New Hastings leisure centre plans to go before council leaders

The next step of plans to bring a new leisure centre to Hastings are to go before council leaders next week. 

On Monday (January 6), Hastings Borough Council’s cabinet is set to consider proposals to commission a detailed survey of the Bohemia site, which could pave the way for the building of a new leisure centre and entertainment complex.

Cllr Kim Forward

Cllr Kim Forward

In a statement released before the meeting, the proposals were welcomed by the council’s deputy leader Cllr Kim Forward.

Cllr Forward said: “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, benefiting 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, benefiting local residents, visitors, and our economy.”

As part of their discussions, cabinet are to consider a report laying out what a new leisure centre could look like. The report has been developed over the past few months, with consultants speaking with sports, leisure and arts organisations in the town.

The report lays out five options: repairing the existing facilities; building a like-for-like replacement; or building out an enhanced leisure centre, with three levels of new facilities.

According to meeting papers, the cost of building an enhanced leisure centre is expected to be upwards of £70m, with a high-end facility (which would include an indoor water park and an arts centre) rising to £88m.

A replacement centre would be expected to cost around £56.9m, while just repairing the current facilities would be expected to cost around £25.3m.

Meeting papers recommend the council pursue the building of an enhanced leisure centre, with the potential for an arts centre should it prove to be viable in terms of funding.

The Bohemia area is situated behind the seafront between Hastings Town Centre and Central St Leonards. 

It includes the Summerfields leisure centre, the Travelodge hotel on Bohemia Road, White Rock Gardens and the Oval. The area also includes the White Rock Theatre, which the council says needs to be replaced in the long term.

Huw Oxburgh , Local Democracy Reporting Service