5 towns in the South East worse than Hastings
Written by Anonymous Visitor and posted in East Sussex, Kent, London, South East

It’s easy to see why Hastings is held in such low regard by both residents and non-residents alike. All the indicators are there in the statistics to show how poor this end-of-the-line run down seaside town is, compared to the rest of the South East. It has 27.2% of its residents in private rented accommodation compared the the average in England of 15.4%. It has the lowest average weekly take home pay in the South East.

Despite the obvious, there are other factors that make a town and that’s the people who live there. For such an impoverished area, Hastings has a vibrant culture. However, this is often dismissed by a lot of residents and those who’ve ‘made it out of the ghetto’ as they have often become blinkered to the reality of most of the towns in the South East (by choice or ignorance) and become fixated on Brighton and London as some promised land. The grass is always greener until your rent triples or quadruples and your salary doesn’t.

For me what makes a good town, is a fine balance between money and culture. To put it bluntly, if artists cannot afford to live in the town because the rich have driven them out, then it’s finished. Hastings needs more money and inward investment, not just investment class landlords and corporations sucking every last penny out of the place. However, artists can afford to live here and that’s why you have articles describing Hastings as Dalston-on-sea and the Shoreditch of Sussex. Brighton is cutting a fine balance but money seems to be winning out, so look for the certain cultural exodus that will follow in the next 5 years. London, I mean real London (Zones 1 & 2), has been conquered by money for two decades. What passes for culture these days are merchant bankers, oligarchs and sheiks plus their model trophy wives, picking at £250 main courses in restaurants where most people could not afford the bottled water. A sterile, culturally cleansed playground for the mega-rich, where artists day trip in from 60 miles away.

So what are the five towns in the South East that are worse than Hastings? Well life does exist outside the golden triangle of H-town, Brighton and London but some of it, you should not bother visiting or living in;

5. Bexhill-on-sea

It maybe the birth place of motor racing, but it seems everyone under the age of 65 has used their motor vehicle to leave the place. Eastbourne just along the coast, has been described as ‘God’s waiting room’, well Bexhill is the place for those who can’t afford a seat in the grim reaper’s departure lounge and are loitering outside.

4. Royal Tunbridge Wells

A town entirely consisting of Reginald Perrins and retired Reginald Perrins in what is a London commuter dormitory. The rents are some of the highest outside London and Brighton for what is a decidedly mediocre if not moneyed town. If there is any culture, it gets turned off at 10pm before some meddlesome ratbag complains to the local environmental health department.

3. Sheerness

Like Hastings, Sheerness-on-sea is piss poor. Where the residents of Hastings make the town, the residents of Sheerness break it. A town so culturally moribund, there is no place like it in the south east. Neglected by Swale Borough Council like a ginger haired step child, Sheerness is the Clacton of Kent. The now defunct website ‘Sheppey Scum’ used to have a page for culture, that just said ‘No’.

2. Cranbrook

Your typical high weald market town with money and what I can only describe as ‘nice’. The kind of place where the investment class slum landlords of Hastings live and send their kids to public schools like Benenden. All the aspiring AB1’s in Hastings and Rother, who would vote in a pig if it had a blue rosette on it, want to live there in semi-rural tranquillised mediocrity because the local comprehensive (their single buy-to-let hole in Hastings, doesn’t bring in enough to send their spawn to private school) has great ofsted stats.

1. Gravesend

Ah the festering cat turd in the Garden of England. Those who would swap 1066 country for Gravesham, have truly lost the plot. Other North Kent holes worse than Hastings are available, with a honorary mentions for Chatham, Gillingham, Strood and Sittingbourne. Yes kids, Hastings is bad, but it isn’t Medway.

OK, now you’ve seen the list and disagreed, give me your bile!

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    The worst thing about hastings is not the chavs or junkies , it;s the falsehood of people ,,,, the fairweather friends central that it really is,,,,It is a fairweather town par excellence, ,,, all is good whilst the wine flows, the drugs circulate or if you have ‘contacts’ in London… BUt all is bad when you are down. It is a deluded pae like no other. It really tries to present itself as an art hub of the highest order, but most art here is pretty bad, the Coastal Currents art festival is shockingly bad,,, with exceptions, of course,,, there has to be exceptions. Maybe one or two,…Oh, and and its so called music scene… well it’s no music scene,,,, just a bunch of small-town, chancer provincials who can play pretty fast on the fret and want to be rock stars but lack the charisma , originality , worldliness or ability to pen a hit so they end up doing the open mics, playing covers or, Ok their own gigs, with their not so original ‘originals’. Again, there are a few exceptions like Lianne Carroll, ,,,,The recent influx of DFL’s gives the local papers reason to praise the town and claim it is the art scene that attracts these trendies,,,’our greatly talented town’ begins the weeklies, every week., but it isn’t mate … it’s your cheap rent, And why is it cheap? Because it’s full of crazy people. Some good things have happened lately,,, some interesting things like the art cinema in st leo… but by and large it still is a small town where you will see all these same faces at every turn, all these flakey people – because there is nowhere else to go, It;s pretty simple , where there is poverty there is ignorance ,,, and where there is ignorance there are problems, add to that ego, drink and drugs and, i think i best stay in. having said that, it is not just Hastings-bred folk who are wrong. Some are good,,, It’s also DFL’s and people from up north , or from everywhere,,, it is not where you are from , but rather how your upbringing was – if you had one. Small-town mentality is not exclusive of big city people. Hastings has Beautiful architecture,,, it is a pretty town… But many leave, If you are someone who will want to integrate, be ready for falsehood and cliques. It’s a town full of cliques, Cliques are the epitomy of falsehood … because they are based on nothing genuine, they are based on bullshit, The recent influx of trendies will fit right in,,,, but if you are someone who doesnt suffer fools gladly , and will want to integrate i’d think thrice. Dalston by The sea? haha …The good thing is you’ll develop the ability to always watch your step, because there is dog s**t everywhere.

    Not really. Not really at all. That’s just spin.

  • clinton

    I was born and grew up in Hastings, and as with many seaside resorts, it had been left to rot at the end of the charing x line…..until the last few years which have seen the most incredible resurgence in Hastings as a town and a melting pot for the arts.
    It now boasts some of the most interesting shops you will find anywhere ouside of the very trendiest parts of London, and with the recent opening of the world’s biggest subterranean skate park, the soon to be re-opened rebuilt pier, the influx of new professional inhabitants, and the return of original Hastonians, the town now has an edge and appeal that most towns just cannot match.
    Yeah, the main shopping town still has it’s share of Chavs…..a la Brighton, but the Old Town, Alexandra Park and Norman Road areas more than compensate for this.
    So, say what you want, but most of the anti Hastings sentiment is made either by people who last visited when the town centre was still populated by Punks, or by those whose heads are so far up their own arses that they have gone s**t blind.
    It’s one of the coolest postcodes in the UK today, and it’s only going to get better.

  • BeerKeg

    I disagree with your comments about zones 1&2 in London. If you live there like I do (zone 2), you don’t have to pay tourist prices for anything and you’d avoid those places anyway unless you wanted a night-out on the ponce.

    That said though, the rest of your article is pretty much bob-on.

  • Citizen Bidet

    A book called The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, written about 100 years ago painted a bleak picture of Hastings and its run-down poverty. Seems nothing has changed.