We support neighbourhood transformation while protecting diversity and inclusion. We take on challenging projects in difficult but much-loved buildings. We take action - we bring the buildings to life and animate the spaces for the common good. All this needs a constant pipeline of new people interested in taking on space and becoming part of the Commons.
At the moment we manage 11 rent-capped homes, 50+ workspaces and have over 120 tenants. In addition to Rock House and the Observer Building, we’ve transformed the Alley, including Rose Cottage, the Vaults and 10 Claremont, created Living Rents homes at 39 Cambridge Road, a public living room at Eagle House, and are starting work at last to bring 12 Claremont back from dereliction.
Buildings and Spaces Brought to Life by Hastings Commons
Rock House is where it all began! From dereliction, this 9 storey office block has been transformed into 6 living rent flats, 20 commercial units/workspaces and Ground Control which offers dedicated desks for start-ups, small business and local entrepreneurs.
Formerly known as Rothermere house, Rock House was built in 1969 as an extension to the next-door Observer Building. Closed by the Observer in 1985, it was run-down and nearly empty when purchased by Hastings Commons Neighbourhood Ventures in June 2014. The name was changed to Rock House in 2015 and its grand opening was held on the 4th March 2016.
The Observer Building is an enormous and precious building, consisting of 4,000 square metres across seven floors. Since it came into the Commons, vital repairs have been undertaken and the lower floors of the building are now fully refurbished. The building is opening in a phased approach - it currently offers affordable workspace and host desking space, a 500-capacity venue and a creative technology hub called OBX. 1066 Crossfit gym occupy the large Alley Hall and future plans include creating capped rent housing on the upper floors and a public roof garden. Find out more on the OB website.
The building was built in 1924 by the Hastings Observer to be offices and print works for the newspaper ‘the Hastings & St Leonards Observer’. It was used for 61 years before the print market crashed and the building was closed. Most of the 13 previous owners since it closed made money from the building without investing in any significant repairs. One of our proudest days was being handed the keys on the 14th Feb 2019! IF_DO, Measur, Hastings Building Services and 8Build have worked on the major renovations at the OB.
Purchased and refurbished by Jericho Road Solutions in 2019, Rose Cottage includes two artist studios upstairs and a hireable classroom/workshop space with an attached common room, kitchenette and toilet downstairs.
Rose Cottage was once a stable for horses and it appears on a map from 1852, making it the oldest building we own.
We have received funding enabling us to fully renovate the historic 12 Claremont. We hope to be partnering further with Project Art Works to develop the building into a fully-inclusive creative hub.
12 Claremont is a fine heritage building that was gutted in preparation for inclusion as part of the library renovation. Built in 1870, it was the first local home for the Parsons empire in the form of a bookbinding and engraving studio. Later the building had a variety of mixed uses including the town’s first telephone exchange, a venue for meetings and community events, and auction rooms.
The Ground Floor of 10 Claremont is home to Cheese on Sea, an artisan cheese shop that provides a wide variety of British cheese. The basement is home to Tom Stonebridge, BACP registered therapeutic counsellor. 10 Claremont also has a patio courtyard that connects through to Rose Cottage and the Alley Gardens.
Hastings Commons acquired Eagle House on a ‘development lease’ for 2 years, with an option to purchase which was concluded in November 2022 with support from the Towns Fund. The ground floor opened in September 2021 as ‘The Common Room’; a public living room and welcoming space where you can relax and spend time with people from different walks of life - without having to spend any money. We will be renovating the rest of this historic building to offer more community and youth space alongside affordable workspace.
Many different activities are hosted during the week in the Common Room, please see the timetable here.
Despite appearances, Eagle House is a historic building built in 1867 and used as a furniture shop from 1904. The company on the top floor lined coffins! In 1992 Peter Dalton acquired the property and ran a successful family carpet shop business for over 30 years before retiring.
39 Cambridge Road
This five-storey building was previously abandoned office space. In 2017, it was purchased by the Hastings Commons Community Land Trust with renovations completed in 2018. It is made up of four high-quality capped rent flats managed by Living Rents through Hastings Commons Neighbourhood Ventures. One flat has been adapted using a disabled facilities grant from Hastings Borough Council to support a tenant with restricted mobility.
Acquired in 2022, 11 Claremont is home to Cornerstone Health Clinic, a physical therapy clinic run by Graham Stones. The basement is rented by recording studio, Silk Moth Music. Above the commercial units, there are also two Living Rents flats.
Our long term plan is to refurbish the building by modernising the flats, as well as restoring the balcony on the front and giving the building a well-needed lick of paint!
Harpers Caves & Alley Gardens
Five sandstone caves carved into the White Rock cliff face were purchased from John Harper in January 2019, and the cliff has been stabilised with funding from Historic England. We have plans to install electricity and new doors so the caves can be used by local businesses.
The Alley Gardens are built on land owned by Neighbourhood Ventures and offer a little tranquillity at the end of The Alley. They were designed by Gary Baverstock and built by our trustee Darren French alongside Rock House tenants and other volunteers. Julia Hilton designed the 2nd phase which added more planters down the alley.