Ever since our 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
The very next year (2016), the Site 5 land was found to be contaminated and was withdrawn.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 from Pacific Drive for disabled access, deliveries and refuse collection. The service road would also give access to 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. The building was expected to be completed by September 2018. Click here to view floor plan... Although the main construction work was completed on time, the fitting out of the building and the connection of the utilities has been delayed over and over again. As a result, a year's use, and a year's income, have been lost.
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 was concerned that there was to 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.
2019 February - The centre remains unfinished and unopend.
2019 April - Some progress made. Path surfaced, new fencing and signage installed.
2019 May - Gas main connection due.
2019 July - Still no opening date.
2019 August - Mention of it possibly opening in September. . . . . .