Planning permission granted for Bexhill BMX Bike and Skate Park

PLANNING consent has been granted by Rother District Council for the proposed skatepark and BMX facilities at Sidley Recreation Ground.

This ambitious project, backed by financial support from 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.

The new skatepark has been designed to meet the needs of the growing skateboarding community across the whole of Rother and beyond and will be suitable for all users, regardless of ability.

In providing a new and improved BMX race track and separate jump area, the project will help secure the future for Bexhill’s BMX community as well as creating a unique, ground-breaking facility that will attract BMX enthusiasts from across the UK.

All the facilities will be free to use and will help promote healthy lifestyles by encouraging people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and be more active.

Cllr Hazel Timpe, the district council’s portfolio holder for Neighbourhood Services, Culture, Tourism, Leisure & Amenities, said: “The granting of planning permission for the Bexhill Bike and Skate Park is great news and means the project to develop a safe space at the heart of the community, which will be a source of fun for people of all ages and backgrounds, moves another step closer.

“The council is aware that there are some concerns about how the project may impact local residents, and we will continue to work closely with them to address their concerns.

“I hope that over the coming months, and once the facilities are in place, we can allay those concerns and make the Bexhill Bike and Skate Park a place of which we can all be proud.”

The project has been supported by the local BMX and skateboarding community, who have a passion for the sports and a desire to encourage others to get involved. 

It is hoped the facilities will open up opportunities for local children and young people to try new activities in an environment where they feel safe and supported.

In a statement, the Bexhill BMX Club said: “This is such an amazing development for the local area and for the club.

“The track and jump park are being built by one of the world’s most exciting track builders, so we’ll have a lot of fun bringing our plans to life. The facilities will be a safe and positive place for anyone to enjoy. There will be opportunities for new riders to build confidence, as well as modern facilities which will enable any local rider to reach their potential in this Olympic discipline.

“This new floodlit development will enable us build on our current coaching programme and we’ll be able to offer a more exciting programme of activities. In a nutshell, more people on bikes having a good time.

“We would like to thank the funders and local residents for their support.”

Luke Barningham of the Skatepark Action Group: “This day has been a long time coming and getting here has been a roller coaster ride but we’re so happy it’s finally arrived. Working with the likes of Canvas and local legends Ian Deacon and The Source to design the skatepark has been amazing.

“We are very grateful for the support of Bexhill Lions who have encouraged us all the way, giving us the confidence to speak up for Bexhill’s skateboarders.

“Having a place where we can showcase everything that’s great about skateboarders and skateboarding, to give it a positive image and raise a new generation of skateboarders means a lot to us all.”

Jay Carroll, Chair of the Heart of Sidley Partnership, said: “The Heart of Sidley partnership are so pleased. The area desperately needs this development and the young people certainly deserve it. It’s fantastic, not just for children and young people, but for everyone. 

“It’s outstanding that the Bexhill Bike and Skate Park is something that’s always going to be part of the Sidley Rec – a wonderfully, safe and secure area with green space that is so loved and well used by local residents.”

Cllr Timpe added: “I would like to thank the Bexhill BMX and skateboarding community for their continuous support and invaluable knowledge, as well as the many local community organisations and groups who have recognised the value of this ambitious project and generously donated time and raised funds to enable us to get to this point.”

The council originally agreed the scheme in December 2017 but the project has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and so complex issues relating to the site could be resolved and extra funding secured. It is hoped that construction will begin later this year.

The project is being funded through Rother District Council’s capital programme and Community Infrastructure Levy contributions along with significant grants from the Big Local through the Heart of Sidley, Sport England and British Cycling.

Money from BMX Club fundraisers and from other organisations, including Hastings Round Table and Safer Rother Partnership, will also help pay for the project.

More information on the project can be found online at https://www.rother.gov.uk/leisure-and-events/bexhill-bike-and-skate-park/

Published: 15th September 2021