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Hastings - shall we move there?

(100 Posts)
migratingsouth Wed 04-Jan-12 23:44:06

DP has been offered a job in Hastings (we live in London and want to move out).

Does anyone know anything about the place?

We've visited and I loved the Old Town, the coffee shops in the centre of town and being by the sea. I'd love us to be near to DP's work as they work strange / unsocial hours in his industry, and it would be really nice if he could easily pop home during the day. Also I'm very keen on the fact we could actually afford a house there.

However I'm aware that Hastings / St Leonards has a bad reputation for having social problems (as has the bit of London we're moving from, mind you!)

We two pre-school DCs.

If it was just for me, I could happily live in a place labelled "socially deprived" - I have done all my life. However is this fair on our DCs? We're leaving London precisely because we feel it's not fair to bring the DCs up in our bit of it (and can't afford the "nice" bits). Would a move to Hastings be out of the frying pan, into the fire?

Can anyone tell me, what are Hastings / St Leonards like really?

heylottie Thu 05-Jan-12 12:11:54

Hello there
I am Hastings born and bred but - disclaimer! - I don't live there anymore, I live in Devon.

I bloody love Hastings. I grew up in the Old Town (before it got all coffee shops and antique-y) and only have great memories of it. Went to an excellant primary school (still there, and still excellant) and then to secondary school in Bexhill (still there, top rated). Can't talk for the standard of other schools at the moment, am sure it is a mixed bag as it is everywhere.

If you are moving from London I would imagine you could afford somewhere in the 'nicer' parts like the Old town. Hastings and St leonards are wierd because the nice areas co-exist in close proximity to the areas of social deprivation. (For example, my mum lives in St Leonards now in a beautiful Georgian crescent, near funky, independant shops, but also a couple of roads away from what we used to call 'Drug Row'.) So I guess this makes the area much like London in that respect?

I know that there has been an influx of Londoners moving into Hastings in the last few years and this has really made the town much 'funkier' and up to date. So you won't be alone!

The talk has been of super speeding the rail link between London and Hastings for as long as I can remember but i dont think it will ever happen. Nor will the bloody A21 ball ache ever improve. So I don't think Hastings will become the new Brighton in that commuter-y way,a nd therefore I dont think it will ever fully eradicate its (sometimes deserved) reputation for being a bit 'troubled'.

But on the up-sode if you need a London fix it is only 90 minutes on the train.

I say go for it. Me and DP talk all the time of a return to Hastings in the future. Hastings has more going for it than going against it. And nothing beats picnics on the beach after school.

let me know if you need any more info!

LaTristesse Thu 05-Jan-12 13:32:24

I left Hastings a couple of years ago to be nearer DH's work in London. I'd been there 5 years and it changed loads (for the better!) in that time. I miss it no end.

There are iffy parts as there are everywhere - get some advice before you go and look as to where to avoid. And the social problems are definitely improving due to investment, more local pride in the area and the influx of Londoners / Brightonians I think.

I always found it to be a creative and bohemian place. The sea is fab, and even in the winter its blustery bleakness is quite inspiring!

I would agree that access (road and rail) is a bit naff, but imo the benefits far outweigh those. I wish I could return - I'm hating the city!

Ingles2 Thu 05-Jan-12 13:41:21

Well.... there are massive social deprivation problems in Hastings, it is also very economically depressed, especially in the winter months,.. but as in all large towns, there are some lovely areas, some good schools and of course,the sea.
You could of course, move to a village within commuting distance of Hastings, there are some beautiful villages and small towns surrounding it, like Battle. Also you might want to consider schooling in the future, Kent is 11+, East Sussex is not. We live near Tenterden, lovely small town, with grammar catchment and a good comp, that is about 30 mins drive from Hastings.

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 14:31:52

Thanks for the replies everyone, I really appreciate it smile

It's sounding great! The more I look at it the more I think it could be the place for us.

"I always found it to be a creative and bohemian place." that's a big part of the attraction tbh. We also looked at Eastbourne and actually the schools look great there, but although very pretty it felt a bit too middle-of-the-road (sorry to any Eastbourners reading this!)

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 14:39:35

heylotte your post is very reassuring, you're the first person who actually grew up in Hastings I've spoken to who liked it.

I've met a couple of others who said they hated growing up there, and said "don't do it!"

But this sounds lovely! "nothing beats picnics on the beach after school" smile

Unfortunately we can't afford the nicer bits (hopefully in a few years) - well not for a 3 bed house / flat anyway, which is what we want ideally.

Which bits do you think we should avoid?

Where's "drug row"? I live in a street in London which until recently was the "frontline" (i.e. where the crack dealers and their punters hung out).
You might not notice at first though as on the surface it's all nice victorian houses. I'll be gutted if we move into exactly the same type of road in our new town!

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 14:41:09

Ingles I agree the villages look absolutely gorgeous - unfortunately we can't afford them though (yet!)

Which schools do you think are the good ones?

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 14:46:32


Just found this on a forum about Hastings and St Leonards

"I agree, Hastings and St.Leonards have a lot to offer with some great left-field energy and off centre creativity ... Having worked with the drug addicts at Southwater Advice Centre and Addaction for several years I can also say that Hastings has some of the nicest drug addicts in the country. They have often offered to steal things to order for me from Debenhams for a very small fee. They have excellent personal hygiene and lots of interesting stories to tell."


heylottie Thu 05-Jan-12 16:24:04

Kenilworth Road was Drug Row - it might not be the same now of course!
Areas I would recommend (although I am slightly out of the loop) are Old Town, West Hill, Alexandra Park, up towards Ore without getting to Ore itself. I would steer clear of roads towards Bohemia, anything too close to Warrior Square station and anything in the town centre.

but as I say, these are more historical recommendations than absolutely current!

good luck with it!!

