IMG_1882Having been an ice rink, swimming pool and cinema, the White Rock Baths are ready for their latest reincarnation – as the world’s largest underground skatepark.

The derelict former baths are set to open as a world-class BMX and skateboard park on Saturday 13th February. Brothers Rich and Marc Moore, Hastings-bred owners of The Source BMX, are currently overseeing the finishing touches to the £1.25m project.

The old swimming pool is home to the main park, where the floor has been removed to provide extra depth to drop the ramps into. At the other end of the complex is the plaza, consisting of ledges, rails and flat banks. The two are linked together by a flowing transition, and there’s also a race gate and speedometer for the competitive.

A balcony runs around the whole room, providing a large viewing area that will come into its own during competitions. There’s plenty of seating, plus a café featuring an arcade grab-machine full of BMX part.

While the indoors is nearly finished, the outdoor part is still in progress. The brothers hope to open the Garden II in spring or early summer, when the weather is warmer. Set in a courtyard on the seafront, but protected from the wind, this will feature a “weird and wonderful” wooden park similar to their original garden – Garden I.

The Source shop will also be moving from its current site in Trinity Hall and going underground to take up residence in the old Victorian smoking room. This will increase its size four times over, allowing it to offer a wider range of stock. Also, being within the complex, it will be able to extend its opening hours to match the skate park – 12pm to 10pm, seven days a week, potentially opening earlier at weekends and during school holidays.

Prices will vary depending on sessions, but come in at an average of £6 for two hours. There will be dedicated sessions for under 12s and all-female sessions, as well as lessons for beginners looking to get in to riding or skating, and coaching sessions for those who want to develop their skills.IMG_1875

The project was part-funded by the local borough and county councils, along with the Regional Growth Fund, with the Moore brothers putting in £250,000, which they hope to recoup within four years. The skatepark will employ 30 people, and all positions are currently filled – any new vacancies will be advertised on their website.

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