‘EXCITING’ plans to transform the derelict White Rock Baths into a £1 million world-class BMX and skateboard arena were given the green light at the council cabinet meeting on Monday evening (June 9).
Two business partners, brothers Richard and Marc Moore who run a successful BMX business, The Source in Braybrooke Road, have put forward plans to develop a large part of the baths into a premier BMX and skateboarding facility which could see some 58,000 visitors spending £2.9 million in the town each year.
The Charity Committee unanimously agreed to approve the proposal, including an investment from the Foreshore Trust which owns the baths and the council has also approved the development subject to additional funding being obtained from East Sussex County Council.
Cllr Peter Chowney, the council’s deputy leader and lead member for regeneration, said: “We have been working for a considerable time to find a productive and appropriate use for the White Rock Baths and the proposal put forward by The Source is very exciting.”
Having stood empty for 16 years the baths will be revolutionised into a usable space and is expected to cost in the region of £1 million.
The Foreshore Trust will provide £822,000, which will be funded through a mixture of loans and grants, to refurbish the building and The Source is to provide £226,000 for equipment.
The plans include a world-class competition standard park, a beginners’ skate park, outdoor ramps, a cafe and a media suite for editing videos and photos of sport for training in media skills.
Richard Moore, managing director of The Source, said: “Since submitting our plan to Hastings Borough Council in September 2013, we have been working tirelessly through all the details to tenant the White Rock Baths to create a world class BMX and skate facility. Everyone involved has worked hard to get to this stage and we’re delighted it’s been given the go ahead by Hastings Borough Council.
“There is still a lot of work to be done and hurdles to be overcome before opening in winter 2015 but we’re confident of everything going to plan.
“I used to ice-skate down there as a kid and our dad used to swim there when he was a child, so it’s exciting to bring the building back into use for the community and our business. We have really well-developed plans and look forward to releasing more details and plans as the project progresses.”
During the cabinet meeting, members of the opposition, Cllr Matthew J Lock and Cllr Rob Cooke, although supportive of the proposal, put forward an amendment to remove any potential financial risk from the taxpayers, but it was rejected.
Council leader Jeremy Birch said during the meeting that the plans ‘offer something for our young people’ and ‘will put Hastings on the international map’.