White Rock Park & Bohemia Masterplan

White Rock was once a hub of cultural and social activity in Hastings; its well-loved seafront Pleasure Gardens delighted locals and visitors alike. Since the town’s 1960’s heyday, White Rock dwindled into neglect. The White Rock Park & Bohemia masterplan proposes a new future for the area; a culture-led regeneration that promotes new ways of living within a spectacular parkland setting.

Capturing the bohemian spirit

Hastings has a do-it-yourself attitude and a bohemian heart. Independence marks its history, economy and culture; from America Ground to the Jack in the Green Festival, the Bowls Club to Source Skate Park. Bohemia is not only the historic name for the area; it also suggests an ethos through which new ways of living can be tested. The White Rock Park & Bohemia masterplan suggests options for the area’s future that encompasses new experiences, new forms of culture, and new ways of living.

This is not just a masterplan; it is a strategy for change.

Client: Hastings Borough Council
Location: Hastings, UK
Status: Masterplan June 2017, integration into Area Action Plan March 2018
Area: 33 hectares
Visuals: Elliot Sheppard, Tegmark, White

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White Rock Park & Bohemia can be a game-changer; a celebration of the Hastings spirit that builds on existing qualities and unlocks the potential of this part of town.
Geoff Denton, Project Architect

Despite lying between two rail stations close to Hastings town centre, White Rock is strangely isolated due to weak connections within the area and with the wider town. A distinct lack of sports and cultural amenity, combined with ageing leisure facilities and deteriorating heritage buildings, add to the air of decline. Sweeping coastal views are enjoyed by a limited number of people. There is little here to interest visitors.

 

However, White Rock is richly layered; traces of historical Hastings permeate everyday community life. The area is peppered with secret gardens, large open spaces, fragments of historic parkland and civic buildings. The masterplan respects and protects the area’s heritage and character, while creating a high quality cultural and leisure destination with a strong sense of place that reconnects White Rock with Hastings and St Leonard’s.

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It will require the involvement of the community to make White Rock their own – and make their own White Rock.
Jake Ford, Lead Masterplanner, White Arkitekter Malmö

Visionary, pragmatic, experimental, inclusive
By celebrating White Rock’s existing assets, there is a huge potential to create new opportunities for the town. Improving leisure and cultural provision, as well as outdoor recreational space brings White Rock back to life, for both locals and visitors. Retail opportunities are planned to complement the town centre and tourist economy, along with new hotel accommodation. By introducing a mix of uses, such as high quality housing, can be a potential source of finance for other projects. Strengthening pedestrian, cycling and public transport infrastructure, as well as rethinking parking provision, makes for a connected emerging neighbourhood.

Strategies for development

 

Build on what you’ve got­
Relatively dense and urban in parts, a new neighbourhood can help define the park edges. The development will prioritise greenery and freedom of movement, retaining the scale of open space that makes White Rock special.

 

A spectacle of diversity
Multiple uses for a healthy mix of spaces will help build a well-used and resilient town. Rethinking and improving parks and public spaces, homes, workplaces, clubs and venues will reinstate civic pride in residents.

 

Build for tomorrow, today
New ways of living can be tested today, to build a healthy, inclusive and sustainable community for the future. However, White Rock will not change overnight; local people need to take ownership in the transformation of their town.

 

Celebrating culture and creativity
The formal and grassroots creative energy of Hastings can be consolidated by rich cultural programming in new, purpose-built venues, or public space. A renewed cultural offer enhances life for locals, as well as creating a destination for tourists seeking an authentic Hastings experience.

Contact & Team