Historic Victorian building to be transformed into 25 apartments

From The Argus

A building used to train up scores of builders over the years is now to receive its own makeover to give it a new lease of life.

The former City College construction and trades centre in Preston Road, Brighton, is set to be transformed into 25 apartments.

Work on the transformation of the locally listed Victorian red-brick property is expected to start within the next five months and be completed by the end of next year.

Brighton-based Yelo Architects said the conversion would give house hunters the rare opportunity to secure a loft apartment in the city.

The scheme, which was granted planning consent by Brighton and Hove City Council planning committee last week, involves a mixture of one, two and three bedroom apartments.

Developers Aligned Property bought the site in October after it became surplus to the requirements of Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, formed from the merger of City College and Northbrook College.

A new £9 million training centre opened at its East Brighton campus in Wilson Avenue, Brighton, in April.

The building was used by Preston Road School for more than 50 years before its closure in 1937. It was later taken over by the Brighton Junior Technical Institute.

City regeneration council officers backed the proposal to convert the site into housing because the building had “passed its usefulness” as an educational centre.

Heritage officers, who described the 1870 building’s gables and tall chimneys as a notable feature of the city skyline, also backed the plans after later amendments.

Forty per cent of the new apartments will be affordable, five affordable rent and five shared ownership, and the scheme will also bring more than £130,000 of improvements to nearby open spaces, schools and indoor sport facilities.

The renovation will not alter the scale of the existing building but will require external renovations to replace windows and restore the original school bell while a pre-fabricated building at the rear of the site will be removed.

Andy Parsons, founder and director of Yelo Architects, said: “It is a beautiful building. We need to do very little but just reveal that beauty again.

“It has come to the end of its life as a college building because they are relocating but it will work really well as beautiful loft apartments.

“Loft apartments are not that common in Brighton so it will be a rare product coming on to the market.

“There will be little change to the exterior of the building but we will be replacing all the windows, putting the railings back in and carrying out work to the roof.

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