We’ve been searching for Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood – an urban area that is well designed for going about everyday life on foot. Following a public vote, Hastings Old Town scooped the award.
The old town was one of ten areas to make the shortlist for Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood Award. Over the last two weeks more than 12,000 of you voted for your favourite. Hastings Old Town was the clear winner, taking 21% of the vote.
The streets of Hastings Old Town really were made for walking and several factors contribute to its win. Developed before the advent of the car, it’s well designed for making short journeys on foot. The quaint streets are crisscrossed by narrow “twittens”, passages developed in Victorian times that today form charming pedestrian routes between the main streets.
But new measures have also been implemented in efforts to prioritise pedestrians, including vehicle restrictions on some streets during certain times, installing and improving paving and widening footways, making the town even easier to navigate on foot.
The awards sparked real pride from residents, with many sharing their love for walking in the town. Old town resident Dean Parker said: “I’ve walked in Snowdonia, the lakes, the Scottish Highlands and almost everywhere in between, hankering for these places daily. Yet since living in the Old Town I have no desire to leave. It doesn’t have the drama of the mountains, or the beauty of the northern countryside, but with the sea, the sharp steep steps up into the country park and the wonderful views I have all I need to fulfil my days.”
We launched the award to celebrate areas that put pedestrians first and hope the awards will encourage more local authorities to think about how they could make small changes in design to improve walkability, to help improve the health and wellbeing of residents.
If you think your neighbourhood is well-designed for walking, nominations are now open for the 2019 award. Download a nomination form here.