The story of two Hastings brothers turning the old White Rock Baths into a world-class skate park has been held up as an example for seaside towns everywhere.
The report, called From ebb to flow: How entrepreneurs can turn the tide for Britain’s seaside towns, talks about how Marc and Rich Moore, of The Source Hastings Ltd, are transforming the seaside building.
The skate park, set to open in January next year, is a collaboration between the two brothers, their backers from HSBC, and the borough council, which successfully secured £1m from the Coastal Communities Fund and the European Union.
In his report about the two brothers, Matthew Rock said: “The Source Park will have room for 600 standing spectators, who’ll create an intense, close-up velodrome atmosphere at events.
“There’ll be retail space, coaching programmes for kids, and the Moores reckon they’ll create 30 jobs in total and ‘re-establish a positive relationship between local young people and their local heritage’. Early estimates suggest the park will bring £2.8 million of new economic activity to Hastings.
“Edgy and alluring, people come to Hastings to do their own thing. Many artists and eccentrics have been drawn here by the light, the air, the atmospheric narrow streets, the radicalism.
“The Moores are planning to host at least one international-standard event per year at the site; and, again, because they know the sponsors and rock-star riders through their existing business, they stand every chance of making it happen.
“The equivalent Simpel Session event in Tallinn, Estonia, is a three-day spectacular that sells thousands of tickets, gets more than one million log-ins to the live feed, and hundreds of thousands more viewers for the YouTube
“The UK is crying out for something like this,” said Rich.
It all started in summer 2013 when Marc and Rich were looking for new warehouse space for their bike and skateboard retailer, The Source.
They met Esther Brown, from the White Rock Trust.
Marc started asking questions about the old White Rock Baths under the seafront promenade, which had lain derelict for many years.
Within a week, Marc and Rich visited the site and the Moore brothers started putting together their proposal for a skate park.
The plans for the skate park were first revealed in summer last year.
They include a main skate park, a small beginners’ skate park plaza, a retail store, a cafe, a reception, and outdoor ramps.
The brothers began racing regionally, attending national competitions and then travelling around the world with their parents to take part in world championships. In 2003, with just £5,000 in savings, Marc, then 18, and Richard, then 21, opened the first Source shop in neighbouring Bexhill, where the brothers grew up.
The Source Hastings Ltd scooped the Retailer of the Year Award, Innovation Award and Overall Business of the Year at this year’s 1066 Business Awards.
The report from the Centre for Entrepreneurs explores the fortunes of seaside towns in the UK and authors said resorts need to turn to entrepreneurialism and innovation in order to survive.
“Unless seaside towns reinvent themselves and find new relevance, they will be unable to keep up with the rest of the country. They have to be reintegrated into the UK economy, reinvigorated as towns attractive to private investment and as places of high economic value,” the report said.
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