Hastings to celebrate World Car Free Day by holding community party on seafront road

St Leonards seafront
St Leonards seafront

A stretch of Hastings seafront will be closed to traffic on Sunday (September 22) to mark World Car Free Day.

The road will be turned into a pedestrianised community space with entertainment and activities to help encourage people to imagine the town without the pollution, noise and stress of car traffic, and promote sustainable transport alternatives.

Traffic will be diverted away from the seafront from 10am until 8pm between Warrior Square gardens and Hastings Pier, although access will be maintained for emergency vehicles.

Car Free Day is observed annually around the world to encourage communities to enjoy their environment in new ways. It is the first time Car Free Day will be officially recognised in Hastings and St Leonards and marks the beginning of the week-long Sustainability on Sea festival.

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Organised by Transition Town Hastings in partnership with Hastings Borough Council, the celebrations will include guerrilla gardening, mini park zones, racing modified bikes, music from local performers, craft workshops, dance troupes, retro games, skate skills demonstrations and a community picnic.

Sarah Macbeth of Transition Town Hastings said: “Car Free Day is a way to imagine how different urban environments would be if we were all a bit less reliant on our cars; what the town would look like, smell like and sound like with fewer vehicles on the road, and how differently we could use our spaces. By closing roads to traffic we are creating more clean, safe and healthy areas for play, interaction and creativity. And while we can’t expect people to give up their cars altogether the day acts as a prompt for us all to reconsider non-essential car journeys.

“Our community is already very engaged with environmental issues and Hastings has a great reputation for getting together for various celebrations, so we are thrilled the council has agreed to join prominent cities all around the world in marking Car Free Day, and it’s a fantastic kick-off for the Sustainability on Sea festival.”

Cllr Maya Evans, HBC’s lead councillor for climate change, added: “I am delighted that the council is supporting Car Free Day 2019, for the first time ever. We declared a climate emergency this year, and know how important the environment is. Closing just a small part of our seafront is symbolic, and I do hope it will make people think again about the impact their own cars have on the environment.”