Sovereign Harbour Community Centre
Background. Ever since its establishment in 2000, SHRA has campaigned for a purpose-built community centre as envisaged by the developers in the original plans. Despite further promises and commitments by the developers and local Councils over the ensuing years, it was not until 2015 that a plan was submitted for the construction of a community centre on Site 5 opposite the Yacht Club.
Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) appointed Sea Change Sussex, a not-for-profit economic development company, to oversee delivery of the project. Wave Leisure Trust, a charitable not-for-profit trust, was commissioned by the Council to assist the Sovereign Harbour Community Association (SHCA - see panel on right), on all aspects of managing the community centre, particularly with regard to long term sustainability
Site Changed & Size Reduced. The very next year (2016), the Site 5 land was found to be contaminated and was withdrawn. An alternative area was offered on site 7 for a reduced-size centre. SHRA and SHCA thought that the offered location was entirely unsuitable, and believed that the reduced size made their commercial plans unviable. They decided they had no option but to sever their involvement in the project.
New Site. In early 2017 EBC and East Sussex County Council (ESCC) announced that they had acquired a plot of land for the community centre on Site 6 adjacent to the road leading into the Retail Park. A pathway would connect it to The Waterfront car parks, and a service road would be built across the Innovation Park from Pacific Drive for disabled transport access, deliveries and refuse collection. The service road would also give access to future office blocks on Site 6.
Construction. With Sea Change Sussex overseeing the project, construction begun in mid 2017 and the service road was quickly completed. Now, in early 2018, the steel framework of the building has been erected and the roofing is almost complete. The building is expected to be finished by May. Click here to view proposed two-halls floor plan...
Management. As noted above, EBC appointed Wave Leisure Trust to assist the SHCA on all aspects of managing the community centre. Following the SHCA's withdrawal from the project, Wave Leisure Trust will oversee the management of the Centre until other arrangements can be made.
The SHRA committee is concerned that there will be no local input into the many decisions and assumptions that will need to be made as the building is fitted out and equipped. We have contacted Wave Leisure, Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council to inform them of our renewed interest and have been invited to a meeting to take place in the near future.
Roofing work in a freezing easterly wind - 26 Feb 2018 - Photo by Ray Blakebrough.
of community centre and path from the car parks (not to
Community centre (illustration from planning document).
The entrance to community centre (illustration from planning document).
Foundations and service road Jan 2018