Hailsham is a civil parish and the administrative centre of the Wealden district of East Sussex, England. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book and has a history of industry and agriculture and is the market town for the prosperous surrounding agricultural district. Hailsham was granted a charter to hold a market in 1252 by King Henry III.
Hailsham's traditional industry was rope making. Light industry is concentrated in two large industrial estates to the west of the town, located in Diplocks Way and Station Road, and several smaller ones including those situated in Hackhurst Lane (Lower Dicker) and north of Old Swan Lane, all of which provide a source of employment for local residents.
Hailsham has a variety of local and national shops, restaurants and several supermarkets. The main shopping area has developed along the High Street and George Street. A parade of units at St Mary's Walk made a contribution to retail facilities in Hailsham.
The Quintins development, near the Vicarage Field precinct, was opened in the late 1980s, creating a focus for shopping in Hailsham. At the heart of the centre is an ASDA supermarket. There is a Waitrose supermarket nearby in Vicarage Field and in North Street there is a Tesco supermarket.
Hailsham competes with nearby towns such as Eastbourne for both convenience goods (day to day) shopping and higher order durable goods shopping. A retail study commissioned by Wealden District Council for the non-statutory local plan indicated that Hailsham town centre could support around 1,600 square metres net of additional convenience goods floor-space by 2014. The study also indicated that there was scope in expenditure terms for 2,100 square metres net durable goods floor space in the town centre. Within the main shopping area in Hailsham, as indicated in the Hailsham & Hellingly Master-plan, the Council aims to improve the quality of shopping facilities.
Following a government-commissioned report compiled by television's ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas, Hailsham Town Council and the local Chamber of Commerce took the decision in September 2012 to form a Town Team (Hailsham Forward), which was set up to take a closer look at ways to revitalise the town's High Street and surrounding urban environment, increase footfall and spend within the town.
Hailsham Forward's key actions for the next five years include a pedestrian-friendly High Street, parking time restrictions, the creation of loading bays in the town centre, traffic wardens, a review of business rates and shop rents, improvements to shop frontages and signage, and the attraction and retention of a broader diversity of retail outlets (independent national/chain) to fill empty retail units in the town centre.
One of the Hailsham Town Team's main initiatives since it was established in 2013 was the establishment of a regular town centre market. The market, which is based in Vicarage Field, is open between 8.30am and 1.30pm every Saturday.
Established in 1998, Hailsham Farmers' Market operates on the second Saturday of each month in the Cattle Market, Market Street, from 9.00am to 12.30pm
Hailsham has a population of over 22,530 people.