Plans are being developed to provide residents with new high-quality opportunities for sport and recreation at Sidley Recreation Ground (Canada Way / Buxton Drive) in Bexhill.  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 all of which will be available for community use.  

The Council has been working with local clubs, user groups and specialists in the field to understand their needs and aspirations and to discover what could be achieved at the site. Residents have recently shared their thoughts and ideas on the project through an-online survey. We are very grateful to all those who took part and the designers we are working with have been considering the suggestions as they have been coming in. We will now be working to try to address the concerns that some people expressed about issues such as noise, light pollution and parking.

Please read on to find out more about the project or watch our short video featuring some of the youngsters involved. We look forward to sharing more information very soon.

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  The existing skatepark close to Bexhill Leisure Centre is unwelcoming, outdated and nearing the end of its serviceable life and as a result, skateboarders are sometimes inclined to use alternative public spaces which isn’t ideal for them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.

A map of Sidley skate park with annotations showing the proposed layout

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 and we look forward to being able to share the amazing results of this work in progress with the community in the early summer. 

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.

In addition to the obvious benefits of engaging young people in positive, healthy activity, the improved facilities will create an environment where talented individuals can progress, events can be hosted generating income to support the facility’s on-going use and opportunities for training, career progression and local businesses can grow.

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
  • Reveal of the detailed design proposals: Mid-Late 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