The mission of Hastings Commons is to create spaces and environments in which people can enhance their lives, shape their neighbourhood and look out for each other. We create and manage high-quality, long-term affordable homes and workspace, alongside a wide range of social and leisure spaces.
In addition to our own programmes focusing on young people, heritage and creative technology, and the development of hospitality, food & beverage and events, we have a wide range of spaces available to hire for meetings, workshops and events.
As well as providing space for all kinds of community activity, income from hires helps to subsidise other Commons facilities like the public living room (Tues-Sat 12-4pm) as a completely free, welcoming space for anyone and everyone.
We believe that people should have space to be together, to talk and share and collaborate and relax and support each other and also to argue, to disagree respectfully, for people to feel safe in saying what they think, knowing they may well be challenged if others take a different perspective. Our job is to make those spaces, and the role of the commoners (those who look after and benefit from the spaces) is to decide on the ‘rules’. This includes making decisions about who can and can’t hire Hastings Commons spaces.
Consultation with members, trustees, team and tenants has shown a wide range of opinions, with most people recognising that this is a difficult issue. Overall commoners and members want the Commons to strike a balance between free speech and duty of care, and where possible aim to bridge social divisions in order to serve the whole community.
Through this policy Hastings Commons supports appropriate use of its venues where spaces are utilised safely and legally, community benefits are delivered, and equal opportunities and community cohesion are promoted. The core principles of the Policy provide a clear and systematic approach to the management of events, and describe in more detail the Commons’ position on event bookings, and the grounds by which an event application will be successful.
Hastings Commons welcomes events that support our priorities and outcomes, including events that support community prosperity and good community relations and comply with the law and regulations.
While not an exhaustive list, the Commons will encourage events which:
- Can demonstrate they support the Commons’ vision and goals
- Enrich the cultural diversity, vibrancy and economic vitality of the borough
- Promote equal opportunities, are accessible and do not unlawfully discriminate against any individual or group
- Have due regard to the correct and current legal requirements
- Minimise disruption to residents, businesses and transport networks
- Reduce hate and intolerance
- Protect and enhance the environment or infrastructure
- Promote a positive image of Hastings
- Deliver community benefits and enhance wellbeing
- Have a positive impact on the local economy in general and, where appropriate, support Hastings Commons income generation targets.Events not permitted
Whilst Hastings Commons will support events where possible, it reserves the right in its absolute discretion not to hire its venues:
To event organisers, guests or speakers:
- that are banned by law (proscribed by the Home Office)
- that promote extremist views, hatred or intolerance or advocate acts of terrorism
- whose presence may cause civil unrest or divisions within the community or not be conducive to good community relations
- with content that would be prejudicial to Hastings Commons interests, rights or policy
- for purposes which are illegal and not permitted in law or by byelaw
- that will breach or put Hastings Commons in breach of its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policy
- which, in our opinion, may promote controversial issues that may cause civil unrest or be offensive to the public
- which, in our opinion, could be obscene, sexist, homophobic, racist, or offensive in any way or which may damage community cohesion
- which promote acts or activities that are in contravention of Hastings Commons’ currently adopted definitions of antisemitism and Islamophobia (see DEI Policy appendices)
- which may adversely affect the reputation of Hastings Commons
- which breach the Commons Health and Safety policy
- which are likely to be refused by one of the emergency services.
Furthermore, Hastings Commons reserves the right to refuse to grant, or to cancel, permission with immediate effect:
- if any or all parts of the event are considered by Hastings Commons, in its reasonable opinion, to be dangerous, offensive, noxious, illegal or may become a nuisance to Hastings Commons or any other occupiers in the surrounding area to where the event is held
- if the organisers are found to have falsely represented the event at the time of booking but are subsequently found to breach the principles set out here
- if Hastings Commons is not satisfied that the safety of the buildings and the public can be ensured.
No individuals or groups will be denied the opportunity for access to Hastings Commons managed properties unless there is a justifiable reason to do so within the spirit of this policy.
Decision making process
We have limited resources to scrutinise potential hirers’ full credentials and social media histories, and those resources should be focused on the core mission.
Where an application for venue hire contravenes the principles of this Policy it will be escalated to the General Manager in the first instance. If he requires further input he will bring them to the Senior Leadership Team which meets weekly. If necessary Hastings Commons board members, either individually or as a group, will be involved in the decision. Feedback will be included when the decision is conveyed to the applicant.
The effectiveness of this policy will be formally reviewed after a year of operation.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policy
The mission of Hastings Commons is to create spaces and environments in which people can enhance their lives, shape their neighbourhood and look out for each other. We create and manage high-quality, long-term affordable homes and workspace, alongside a wide range of social and leisure spaces. We curate three interconnected programmes – heritage, young people, creative technology.