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Can King Alfred be revived?

The future of the King Alfred Leisure Centre is being discussed by at least two groups locally and will be the subject of a public meeting next week.

The public meeting has been called by the Conservative MP for Hove Mike Weatherley. He is critical of the pace of progress of plans to redevelop the site.

He is hosting a public meeting at Hove Town Hall at 2pm next Friday (24 May).

Today (Tuesday) Hove businessman Rob Starr hosted the first meeting of a steering group set up to shape his plans for the four-acre site.

He wants to develop and run an integrated arts and leisure centre there called The Lyrics. He said: “There is significant unmet demand for sports, leisure, cultural and arts facilities in Brighton and Hove.”

Mr Starr accepts the need for housing to fund the cost of rebuilding the leisure centre – in line with broad plans agreed by Brighton and Hove City Council.

He also wants to include a health centre on the site and is working with the two local GPs, Sarah Andersen and Laura Marshall-Andrews.

They have been promoting plans for Future Health, a modern and integrated approach to healthcare.

All this is happening as the council’s King Alfred Project Board continues to meet. Its next get-together is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday 15 May).

Earlier this year it agreed a broad menu for the site. Now it is working on the planning brief that will act as a framework for potential developers.

The aim is for the council to be able to open a new swimming pool and leisure centre and build more homes, some for poorer families, without using public money.

The project board includes three councillors. Geoffrey Bowden is the Green councillor on the board. He chairs the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee.

Andrew Wealls is the Conservative councillor. He represents the Central Hove ward which includes the King Alfred site.

And the Labour councillor is Warren Morgan, who many expect to be declared the new leader of the Brighton and Hove Labour Party this evening.

Tony Mernagh, who chairs the Local Strategic Partnership, is also on the project board along with the council’s planning chief Martin Randall.

Mr Randall is familiar with the last serious proposal to redevelop the King Alfred. The proposal, by developer Karis and involving the architect Frank Gehry, was granted planning permission.

But the financial backers pulled the plug as the credit crunch undermined the project’s viability.

The project board is keen to ensure that this time things go swimmingly.

 

1 comment to Can King Alfred be revived?

  • This all looks very familiar. The same pattern is being used to cut from new cloth….and one can only hope it will work out better this time.

    A warning however: The District Valuer’s Report of 2006/7 concerning the Karis proposals criticised the planning brief.

    I thought it was now accepted that a development here could not provide a new leisure centre that would be cost-free to BHCC.

    This article suggests not. What lessons have been learned from the Karis debacle which will be brought to bear in planning for another go at redevelopment? That is the story/council report saveHOVE wants to have.

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