Society supports work on local list

IN response to Bob Hart’s letter last week I can tell him that the Old Hastings Preservation Society are fully supportive of Save Our Heritage’s (SoH) initiative to work on a local list.

The council’s planning department has produced a record form, criteria for the group to work with and teams of volunteers are keen to explore their areas.

There is a huge amount of work involved in creating this list which needs to have maximum community input and support, as well as satisfying the council’s objectives. The ‘researcher’ mentioned by Aubrey will, I hope, have a wider heritage remit. Heritage is as important to our town’s cultural identity as the arts. Promoting the heritage of Hastings and St Leonards and supporting Heritage Open Days, September 12 to 15 this year, could be part of their role.

SoH aims to find out which buildings, features and streetscapes are valued by the people who pass them everyday. These then will need architectural assessment, research into previous occupants and any historical associations and finally submitting to the council for acceptance on the local list. We are fortunate to have so many wonderful buildings in our town but it is a huge task to compile this list. I hope readers will contribute their suggesting for ‘listing’.

The OHPS has made a good start with work on local icons, the Old Town database, and input into Coastal Treasures all of which will feed into the list as appropriate.

The OHPS was founded in 1952: the work of societies like ours has resulted in raising awareness, so that people now are much more clued up on planning matters. There is a process for anyone to lodge objections to demolitions or unsympathetic development plans.

The OHPS has two aims and I think we do well with the small team of guides offering weekly walks (Tuesdays 2.30pm from the top of the West Hill Lift), volunteers at Hastings History House (open Thursday to Sunday 11am to 4pm), and a small staff at the Fishermen’s Museum (open 364 days a year) to ‘foster an appreciation of the history of the town’. Work on the project exploring History in Hastings Cemetery and our current exhibition at Hastings Museum is further evidence of that.

Contrary to Bob’s expectation we do not ‘have all that information to hand’, some of it yes and it will be willingly contributed to the process of developing a list.

There have been sacrifices to the developers’ wrecking balls and some ugly developments approved by the council; the OHPS has written, and will no doubt continue to write, letters of objection to such proposals. We, like Save Our Heritage, are reliant on our members to share the work involved. I can only suggest Bob Hart gets copies of the forms for local listing and joins in.

ANNE SCOTT

Chairman

Old Hastings Preservation Society

Hastings History House

Courthouse Street