Site 6 Innovation Park and Community Centre

Sovereign Harbour
Community Association  

The Harbour Community Association (HCA) was established in 2010 with the objective of identifying the social requirements of the Sovereign Harbour community and enabling the provision of venues in which these activities could take place. A longer term aim was to secure the establishment of a Community Centre and to maintain and manage it in co-operation with other interested parties. Council grants were obtained to enable the renting of facilities and purchase equipment.

SHCA logo

In 2012 the Community Association achieved charitable status from the Charity Commission and changed its name to Sovereign Harbour Community Association (SHCA). Members of SHRA were deemed to also be members of SHCA.

During 2013 and 2014 SHCA was involved with preparations for the Eastbourne Carnival and the Harbour Charity Walk. The SHCA Short Mat Bowls Club continued to flourish.

In 2015, when plans for the community centre on Site 5 were submitted, the SHCA turned its full attention to assisting the project by preparing a proper business plan and raising funds for the building's fittings and equipment. A great deal of time and effort was put in and several additional funding sources were found and primed.

When in 2016 the Site 5 plan was withdrawn and the size of the proposed centre was reduced, SHCA, along with SHRA, withdrew their involvement in the project believing that the reduced size made their business plan unviable.

At the time of writing (February 2018), the SHCA is inactive and its Bowls Club has changed its name. SHCA remains registered with the Charity Commission and the money it collected for kitting out the community centre is held in a secure fund and can not be used for any other purpose.

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The Community Centre

Background. Ever since its establishment in 2000, SHRA has campaigned for a 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) on all aspects of managing the Community Centre, particularly with regard to long term sustainability

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.

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 for refuse collection etc. (the service road will also serve future office blocks on Site 6).

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 building is expected to be completed by May. Proposed floor plan...

Management As noted above, EBC appointed Wave Leisure Trust to assist the Community Association on all aspects of managing the Community Centre, particularly with regard to long term sustainability. Following the SHCA's withdrawal from the project, Wave Leisure Trust will oversee the management of the Centre until other arrangements are 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.

Approximate location of community centre and path from the car parks (not to scale)

Comminty centre drawing
 Community centre (illustration from planning document).

Entrance doors and porch
The entrance to community centre (illustration from planning document).


Foundations and service road Jan 2018