Our current investments are in –
HASTINGS COMMONS COMMUNITY LAND TRUST
Jess was a founder trustee of the Community Land Trust (CLT) which began in 2016 as Heart of Hastings CLT. JRS provided fundraising, administration, project development and recruitment support until handing over to a core staff team. Hastings Commons CLT currently owns one-third of the social enterprise property development company Hastings Commons Neighbourhood Ventures, which owns Rock House and The Observer Building.
The CLT started with the development of projects tackling dereliction and decline in the Ore Valley and in White Rock. It aims to provide an alternative to the false choice of gentrification or decline in Hastings, as rents increase and wages stagnate, and continues to focus on the White Rock neighbourhood. The CLT offers community owned, secure homes at affordable rates called ‘Living Rents’ set at 1/3 of local average wage, as well as affordable work-spaces that create opportunities for connection, sharing and collaboration.
The CLT began as tenants at Rock House, which provided a learning lab for many elements of their work: renovation of difficult buildings, mixed uses, capped residential and commercial rents, selection and induction process of tenants, and community-building among tenants. The evidence from Rock House is that there is need and demand for both residential and commercial space with fair, stable rents and an explicit facilitation to build a sense of community.
Jericho Road invested the critical early ‘mezzanine’ finance to secure the building, remain one third co-owner of the Rock House and have been intimately involved in all of its development phases.
Alternative thinking and lifestyle require affordable housing and work space, so instead of accepting the inevitability of gentrification (or at least the downsides) Rock House has provided local people with the platform to club together and take ownership of regeneration themselves.
Rock House is a social enterprise redevelopment of a 9-storey 1969 office block from near empty into a mixed-use, creative, collaborative, space for living, working and community action. Two elements rest at the core of its aims:
- Secure community ownership of the building and cap the rents in perpetuity to lock in affordability forever.
- Establish new kinds of social environments in which it is ‘normal’ to know your neighbours and to contribute to the social, physical and cultural management and upkeep of your neighbourhood. The building is ‘community self-managed’ by its tenants who are selected based on their need, local connection, enthusiasm and contribution. They participate, socialise and collaborate together to shape their space.
THE OBSERVER BUILDING
The Observer Building (OB) is the latest, most ambitious project in the hyperlocal ecosystem of community businesses developing in the White Rock neighbourhood in Hastings. Our vision – rescue and renovate a vast disused building into a mixed use, capped rent community hub offering opportunities for diverse local people.
The Observer Building offers a new scale of impact for what was achieved through our flagship project, Rock House.
At 4,000 sq.m, the OB is a huge building with unique spaces. It has dragged down the immediate neighbourhood through almost 4 decades of dereliction but has the potential to catalyse significant positive change for local people on multiple levels.
Read more about our plans here.
Rose Cottage is a Victorian stable block down the Alley behind Claremont which Jericho Road bought earlier this year. It is currently under development into three artists studios and a common room. The finished space will be a crucial part of bringing life and activity to the underused Alley. The building will run on the same principles as the Observer Building and Rock House – capped rents, community ownership and community self management by tenants.
DEVELOPING THE HASTINGS COMMONS
Jericho Road is currently working alongside multiple partners (Heart of Hastings, Project Artworks, White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures, the Alley Association) to develop the Hastings Commons – an ecosystem of buildings and spaces, organisations and people held together with shared values. We think that together we can create a genuine urban commons in a way that will inspire others throughout the country
We received a highly commended award from The William Sutton Prize for Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design in 2019 for this work, which we will continue to develop into 2020. Stay tuned.