The symbol of our city and of our city council (as well as the jewel in our crown let’s be honest) is the Royal Pavilion. We will be spending quite some time talking about the future of the pavilion and museum service over future months but it is worth noting the fantastic work that is being undertaken to another part of the Royal Pavilion estate currently.
Visitors to the estate over recent months can’t have helped but see the scaffolding and hoardings at the Corn Exchange and the information graphics about the ongoing works to the building, works which will make it fit for the future while recognising its great legacy.
I was impressed this week to have a tour of the site from the CEO of the Dome and Festival Trust which operates the Corn Exchange.
The sheer scale of the £21.2m restoration project is immense, encompassing the Corn Exchange itself, the Studio Theatre and the creation of outdoor space to better link the building with the Pavilion Gardens themselves. It’s not surprising that in addressing the restoration of a 200 year old building some challenges have been encountered – including the unexpected burials on site – but work is programmed to complete to allow for an opening of the new buildings and creative spaces in mid-2019.
The works, which have been funded through public donations, council contributions, loans, charitable and trust donations are a massive thumbs up to the positive influence that the creative spaces in our city have on our cultural offer, our lives and the city’s vibrant economy.
We should all be proud of the complex and detailed restoration of some of the finer features of the Georgian construction. It will be exciting to see how the improved public spaces inside and outside help the building create new connections with the important facilities around them.
However they are still short of the final money to ensure that the full works are completed and they are still open to public support – feel free to head along to https://our-future.brightondome.org/ to make your pledge – for every pound you pledge the Roddick Foundation will match the amount (up to £250,000).
Councillor Daniel Yates is the Leader of the Labour Group on Brighton & Hove City Council