£795m scheme for thousands of new homes and jobs

From The Argus

preston-circus-fire-station

Thousands of new homes and jobs could be created by a £795 million project.

Proposals to develop eight public sites across the Greater Brighton area are being drawn up following a successful bid for government funding.

The sites include fire stations, army barracks and hospital sites which could all be redeveloped for new homes and office space.

The programme to make more efficient use of public body land could net the region 2,815 new homes, almost 25,000 sqm of employment floorspace and more than 2,000 new jobs.

And further sites, projects and public funding of the scheme could all follow in further years.

The Greater Brighton Economic Board meeting on the 18th October was told the area had been one of 37 successful bidders to share £7.5 million of government funding to release land for regeneration projects and encourage public services to work together.

The scheme proposes to redevelop parts of Dyke Road Barracks, Preston Circus Fire Station, Brighton General Hospital and public offices in Moulsecoomb.

Also included in the scheme are the major development projects of Madeira Terraces and Preston Barracks.

Health services will be asked to share offices at Worthing Civic Centre to free up land for housing and emergency services will be brought together in Lewes to allow for the sale of Springman House to allow the wider regeneration of the town’s Northern Quarter.

Greater Brighton made an expression of interest to the programme in May alongside more than 100 councils and learnt earlier this month they will be awarded £597,000.

An initial bid of £735,000 was reduced on advice with a ninth project to redevelop land around Hove station pushed back until a later round of funding.

Efforts will now be made to record all land and property assets owned by Greater Brighton councils and public sector partners by the end of the year.

An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “Work is being carried out to see how we can best use the space in Preston Circus Community Fire Station.

“It will continue to be a fully functioning fire station and operational capabilities will not change.

“Currently the top floor is not in use by the firefighters and other staff in the building.

“A feasibility study is underway and staff at the station have been involved in discussions around its future use.”

Fire Brigades Union rep Simon Herbert said: “Our main concern would be whether any development plans would impact operational responses from the station.

“That has been the concern with some of the plans that have come forward in the past.

“What we have seen so far, and there are a range of proposals which are not set in stone, is that they won’t impact the operational response.”

A proposal for Preston Circus, including the refurbishment of the existing operational areas to improve the building for staff, is set to go before East Sussex Fire Authority in the coming months.

POWERFUL TEAMWORK NEEDED TO MAKE PLANS A REALITY

THE £795 million One Public Estate project will call on the might of many public sector bodies to try to transform sites often eyed for development but seldom fulfilled.

Preston Circus Fire Station was subject to numerous plans which never left the drawing board with opportunistic eyes keenly observing the two under-used floors above the main fire station.

The Duke of York’s was among a number of suitors over the years while plans to convert the site into a supermarket surfaced around the time of plans to close the station back in 2009 were revealed.

The fire station has only grown in potential and attraction to developers with the continuing improvements to London Road though fire bosses are adamant that any development this time will be built around the existing firefighter operations.

Among the possible future uses on the table for Brighton General Hospital, the One Public Estate team proposes a new health and care campus with housing and a range of community uses.

The site is also one of two being considered by the University of Brighton for the new secondary free school for the city. Another site previously considered for a school but now included in the regeneration scheme is the Territorial Army barracks in Dyke Road.

Previously considered by the King’s School as a permanent home, it is now proposed to reduce the barracks to make space for a “mixed-use development”.

Some of the schemes included in the One Public Estate will already be familiar to readers, including the £30 million redevelopment of Madeira Terrace and long-mooted £150 million Preston Barracks scheme.

The estates project is also designed to squeeze the most out of existing public offices and encourage closer working between different bodies.

Emergency services in Lewes are set to come together with South East Coast Ambulance Service leaving Springman House which will be included in the £180 million North Street Quarter of 416 new homes, 140,000sqft of workspace, a health centre and new riverside walkways.

Emergency services are being brought together in ever increasing numbers, notably in Newhaven where police, fire and council all operate from the same £3 million site.

Meanwhile over in Worthing the creation of a new health hub bringing different teams under one roof is being planned to free parts of the civic centre site to be developed for housing.

More co-working is proposed in Moulsecoomb where youth services, library, council contact centre, The Bridge Community Centre and GP surgery could all be brought under one roof allowing for the potential sale of The 67 Centre, Hillview Contact Centre and Moulsecoomb Library.

EIGHT PUBLIC SITES SET FOR NEW HOUSING AND EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENTS

  • Worthing Civic Centre
  • Moulsecoomb Neighbourhood Hub
  • Dyke Road Barracks
  • Preston Barracks
  • Brighton General Hospital
  • Madeira Terrace
  • Preston Circus Fire Station
  • Springman House, Lewes
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