Following a major consultation across Brighton & Hove, plans to transform the derelict municipal market building in Circus Street into a vibrant new area contributing significantly to both the cultural and economic future of the city, have been submitted to Council Planners by developers Cathedral Group in partnership with McLaren Property.
It is estimated that the project will bring investment of over £200million into Brighton & Hove over the next ten years, create over 600 jobs, deliver two landmark public buildings: The Dance Space, a new home for South East Dance and a library and teaching building for the University of Brighton, as well as much needed new homes and office space.
Beautiful green spaces, landscaped public squares and an events square with The Dance Space and University library at its centre, will be able to host street events and outdoor performance. The scheme, which aims to be the most sustainable development in the city, includes a series of well planted character areas, including a fruit tree orchard, with a raft of special initiatives to increase biodiversity and protect the environment, with green roofs, living walls, bird boxes, grey water recycling and food growing pathways.
Martyn Evans, Creative Director of Cathedral Group, said: “Our vision is to create a productive quarter of Brighton, economically and creatively, right on the site of the old fruit and vegetable market; a friendlier, greener neighbourhood where anything from seed swapping to roof top urban farming and orchard picking sits alongside art, culture, modern living and hi-tech start-up business.
“We started to consult local people and organisations on our initial proposals in February and then held a major public exhibition in April, which was attended by many hundreds of people. We have talked directly to neighbours and local residents groups, as well as over a hundred other organisations, embracing the interests of everyone in the city. Our plans reflect that wide and comprehensive consultation.”
The regeneration plans include 142 much-needed new homes for a variety of family sizes, a community space for local people to use and small ‘Brighton-centric’ independent retail and cafe units, bringing the street level to life day and night.
Circus Street will become shared space, where pedestrians can enjoy equal status to cars, which has already worked in the city so well on New Road. 600 cycle spaces, most under cover, and limited car parking, with 43 covered spaces for residents, are also included in the designs.
There will be halls of residence for up to 486 students, to fuel the under supply of dedicated student accommodation in the city and free up residential areas of Brighton for families. They will be conveniently located right next to the Faculty of Arts and a new library and teaching building, becoming part of the University of Brighton’s City Campus.
A modern office building on the corner of Circus Street and Kingswood Street includes over 3,000 sqm of flexible office space to address the city’s under supply of quality space for growing businesses, ensuring that successful creative and digital businesses stay in the city when they outgrow their office space and to attract new companies to move into Brighton. The majority of the buildings are designed with the aim of achieving either BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment) Excellent or Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4.
Innovative developers Cathedral Group in joint-venture partnership with McLaren Property, are leading a Public Private Partnership for the regeneration, which includes site land owners Brighton & Hove City Council and the neighbouring University of Brighton, as well as leading dance development organisation, South East Dance.
Continued Martyn Evans of Cathedral Group: “By far the majority of people who commented at our consultation are fully supportive of the scheme and said that they really want it to happen – the most commonly stated point was, ‘It’s about time something was done to improve this area’.
“Since then, we have created a lot of conversation and taken a lot of care, working with local people to make a scheme which we are proud of and which is good for everybody.”
There is huge demand for the proposed Dance Space and South East Dance carried out a parallel consultation in the city to establish how the local community would like to make use of their studios and performance space.
Said Jamie Watton, CEO/Artistic Director at South East Dance: “We already have roots in Brighton & Hove and continue to develop strong partnerships with other cultural providers in the City including those with Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and The Basement. The Dance Space will not only enable us to create a world class hub for dance professionals, but also provide a huge range of dance opportunities for local people. We have received enormous support both locally and from the wider dance community for this development and it is hugely important to us that it now goes ahead.”
Professor Anne Boddington, Dean of The University of Brighton’s Faculty of Arts, said: “We see this as a great opportunity to extend the facilities we have for our students and staff. The new library and learning centre for the arts will showcase our extraordinary creative resources and include publically accessible space, allowing us to invite the city’s communities to collaborate and see our work and our historic design collections.”
The project team has committed to benefiting the local construction industry by sourcing labour and materials locally where possible and, in addition, an apprenticeship scheme is being set up to help local trainees gain work experience on the site.
Brighton & Hove City Council will shortly open a statutory consultation of the planning application, inviting the public and stakeholders to comment and developers hope the scheme will be approved by Planning Committee early next year. If it gets the green light, construction will begin next summer.
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