Brighton Waterfront: Building a city fit for the future

Our front page on November 28, 2014
Our front page on November 28, 2014

World-renowned architect to develop masterplan for Waterfront scheme.

It’s been more than a year since the Brighton and Hove Independent exclusively revealed the plans to turn Black Rock into a world-class conferencing centre and to extend Churchill Square Shopping Centre to Kings Road.

Black Rock could be home to a world-class conference and events centre

Black Rock could be home to a world-class conference and events centre

Now, the hopes to drastically transform the seafront look set to be realised, as a set of world-renowned architect firms have been appointed to design the two schemes.

Brighton’s seafront is set to be transformed by the architect firm which designed the famous Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the Olympic Basketball Arena for London 2012.

Brighton and Hove City Council announced this week, that it has appointed world-renowned Wilkinson Eyre to develop a masterplan for the city’s Waterfront scheme - which will see the Brighton Centre moved to the Black Rock site next to the Marina, and Churchill Square extended to the seafront.

The new Brighton Centre at the derelict, council-owned Black Rock, will be developed into a 10,000 capacity first-class conference and events venue, regenerating the east of the city.

Practices appointed to transform Kings Road by extending Churchill Square to the seafront - in the place of the current Brighton Centre - are ACME, which is currently completing Leeds Victoria Gate and Chester city centre, and Leonard Design Architects, which has played key part in major regeneration schemes in London.

Combined, the projects are set to cost £540 million, but are expected to bring 2,000 new jobs and approximately £150 million-a-year in additional expenditure in the city. There are also ambitions to develop 450 homes, a quarter of which would be affordable, across the two sites.

Warren Morgan, leader of the city council, said: “This is arguably the most important project for the city’s future prosperity and one we are committed to delivering on time and in budget. It is key to the wider regeneration of the seafront and to delivering economic growth, jobs, homes and income for the city from new business rates and council tax. We now have an impressive professional team to take this forward and produce a quality development that respects the city’s heritage whilst building a city fit for the future.

"The project team will be consulting with stakeholders in the New Year and the council will continue to work productively with Standard Life Investments on getting the agreement ready to be approved in Spring.”

Cllr Morgan said the new Brighton Centre could see Brighton and Hove compete with Liverpool and Birmingham for conference trade.

James Stevens, head of development for Standard Life Investments, which owns Churchill Square and will fund the projects, said: “We’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made this year on this crucial project for the city. Concluding the legal agreements will enable Standard Life Investments and Brighton and Hove City Council to take the Waterfront project to the next stage.”

Negotiations between Brighton and Hove City Council and Standard Life Investments on the Brighton Waterfront development agreement have progressed well in the last few months.

The terms of the agreement are expected to go before the policy and resources committee for approval in Spring 2016.