State-of-the-art complex enjoys bumper first year

Eric Pickles opens Sussex Exchange, Hastings.'Eric is pictured with MP Amber Rudd.
Eric Pickles opens Sussex Exchange, Hastings.'Eric is pictured with MP Amber Rudd.

A STATE-of-the-art £2.3m conference centre which boasts its own cinema and eco friendly fittings has enjoyed a bumper first year in operation.

The Sussex Exchange located off Queensway, St Leonards was built buy Sea Change, a not-for-profit agency which reinvests in projects like the Priory Quarter.

Since opening last September its eye-catching architecture and views across the rolling Sussex countryside have been enjoyed by thousands of visitors. It is part of the Enviro 21 business park opened in 2010 costing £7.6m.

Last month TV presenter Maggie Philbin was guest of honour at a special science fair featuring the cream of local business.

The restaurant has been kept busy throughout the week and the conference facilities used by hundreds of delegates.

The Exchange created six jobs and was the first of its kind in the area. It offers three rooms suitable for conferences, business meetings and training sessions. The largest can offer space for 160 delegates.

It also has a 52-seater, surround-sound cinema which will be available to outside organisations who want to screen films.

The biomass boiler uses wood chippings or pellets to produce heating and the sewerage system uses rainwater collected from the roof.

There is also shingle on the roof space which acts as an insulator in winter and also offers a habitat for wildlife. A modern restaurant will provide food sourced from the finest local producers. There is also an outdoor balcony offering views across the picturesque Marline Valley.

Sea Change spokesman Tariq Khwaja said: “We have enjoyed a strong first year. Feedback from customers of the restaurant and meeting rooms alike has been highly positive, focusing particularly on the venue’s stunning countryside views, the chance to eat and drink on the terraces outside in fine weather, the quality of the food and ease of parking and access.

“The venue’s reputation has spread by word of mouth with customers coming from both the local business and residential communities as well as some and from as far away as Europe.” For more information visit or call 01424 858461.