|Speaking at the opening of the new Stade cafe|
And the consultation needs to be wide. There were about 50 of us at the seminar, all interested and motivated people, several with real knowledge and expertise. But there were no young people there; not enough mainstream businesses or retailers and the community representation only came from certain parts of town – no-one from the Old Town or from the town centre.
But Hastings 2066 is just the sort of idea that really could inspire people especially younger people. So that’s the challenge for us.
Here are some the points I made about Hastings 2066
• Most of homes that will exist then are already here. We need a massive environmental retrofit. And not just for the 47% of private housing that is pre-1919 (the national figure is 25%) we need to transform those 1950s – 1970s social housing too.
• We need to ensure that newbuild meets the zero-carbon homes target and includes environmentally friendly microgeneration of electricity
• We have an ageing population now – we need mixed tenure/mixed size housing areas where different ages can live side by side and help with each others’ needs. Lifetime homes can allow us to stay put if we chose as our mobility and needs change (every door in every new home could be wide enough for a wheelchair from the start)
• Today’s target is 200 new homes per year within the town up to 2028 but it may slow down thereafter. Will the surrounding area have to take up the slack?
• To meet these needs for new homes and new employment space between now and 2066 we will have to face the challenge of conserving everything or conserving the best. We are already talking of a world heritage site bid for Hastings Old Town
• Of course we will protect our Country Park, really develop the Pebsham Countryside Park and protect important urban green space. But are we prepared to accept the visual impact of major local power generation – wind turbines, solar farms or tidal power
• Well before 2066 Hastings must become a zero waste community – recycling food waste, wood, glass etc
• Transport to and within the borough has to be transformed – of course better opportunities for walking and cycling but what about electric vehicles, light rail or tracked hovercraft and what about reducing the need to travel
• How will we adapt to the threat of rising sea levels – a restored Pier, the Stade development, the opportunities at West Marina and many of our own homes mean we have to hold the line but that comes at a cost
• Won’t we increasingly be enjoying E-living between now and 2066? Tele-care can transform people’s ability to stay in their own homes as their care needs change; live/work homes change lifestyles for some, internet shopping, E-learning, E-democracy, virtual meetings are all on the agenda now