Plans for new cultural and entertainment heart of Hastings moving ahead

A new leisure and entertainment centre for Hastings could be a step closer if approval is given for preparatory work at Hastings Borough Council’s (HBC) cabinet on January 6th.

Experts have been developing ideas for the complex and have been consulting sports, leisure and arts organisations in the town. They have now produced a detailed report which will be considered at the cabinet meeting.

Councillor Kim Forward the council’s deputy leader, said today: “I am very hopeful that cabinet will agree in principle to a new leisure centre, leisure water, and entertainment centre on the Bohemia site, with the possibility of adding an arts centre too if we can get the necessary funding. This will significantly improve our leisure and cultural facilities, benefitting the local community and tourists, so helping to boost the economy.

“If agreed at cabinet, detailed survey work will be carried out in the area next year. A report will be brought back to cabinet next autumn, reporting on the results of this work. We would then expect to decide on the site of the leisure and entertainment centre.

 “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform our leisure and entertainment facilities, benefitting local residents, visitors, and our economy.”

The Bohemia development is described as, “an exciting opportunity to transform this significant but underused and undervalued part of the town through investment in new leisure and cultural entertainment facilities,” the plan also includes new housing development and regeneration of public space.

HBC’s aim is for the area to become both a leisure destination and a an afea were people live. HBC wants any redevelopment to benefit the local community and tourists visiting the are to create a real boost for the local economy.

“This vision is backed up by our Local Plan, a strategic council document which looked at what areas of the town provide an opportunity for regeneration and development, Bohemia is one of those key areas,” says a council report.

Since publishing its Bohemia and White Rock Area Masterplan which details HBC’s vision for what can be done to develop the area HBC says is has, been working on the key parts of the masterplan, and they are to:

Screenshot 2019-12-20 11.19.57
From the masterplan – some of the areas set for redevelopment.
  • Build a new distinctive destination which will be an attractive and enjoyable place for residents, visitors, employers, and their staff
  • Build new high quality homes to respond to local housing need and demand
  • Provide new cultural, leisure and tourism activities
  • Improve links between St Leonards, Bohemia, the town centre and the seafront
  • Provide opportunities for employment, training and business development for local people
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of new developments through sustainable design and sustainable building operation.

HBC says that since the masterplan’s publication, it has drafted a Town Centre and Bohemia Area Action Plan, in consultation with the public, to set out how it’s vision for the area can be delivered.

A council spokesman says: “We have held discussions with significant landowners in the Bohemia area to see how they want to and can support the proposed plans for the area. We have also been working with expert consultants to look at the different options for the development of new leisure and cultural centres, as well as outdoor leisure and performance spaces.

Screenshot 2019-12-20 11.20.48
The vision for 2040.

From early 2020, the council will start work on:

  • Undertaking detailed site and topographical surveys of the Bohemia area to give us more information to help de-risk the next stage of the project
  • Take a report to cabinet in Autumn 2020 telling councillors the results of the surveys, recommending a location for the new leisure and cultural centres, consider potential for housing and agreement on a draft funding/investment strategy.
  • Continue discussions with other landowners in the Bohemia area
  • Consider how this project can link with the recently announced Town Deal

One thought on “Plans for new cultural and entertainment heart of Hastings moving ahead

  1. Is it really fair to say that this ‘Masterplan’ has had any real “consultation”? Is it not truer to say that people were just allowed to send in comments on 27 aspects of it? And isn’t it also true to say that the language was very much skewed so that the comments allowed were cosen in order to avoid actual criticism?

    It is interesting to note how councillors use language. Take this for instance – on Facebook, Cllr Batsford has written: “Laying down the foundations to a statement leisure centre and regeneration project for the town. Why would anyone not want us to show ambition and commitment to the health of our town.” It is written in the usual grandiose terms, but think about it. Does Hastings really need a ‘statement’ leisure centre and where is the evidence that it will ‘regenarate’ the town. No mention of the cabon footprint benefits or losses of doing this vis a vis restoring and enhancing what is already there either. Does this plan really show “ambition and commitment to the health of our town” otr a commitment to ‘Hot Air’?

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