Plans unveiled for £8m redevelopment in Rye

An architect's vision for the creative arts centre
An architect's vision for the creative arts centre

Plans for an £8 million redevelopment in Rock Channel have been unveiled.

The project would see the conversion of a disused warehouse into a creative arts centre, housing a suite of artists’ studio workshops and accommodation, a gallery, and performance rehearsal space.

The proposed riverside restaurant and walkway

The proposed riverside restaurant and walkway

As well as benefitting people working within the arts, the proposals will also improve the area for the public, with an extended and enhanced riverfront walkway, a riverside restaurant, an open-air amphitheatre, and refined landscaping of an area which is currently derelict. It would also include a small number of residential properties.

The land, which is classified as a brownfield site, was previously used as a storage facility and auction room.

It is owned by Martello Developments Ltd and the development would be privately funded.

Martello Developments Ltd estimate the project, to be called Bridge Point Studios, will bring 12 to 25 full-time equivalent jobs, plus many indirect jobs, to the site. The local developers are working with RX Architects, plus the award-winning landscape designer Marian Boswall, to bring the plan to fruition.

Those behind the project say they hope to attract world-class artists and performers, including musicians, drama groups, dance and ballet companies, to the creative arts centre. They say there will also be significant local outreach initiatives as part of these activities.

Sarah Kowitz, one of the directors of the project, said: “The centre will be a place for people to create art – it won’t just be a gallery with exhibitions. It will have an open campus feel, like a university, and will have gardens and open space for everyone to enjoy.

“We hope to create a world-class arts centre that will be another gem on the creative coastal trail – somewhere between Turner Contemporary in Kent and the Jerwood Gallery, De La Warr Pavilion and Towner Art Gallery in East Sussex.”

Access to residential properties will be maintained via a main road running through the development.

The proposal envisages on site parking for residential properties, staff of the arts centre, some disabled bays, and drop off and delivery points. Offsite parking for visitors and events is proposed to be at Gibbets Marsh, which will be improved with signage and access.

The developers plan to submit an application by the end of the year. They will be hosting a public consultation event this weekend so interested parties can view the proposals in more detail, and ask any questions.

The event will be held on Saturday, September 22 on the site at Rock Channel, from 10am to 4pm. All are welcome to attend.