Community Centre

There is no confirmed opening date for the Community Centre, but bookings can be discussed on 01323 509859

The History

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

Site changed and 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The very next year (2016), the Site 5 land was found to be contaminated and was withdrawn.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.

Another 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 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. 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.

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 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.

Documents: Planning permission 106 Agreement

2018 progress updates

2018 Progress Updates : 19 Jan... 01 Feb... 01 March... 16 March... 29 March... 12 Apri... 27 April... 10 May... 18 May... Path construction...

2019 updates

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. . . . . .
2019 Saturday Sept 7th - Open 'look and see' event for residents and organisations who have registered an interesting in making a booking.
2019 September or October? - Grand Opening Event.

Community Centre as shown on Planning Document
Community Centre Entrance

Drop-in Event 2018

Sovereign Harbour Community Centre Drop-in Launch Events arranged by EBC were held on Saturday 17th March and on Monday 19th March in the Conference Room at Pacific House, Pacific Drive. Click here for event's flyer...

Possible Uses

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. A longer term aim was to secure the community centre and to maintain and manage it in co-operation with other interested parties.

In 2012 the Community Association achieved charitable status from the Charity Commission and changed its name to Sovereign Harbour Community Association (SHCA). Council grants were obtained to enable the renting of facilities and purchase equipment. 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. A SHCA Short Mat Bowls Club, meeting at the Haven school, 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 the diligently produced SHCA business plan unviable. At the time of writing (August 2019), the SHCA is inactive and its Bowls Club has changed its name. SHCA remains registered with the Charity Commission and we understand that  the money it collected from residents, SHRA and others for kitting out the community centre is held in a secure fund and may not be used for any other purpose.