From The Argus –
The £300 million transformation of a Georgian barracks site is set to go ahead after developers were given planning permission.
The University of Brighton proposal was unanimously approved by Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee yesterday.
Developers U+I will carry out the work to regenerate Preston Barracks in Lewes Road and the university’s Moulsecoomb campus.
The regeneration of Preston Barracks is predicted to generate £500 million for the city economy and create around 1,500 jobs, according to the university’s vice chancellor Debra Humphris.
Plans for the site, which has been derelict for 20 years, include building 369 homes, 1,338 student bedrooms and a new home for the university’s business school before 2021.
Professor Humphris said: “The university has been part of the city for 150 years.
“This development will go a considerable way to reducing pressure on local housing and reduce the need for cars and travel.
“We are committed to improving sustainability. It will provide a stunning new gateway into the city.”
The designs have undergone months of public consultation resulting in a number of objections. Among them are questions over the project’s viability, air pollution created by increased car parking and traffic, transport and congestion, lack of affordable housing and the effect it will have on Saunders Park View and Coombe Road residents.
During the meeting yesterday, Rebecca Barkaway, a member of the Coombe Road Area Local Action Team, said: “We are being transformed into the university’s campus.
“In an area that is already overwhelmed by a student community this just seems a step too far.
“We want to see investment in local provisions.
“We believe the 369 non-student houses should have a covenant placed on them so they don’t become HMOs.
“We also want to see money spent on improving the Saunders Park area.”
Environmental campaign group Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth (BHFOE) objected to the proposed increase in parking across the development.
The group argued it would lead to increased traffic and air pollution. The group claimed that if built the development would keep air pollution levels above the legal limit.
More than 400 responses were received supporting the development before the meeting.
The original proposal was revised to include 19 additional homes, a reduction in the height of certain buildings, additional community facilities and a transport plan.
A new pedestrian bridge across Lewes Road will be built as well as new squares and crossings which are designed to improve pedestrian access.
Cycle docks and more than 1,000 cycle parking spaces are included in the plans, as well as 30 spaces for bicycles used as part of the city’s new bike hire scheme.
In March, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner requested more money to cover the cost of more officers and staff set up costs, investment in IT operations, additional vehicles and the cost of supporting additional officers, as a result of the proposed development.
Andy Taylor, who represented the commissioner at the meeting, repeated the submission for £217,336 to fund the cost of extra policing to accompany the development.
The planning committee agreed not to support the request for more money to fund extra policing.
Richard Upton, deputy chief executive of U+I, said: “This is a major milestone for the Preston Barracks project, one of the largest and most ambitious regeneration projects to have been brought forward in Brighton for a number of years.
“We have the opportunity to transform this area of Brighton, which has been derelict for 20 years and deliver a huge number of benefits to the local community and the wider city.
“Our Circus Street project is also moving forward at great pace, regenerating another important part of the city.
“We will deliver world class, imaginative urban design on each project, building on the bohemian audacity of the Prince Regent and leaving a lasting legacy that befits such an inspirational city.”