The attractiveness of historic Hastings masks residents’ worries about crime and antisocial behaviour, but also a desire for a town centre revamp, according to an independent survey commissioned by the People United - a coalition of unions including Unite, GMB, PCS, CWU and Unison.
The findings are in a survey of 14 English towns and cities involved in this summer’s People United bus tour, which shows that the people of Hastings would like a Mary Portas-style revamp of the high street and improvements to the seafront, including the restoration of the pier damaged by fire in 2010.
The People United bus, which arrives in Hastings on Monday 24 June, will be offering advice and information on local campaigns between 11.00-17.00 in the town square. On board the bus will be trade union experts and community specialists to offer advice and information on problems in and out-of-work.
People United is also asking people to share their ideas to get the economy growing and help build the ‘People’s manifesto’ to change our country for the better.
The survey found that the history, heritage and local beauty of the south coast seaside town were the dominant themes in what people most liked.
A total of 35 per cent mentioned natural beauty, referring to the seafront and beaches, while 23 per cent mentioned culture (the highest of any city), and 20 per cent local history (the second highest after Portsmouth).
The ‘old town’, the castle and the Battle of Hastings were the main contributors to these ‘feel good’ factors.
However, poor roads were the biggest complaint at 19 per cent - the second highest of all places, with complaints about potholes a particular issue. Sixteen per cent wanted more high street investment. Several people expressed a desire to see the pier restored, as well as general improvements to the seafront.
Crime and anti-social behaviour were mentioned by 15 per cent of people as needing attention, particularly drug and alcohol related anti-social behaviour.
Hastings had a high proportion of people (21 per cent) saying that unemployment or job security were an issue for them or their family - the second highest of all places after Hull.
Unite regional officer Ray Field said: "What is clear is that Hastings scores highly for its history and natural beauty. But this positive view masks concerns over social behaviour, and harbours a desire for a Mary Portas-style makeover of the town centre.
“Like most places in the UK, there is concern about jobs – or the lack of them.
“People United will be in Hastings to hear more about what people have to say about improving their town and their country. We will also be here to offer help and support to local communities. This is a fantastic opportunity to make your voice heard and to make a difference.
“We are asking people to share their ideas to get the economy growing and help build the People’s manifesto to change our country for the better."
For further information, please contact the Unite press office on 0203 371 2065; Ray Field on 07737 244 243 or Unite regional community coordinator Kelly Tomlinson on 07941 342 835
- Survation interviewed 1,451 UK adults by telephone on 3-14 June 2013 in Blackpool, Bristol, Coventry, Leicester, Hartlepool, Hastings, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Stoke-on-Trent. Data were weighted to the profile of all adults aged 18+ in the relevant cities. Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.