VerityClinch Thu 05-Jan-12 16:38:13

Ooooh, as Ingles2 says, move to Tenterden. We are moving there from London in three weeks time and I need to make new friends!!! [needy]

noddyholder Thu 05-Jan-12 16:39:42

It isn't that nice tbh. A bit rough and lots of social problems etc. There are lovely bits with nice houses so if you can afford the old town then maybe.

Ingles2 Thu 05-Jan-12 17:10:08

Are you sure you can't afford a village south? Give me your budget and I'll look...
Hi Verity... Where in Tenterden you moving too? I can always be bribed to be friends with coffee found in Cafe Nero or Costa. grin

FortiesCromarty Thu 05-Jan-12 17:11:37

I love living in Hastings having been born here and lived in lots of other places too. Nice areas are Old town if you can get somewhere with parking, Clive Vale which goes from the Old Town up towards Ore (this is probably your best bet), Blacklands is OK and Alexandria Park as well. There are quite a lot of funky London types people on the West Hill overlooking the Old Town, but also a lot of troublesome ones too, if you get a gorgeous view the trouble may be worth it. You'd need to check out your neighbours before you bought there.
Bexhill is quite nice too and the outlying villages.
Do think about the schools before you move as they are pretty dreadful at the moment unless you are Catholic.
It can be rough, but also having lived in London, I know I prefer Hastings roughness grin

silverfrog Thu 05-Jan-12 17:21:31

I wouldn't.

I grew up there, and yes, it can be an interesting town. a bit arty, a bit bohemian. but bloody depressing and loads of deprivation. I am aware it has had a lot of improvement recently, but I lived nearby until about 3 years ago, and would not live there with young children if I had an alternative.

disclaimer: I did live in one of the worst bits for some of my time there, so that may have coloured my judgement. but I have also lived in the 'nice' bits, and tbh, I wouldn't choose those either. one of the last jobs I had there involved working with teenagers, and the number of times I ended up dealing with random nutters harassing them in the evenings, and the amount of time I spent up at the police station/hospital after they had been randomly assaulted (I was only 21 myself, and quite a petite person - not really ideal for having to get involved in the shit I was dealing with) was unbelievable.

the rail links are shocking, and the roads are worse.

Tenterden is a good suggestion, if you have to be nearby-ish.

LaTristesse Thu 05-Jan-12 17:23:09

I'd also avoid Hollington. Like the plague...

VerityClinch Thu 05-Jan-12 17:24:58

Ingles - right on the High Street, by the war memorial. (sorry for the hijack) I'd love a coffee. And a cake. wink

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 18:58:57

Can't afford Tenterden!

Our budget is small - looking at places on the market for around £150,000 asking price.

We'll probably be ready to buy this summer (if we go for it we'll rent for a bit while we look for somewhere).

So, if we were lucky and they'd take an offer, maybe somewhere like these ...

Battle Rd near Silverdale school

Silverlands Road also near Silverdale

Grovesnor Crescent wonder if we'd get into West St Leonards from there?

St James Rd Near Elphinstone and Blacklands

(I'm just learning where the schools are and reading their Ofsteds etc. Haven't worked out if we like any of them yet!)

silverfrog Thu 05-Jan-12 19:04:07

Battle Road is the edge of the Hollington estate. I really wouldn't (from experience)

St JAmes Road not great either, although close to the park and town, i suppose.

Ingles2 Thu 05-Jan-12 19:25:22

Ok what about Westfield?
Just outside Hastings...
Decent primary
Can you go up any more price wise? 150-200 would get you a house House £169k

Ingles2 Thu 05-Jan-12 19:26:12

PM me Verity I do anything for cake.. grin

bananafanana Thu 05-Jan-12 19:33:17

Crikey, we went to East Sussex late last year and visited Hastings. Both thought it was a total dump.

Areas inland are lovely though. Might be worth looking further afield?

brandysoakedbitch Thu 05-Jan-12 19:37:32

We had a look around Hastings a while ago and to be honest I found the deprivation bit of it all too much and we decided against it - also the schooling is terrible (we are Catholics so had good options open to us but otherwise it was dire) - The houses look amazing I agree but when you see them in context it is all a bit depressing. That said I live in a nice area now so it was all a bit of a shock!

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 22:03:30

We absolutely can't go up any more price-wise unfortunately.

We can't get a mortgage right now as DP has just changed finished retraining after a career change, and is currently working freelance, and I'll be a SAHM, until our DCs are a little older.

We reckon we have about £145K equity in the London flat (and may be able to scrape a little more, but not much) so this would be a cash buy. We've had it valued, and our upstairs neighbour just sold his flat just before Christmas, after being on the market for only a few weeks so we're pretty confident on the figure.

The next time DP and I have both been in permanent employment long enough for the mortgage companies think we're a good bet, then absolutely I'd love to get somewhere in the surrounding countryside, but it's just way beyond us at the moment.

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 22:06:00

VerityClinch and Ingles2 coffee and cake? You're talking my language grin

If we do end up in Hastings could I join you sometime?

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 22:17:16

Can't afford Westfield!

I should say also that I can't drive, and so as I'm going to be at home with two little ones for a while, I need to be somewhere which is within fairly reasonable walking distance of at least one shop, and also places I can go to with DCs. So being by the sea or a park really appeals for example.

Robsack school looks absolutely lovely on paper at least, and is Ofsted outstanding. However all the housing around it is acres and acres of new build with no shops or amenities. Like this
I spent 20 minutes really trying to convince myself to like it because of the school, but I just can't!
It's an area for people with cars, not me, I'd feel trapped.

If I'm going to move to the coast I might as well be fairly near the sea I reckon!

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