in the early 1990s and I realised I didn’t want to send it off to some publisher for it to come back covered in someone else’s red marks, so instead we set up a publishing company. I knew absolutely nothing about publishing (the file from those times is still on my shelves and it’s called ‘the mysterious world of publishing’). But… Read more…

Ground Control?

White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures – a partnership of White Rock Trust, Meanwhile Space and Jericho Road Solutions – now owns the 9-storey office block at 49-51 Cambridge Road, Hastings, currently known as Rothermere House. The building has been more than half empty for years and the 25-year lease held by Grand Metropolitan expires at the end of September. We plan to convert four floors to residential co-housing, four floors to creative workspace and the top floor and roof terrace into community clubspace (to be managed initially by White Rock Trust and defined over time as ideas emerge). The first Viscount Rothermere was… Read more…

Roller-coaster week

It’s been a roller-coaster week here in Hastings. Since handing over the pier project to Hastings Pier Charity, the White Rock Trust has been focusing on the wider neighbourhood and on the second most challenging building in town – the old Observer Building.   We found out a week ago that the Observer Building was to go to auction this Friday (today!) and we have been trying to negotiate a private purchase in advance of that. Last week we asked the receiver what it would cost to take it out of auction and on Monday we matched that offer, including… Read more…

Turning the Tide

Turning the Tide? Deptford regeneration event 25 April 2014, Deptford Town Hall, New Cross Road (#ttt21) To mark 21 years since ‘Turning the Tide‘ was published and to explore the history, experience and impact of ‘regeneration’ in Deptford (and further afield) in that period. Possibly part of the process of producing an Update to Turning the Tide. This event is being organised by the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR) at Goldsmiths College as part of its twentieth anniversary celebrations. Programme: 3.30 – 5.30 Seminar: The changing face of “regeneration” in LondonShort initial interventions by: Alison Rooke, Michael Keith, Heidi Seetzen, Rob Imrie, Luna Glucksberg5.30 – 6.00 Screenings and sound intervention: Creative Responses to Urban… Read more…

21 years of regeneration – revisited

It’s 21 years since I published Turning the Tide: The History of Everyday Deptford. At that point ‘the present’ was full of regeneration programmes. What was their impact? What did we learn? What should be done differently in future? On April 25th 2014, the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths is hosting a free event to explore the stories of Deptford’s “regeneration”. We will be looking back over the two decades since the publication of Turning The Tide which coincided with the start of CUCR’s evaluation of the Deptford City Challenge programme. Our aim is to discuss the recent changes in Deptford,… Read more…

Deptford Dockyard clocktower

The 18th century Deptford Dockyard clock on its way down river to its new home in Thamesmead, 1986. It was given to Thamesmead by the GLC as they faced abolition “as something to remember the GLC by” Source: Spinning Plates

Sitting in a ditch watching stars

After a good start with weekly blogs I seem to have fallen into Abeyance. It feels like a ditch I want to climb out of. It’s been a stunning couple of months – which is probably why I feel like a cartoon character seeing spinning stars. So I’ll just begin and hope there’s something of interest for everyone in this meze of odd experiences and learning. It started with a 24-hour residential to help redesign the Community Organisers training programme. As we approach the final year of the programme, our task is to consolidate everything we have learned to create… Read more…