Hastings celebrates £800k funding boost for White Rock area

The Source Park
The Source Park

The White Rock area is to receive a huge cash injection of more than £800,000 to improve the ‘economic wellbeing’ of the area.

Hastings Borough Council had made a bid to the Coastal Communities Fund in the latest round of grant funding applications.

Amber Rudd MP visits Hastings Pier

Amber Rudd MP visits Hastings Pier

The grant, worth £812,770, is for a new project called ‘Destination White Rock, Hastings – Continuing the Economic Revival’ and will enable the council and partners to revive the White Rock area with a total project value of £1.081m.

Led by the council, the Hastings Coastal Communities Team will manage a portfolio of projects to improve the economic wellbeing of the White Rock area.

Funding will contribute to projects at Rock House, a partially converted office block with a mix of uses, including commercial, residential and community, to provide affordable business development and commercial space.

The adjoining Rock Alley will also benefit, with improvements allowing adjoining businesses to contribute to its economic revival and by giving another pathway between the White Rock seafront and inland.

The currently redundant water feature and White Rock promenade between the pier and Source Park will be refurbished and traditional beach huts will be installed east of the pier to encourage use of this area of the beach.

The Source Park will develop a BMX Olympic-inspired training programme and offer a series of local, regional and international BMX and skateboarding events to attract thousands of visitors extending the season throughout the year.

There will also be a community based business initiative, developing the local community to participate in and manage the economic revival of the area.

Project manager Kevin Boorman said: “This is excellent news for Hastings and the future development of our town.

“This funding will enhance the significance of the White Rock area as the geographical centre of Hastings and allow it to become a destination in its own right and, a great place to relax and do business.

“We will start work on these projects now and hope to see completion at the end of 2019.”

Richard Moore from the Source Park said: “This grant will help The Source Park realise its full potential as a global BMX and skateboard centre of excellence. We’re looking forward to building on the success of the Battle of Hastings contests to develop a series of events that showcases Hastings and the Source Park around the world.

“At the same time, our coaching program, the first of its kind in our sports, aims to give everyone the chance to learn our sports’ and develop the stars of the future.”

Jess Steele from White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures, social enterprise owners of Rock House, said: “Rock House is a unique creative and affordable space for living, working and community action.

“We’re delighted that this grant will help us with the next phase of the refurbishment which will create new jobs and enterprises, while protecting the very special character of the White Rock/America Ground neighbourhood.”

Hastings MP Amber Rudd, also welcomed the news of the grant, which forms part of a £40 million cash boost to the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund which aims to create new jobs, boost economic growth and increase tourism in coastal towns and communities across Britain.

Ms Rudd said: “This is fantastic news for our area and the latest example of the Government’s commitment to supporting growth and regeneration in Hastings and Rye.”

She added: “Over the last few years our seafront in Hastings has undergone a remarkable transformation.

“From our reopened pier and the Jerwood Gallery, to The Source Park and Rock-a-Nore area, there has been incredible regeneration to help attract even more visitors to our town.

“I look forward to seeing the positive results of this funding in the White Rock area over the coming years and the benefits it will bring to our community.”

The projects aim to support 180 local businesses, create 12 tourism events, create over 180 jobs, increase visitor numbers by over 60,000 which in turn will create an extra £4m spend in support of the wider community.