🏴 Hastings is a seaside town and borough in East Sussex on the south coast of England, It is a popular seaside resort, and a fishing port with the UK's largest beach-based fishing fleet. It forms the hub of a much larger conurbation with surrounding towns of Battle, Bexhill, Rye, and St. Leonards-on-Sea, Besides fishing and tourism, the local economy also includes engineering, catering, motoring and construction, health, public services, retail and education. 15% of the firms (in 2005) employed more than 10 people.
There are several business growth opportunities for the region. With the greater numbers of people expected to be able to work from home, and to commute on a part-time basis, it is expected that this will mean it will be more attractive to commuters. This will lead to a rise in the available workforce. It is also there will be greater demand for flexible office, meeting and co-working spaces.
Economy Until the development of tourism, fishing was Hastings' major industry. The fishing fleet, based at the Stade, remains Europe's largest beach-launched fishing fleet and has recently won accreditation for its sustainable methods. The fleet has been based on the same beach, below the cliffs at Hastings, for at least 400, possibly 600, years. Its longevity is attributed to the prolific fishing ground of Rye Bay nearby. Hastings fishing vessels are registered at Rye, and thus bear the letters "RX" (Rye, SusseX).
There are now various industrial estates that lie around the town, mostly on the outskirts, which include engineering, catering, motoring and construction; however, most of the jobs within the Borough are concentrated on health, public services, retail and education. 85% of the firms (in 2005) employed fewer than 10 people; as a consequence the unemployment rate was 3.3% (cf. East Sussex 1.7%). However, qualification levels are similar to the national average: 8.2% of the working-age population have no qualifications while 28% hold degree-level qualifications or higher, compared with 11% and 31% respectively across England.
Shopping and retail Hastings main shopping centre is Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, which was built on the site of the old Central Recreation Ground which played host to some Sussex CCC first-class fixtures, and cricketing royalty such as Dr. W. G. Grace and Sir Don Bradman. The centre houses 56 stores and covers around 420,000 ft². Further retail areas in the town centre include Queens Road, Wellington Place and Robertson Street.
There are plans to expand the retail area in Hastings, which includes expanding Priory Meadow and creating more retail space as part of the Priory Quarter development. Priory was intended to have a second floor added to part of the retail area, which has not happened yet and so far only office space has been created as part of the Priory Quarter.
Regeneration In 2002 the Hastings and Bexhill task force, set up by the South East England Development Agency, was founded to regenerate the local economy, a 10-year programme being set up to tackle the local reliance on public sector employment. The regeneration scheme saw the construction of the University Centre Hastings, (now known as the University of Brighton in Hastings) the new Sussex Coast College campus and construction of the Priory Quarter, which still remains unfinished but now houses Saga offices, bringing 800 new jobs to the area.
Hastings has a population of over 92,855 people. Hastings also forms the centre of the wider Hastings urban which has a population of over 164,000 people. It is estimated there are around 3,425 businesses in Hastings