Our historic inspiration
In the early 19th century the ‘America Ground’ in Hastings was not owned, so there was no-one to collect rents and, with the Ground lying outside the town boundary, residents and businesses paid no taxes. This ‘affordable’ space was claimed by the Crown in 1827 and its citizens finally evicted by 1835. This story of land-loss inspires us to find ways to ensure long-term community ownership through the Community Land Trust.
Another local story is the rise and fall of the F J Parsons newspaper empire, beginning in the 1870s in Claremont and by the 1970s employing 800 people and owning most of the buildings clustered around the Alley. All of these closed in the mid-1980s and suffered a long period of dereliction. Parsons is remembered as being ‘like a family’ with great camaraderie and strong social bonds. Hastings Commons is a 21st century approach to develop the same bustling productivity in a caring and collaborative environment.