Beeching Road Studios has been established to meet the needs of Bexhill’s creative community. Housing several independent creative businesses, non-profit arts organisations, local educational networks and individual artists, this multi-faceted complex serves as a thriving creative hub along the South East Coast. Under one roof, the studios combine creative workspaces, educational facilities and public cultural space.

Audience members at Babalola Yusuf 'The Quality of Eternity ((is now))' (2023) Image taken by Jim Lineker

A spirit of exchange and collaboration continues to fuel this development. Beeching Road Studios actively aims to increase creative opportunities for young people in the area, whilst simultaneously fostering important networks for more established creatives in the South East. A series of tailored development programmes are delivered by Flatland Projects on site which equip creatives with specific skillsets to make creative careers a viable option.

The unique makeup of the complex means that creatives from different disciplines and at various stages of their careers are sharing the same space. Emerging practitioners are neighbours with more established artists, generating an enriching habitat for creatives to meet and learn from one another.Having Flatland Projects as a public facing gallery at the core of the complex further extends these connections, opening its doors to local and internationally recognised artists and wider audiences.

Alongside individual artist studios, the current tenants include Flatland Projects; Hastings and Rother Arts in Education Network (HRAEN), Common Clay, Unit 33, Three Legs Brewery and Wheel House Productions.

Beeching Road Studios - Ben Branigan Studio (2023) Image taken by Jim Lineker

Story of Beeching Road Studios

From the beginning of this project, Beeching Road stemmed from a desire to best mobilise disused industrial space for the immediate community. In 2018, Rother District Council (RDC) purchased the freehold on six industrial units comprising 1,599 square metres at Beeching Road Industrial Estate in Bexhill. Grant funding was secured from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to refurbish and re-purpose the buildings.

Wanting to draw upon available expertise and to engage with local interested parties, RDC formed a steering group in 2018 to help shape the vision and aims of the project.This initial group consisted of staff from The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill 6th Form College, Flatland Projects, ACAVA, Bexhill Contemporary, Cabaret Mechanical Theatre and Fulcrum Learning.In tandem with these early conversations, RDC commissioned creative consultants Always Possible to undertake an Economic Impact and Feasibility Assessment in 2018 which revealed the supreme demand for high-spec, affordable studios and creative workspaces in the area.

Beeching Road Studios opening day (April 2022) Sophie Goodchild at Flatland Projects, image taken by Jim Linkerer

Consultation was extended to include Counter Culture, Arts Council England, East Sussex College, East Sussex County Council, University College London and other local stakeholders. After two years of these collective forums, what emerged was a strategic business plan that had the following key objectives at its core:

  • To decentralise the art scene in Hastings and create a supportive nucleus for artists and makers in Bexhill.
  • To offer tenants a variety of well-conditioned, affordable and secure work spaces.
  • To accommodate for a wide range of creative disciplines across fine art, craft, design and digital media.
  • To have workshop areas on site for artists to expand their practices.
  • To extend the international reputation of The De La Warr Pavilion to a sister space which champions local artistic practices.
  • To provide specialist training and education opportunities on site to students and adults.
  • To offer a rich and diverse public programme which attracts a diverse audience of local and national visitors.
  • Generate opportunities for collaboration and career development within supportive environments.
  • Extend relationships and strengthen ties with other local organisations and civic institutions.

Beeching Road Studios will continue to keep these central aims as directives within the ongoing evolution of the complex.

Opening event of Carl Gent 'Over the Fallow Flood' (2022) at Flatland Projects, Image taken by Jim Lineker

History of the Site

The site has had many lives. In the early twentieth century, the land was part of the Old Bexhill West Branch Trainline, yet this line was closed by Dr Beeching in 1964. Taking the name of Dr Beeching, the site was then transformed into industrial units. Premier Foods occupied the units for the production of its Sharwood’s range until 2004, when it closed with the loss of 250 jobs. Now, the site can be returned as a thriving workplace, an educational centre and a public cultural space.