Decision on King Alfred Centre's future

King Alfred
King Alfred

It won’t be long before the preferred plans for the King Alfred site are revealed.

Discussions have been going on behind closed doors for months, but it won’t be long before the preferred plans for the King Alfred site are revealed.

The cross-party King Alfred Project Board on the city council met in secret on Tuesday, and its members, Cllr Warren Morgan (Labour), Cllr Robert Nemeth (Conservative), and Cllr Tom Druitt (Green), decided on a recommendation which will go before the policy and resources committee on January 21.

The much-anticipated decision on the preferred developer will be revealed in the committee papers set to be published next week.

The two developers battling it out for the job are Crest Nicholson Regeneration (working closely with Rob Starr, a local businessman and co-founder of the Starr Trust charity) and French builder Bouygues Development.

Stressing the importance of the decision, Cllr Nemeth, wrote in the Brighton and Hove Independent in August, and said: “The project is set to be the largest ever single-site development in Hove.

“At a cost not too far short of £400 million, with a sports centre and associated underground parking costing in the region of £40 million

“It will have a bigger impact on the seafront than the 1871 development of the West Brighton Estate of Grand Avenue and the surrounding streets, and everything built since. Indeed, it may well have more impact on the seafront than Adelaide Crescent or even Brunswick Square that were built nearly 200 years ago. It is big news.”

Another reason progress on the King Alfred is so important, is it is long overdue. The late 1980s and late 1990s saw failed schemes from the developer Citygrove, which included various cinemas, ten-pin bowling alleys and casinos. 2003 saw the selection of the Frank Gehry scheme in preference to those by Richard Rogers and Wilkinson Eyre, which never came to fruition.

If a preferred developer is approved at policy and resources later this month, it is thought a planning application will be submitted later this year.

If all goes to plan, construction could begin next year, with completion before 2020.

The new planning committee is feisty and will no doubt have strong opinions. The hope, though, is that spades will be in the ground during 2017 with a planned completion before 2020.