This exciting project backed by Sport England and British Cycling aims to deliver a modern floodlit skatepark, an enhanced floodlit BMX race track and an innovative BMX jump park for the community at Sidley Recreation Ground (Canada Way / Buxton Drive) in Bexhill.

Planning consent was granted at Planning Committee last week and subject to the Planning Conditions being fulfilled it is anticipated that construction will commence in the late autumn. Whilst the Minutes have not yet been published, the agenda and accompanying reports can be viewed on our Planning Committee page.

The Planning Application included a report of the results from the engagement exercise held earlier in the summer with residents and potential facility users and sets out how the proposals have incorporated, where possible, some of the suggestions made and the steps that will be taken to address the concerns raised, where appropriate.

Read on to find out more about the project or watch our short video featuring some of the skateboarders and BMXers involved and the webinar led by the designers.

Community facilities at the heart of Sidley

Community is at the heart of Sidley and will be at the heart of this project to ensure the new facilities are fit for purpose, family-friendly and a source of enjoyment and pride for all. 

BMX has been a part of Sidley’s culture since local enthusiasts created a dirt track on the recreation ground in the early 1980’s.  For many involved in the early days their passion for BMX-ing has been life-long and they continue to commit time and energy to giving others the opportunity to try the sport, nurturing talent and successfully creating new generations of riders.  Over the years, several local youngsters have successfully represented Bexhill at national and international level bringing recognition to Sidley.  The Council is committed to supporting the BMX community’s invaluable work with local youngsters.

As with BMX-ing, skateboarding is now an Olympic sport and is a popular activity, but the town lacks a good quality modern facility for the skateboarding community, scooter riders and free-style BMX-ers to enjoy.  The existing skatepark close to Bexhill Leisure Centre is unwelcoming, outdated and nearing the end of its serviceable life and as a result, skateboarders are sometimes inclined to use alternative public spaces which isn’t ideal for them or other users of our public spaces.

This project will open up opportunities for many more of our local children and young people to try new activities in an environment where they are safe and supported informally through the existing BMX and skateboarding community or through a programme of organised sessions targeted at different user groups.  It provides a unique opportunity for synergy to develop between both sports to the benefit of both.  The showcase of talent will provide a spectacle for residents that’s unequalled in the region. 

The Council is working with partner organisations including the Heart of Sidley and Sussex Police, relevant user groups including the Bexhill Skatepark Action Group and Jumpclub BMX and other leading experts and contractors in the field to deliver the best possible results. 

A skatepark to inspire

Many people will be familiar with traditional skateparks comprising individual timber, metal or fibreglass surfaced units on areas of hard-standing, but the new skatepark will be a modern construction built from reinforced concrete poured in-situ.  This creates a solid, continuous, durable, riding surface which in addition to giving a superior riding experience is easy to maintain and has the added benefit of being much quieter than other surfaces. 

The skatepark will be a unique, bespoke design tailored to work with the needs of the skateboarding community using the natural contours of the site to merge into its surrounds to the south of the bowls green.

Experienced designers and installers of skateparks, Canvas Spaces have been working collaboratively with the local skateboarding community, freestyle BMX-ers and scooter users to design a skatepark for all abilities within these disciplines, as well as by in-line skaters.  The participation of Bexhill Skatepark Action Group (supported by Bexhill Lions), The Source Park, South Coast BMX and Ian Deacon (Flip Skateboards) has been invaluable.

Photo of a skatepark

A secure future for Bexhill’s BMX community

The BMX community is passionate about building upon Bexhill’s rich BMX heritage to develop more and better opportunities to involve children, young people and their families in riding, be it for healthy outdoors fun or as a more serious pursuit.  To do so, the track needs to be brought up to modern standards with a design that is safe, usable throughout the year, easy to maintain, suitable for novices and also challenging for more experienced riders.  In its current format, the track cannot hold races, there is limited scope for riders to develop their jumping skills and the coaching programme cannot meet local demand. 

The improved race track will be built where the existing track is located extending slightly into the space around it and a separate jump area will be located between this and the skatepark. Features will include a safer, silent start gate, split straights to cater for different abilities, tarmac berms for improved riding and ease of maintenance, a water and power supply and areas for spectators. Forte Trailscapes a leading contractor in the BMX industry has teamed up with local groundwork specialists Trinity Civil Engineering to design the new facilities with input from the BMX community including Jumpclub BMX and The Source Park. This will be a unique, creative and ground-breaking facility in the BMX world moving away from the traditional track model.

The plan for the BMX track including extensions to nearby paths and additional facilities such as water supplies and a utilities kiosk

Where is the money coming from?

It’s estimated that the project will cost approximately £900,000 and will be funded primarily by money from the Council’s capital programme along with grants secured from external bodies.  Grants totalling almost £530,000 have so far been secured from Sport England, British Cycling, the Big Local (through the Heart of Sidley), the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), BMX Club fundraisers and other sources including Hastings Roundtable.

Be part of the journey

There is much to do before construction of the new facilities can begin.  The key milestones in the journey towards our goal of opening the new facilities in Spring 2022 are set out below. 

  • Detailed design for the skatepark and BMX facilities: May and June 2021
  • Submission of planning application: July 2021
  • Planning committee: September 2021
  • Start of construction phase: Mid-October 2021
  • Completion of construction phase: March 2022
  • Official opening: April 2022