Work begins on 'new cultural quarter' for Brighton

The plans for Circus Street
The plans for Circus Street

Construction has begun at the old market in Circus Street, after plans for the site were put on pause earlier this year.

Developer U+I announced that construction has now started on the £130 million project, which will include 142 new homes, 450 student bedrooms, 30,000 sq ft of office space, and workshops offering creative businesses start-up accommodation.

The plans for the old fruit and vegetable market also include a new public square, restaurants and shops, new retail and leisure facilities, and a state-of-the-art dance space providing a new home for South East Dance, a leading arts organisation and charity.

Construction had been stalled after the University of Brighton announced in March that it was putting on hold its plans to build a new academic building the site, because it wanted to 'ensure that the plans for Circus Street can best meet its future needs’.

Brighton and Hove City Council said it has sold part of the site to the University of Brighton for their plans to be brought forward at a later date.

But U+I, in partnership with Brighton and Hove and City Council, is now pressing ahead with its plans after securing funding for the delivery of the project with GCP Student Living plc, which focuses on student residential accommodation, and Gravis Capital Management Limited.

Richard Upton, deputy chief executive of U+I said: “This is a major milestone for our Circus Street regeneration project and for Brighton at large. This truly mixed-use project will transform a long-overlooked site, creating a vibrant new place and bringing substantial cultural and socio-economic benefits to this creative and energetic city. We are thrilled to be underway with construction, moving closer to fulfilling our ambition to deliver for Brighton a meaningful regeneration project that will revitalise the local area.”

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Warren Morgan said: “It is great to see progress continuing on this important scheme in the heart of the city. Many people stand to benefit from the new homes, jobs and business spaces, alongside new community and cultural facilities.”

Tom Ward, Director of Gravis Capital Management Limited, said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with U+I for the delivery of this exciting development which will deliver high quality new homes, purpose-built student accommodation and commercial premises in the heart of Brighton. We look forward to working with U+I to ensure the long-term success of this project and to exploring further opportunities to work together in future.”

The council said British firm Henry Construction has been appointed as contractor, because of its emphasis on offering local jobs and apprenticeships for young people on the construction.

Piling is currently underway and the majority of the buildings on site are set to be complete in 2019.