Fringe venue scrapped after planning woes

Posted On 09 May 2017 at 12:23 pm

Brighton Fringe shows have been cancelled after an ambitious new stage in the grounds of the Royal Pavilion failed to get planning permission.

An artist’s impression of how the Shiny Town stage would have appeared by Slawek Staszczuk


Shiny Town aimed to create a town square will appear in the gardens in front of the pavilion, complete with an artificial lake, plus food stalls and bars.

Live performances planned included acrobatics, cabaret and DJs during the final two weeks of the festival.

But planning officers said the stage would be “unduly obstructive” and raised concerns about damage to the Grade I listed gardens, leading to the application being refused.

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A spokesperson for Shiny Town said: “We regret to have to announce that Shiny Town won’t now appear as part of Brighton Fringe this May. Unfortunately we didn’t get the required planning permission, as we’d hoped, for the event to take place in the Royal Pavilion Gardens.

“Shiny Town is an ambitious project that promised to transform the Royal Pavilion Gardens into a spectacular live arts and entertainment destination for the final two weeks of this year’s festival. We have always been aware of the sensitivity of the Grade I Listed Building and the Regency gardens and we had worked hard to produce a design that we believed was sympathetic and complimentary to the heritage and significance of such an important landmark. Unfortunately on this occasion it hasn’t worked out for us.

“We are enormously disappointed that we are unable to bring Shiny Town to Brighton at this time but are also very grateful for the enthusiasm and support we’ve had for the project from local communities and businesses, the arts world, and the Royal Pavilion and Fringe teams.

“We are already looking to find an alternative site to stage the event in Brighton in the not too distant future and will continue to work with the relevant authorities to make this happen. In the meantime we’d like to wish Brighton a very happy and fun Festival and Fringe!”

A council spokesperson added: “All events staged in the Royal Pavilion grounds that involve the creation of structures are subject to planning permission. The Royal Pavilion is a Grade 1 listed building and, as such, protected by Historic England and other bodies responsible for safeguarding heritage properties.

“The organisers of Shiny Town did follow the usual planning process but unfortunately on this occasion, their event did not meet the requirements set out and so the application was refused.

“We understand this is disappointing for the organisers and will work with them to find a suitable licensed space so that their event may take place in the city at some time in the future.”

Brighton Fringe Ltd said: “We are very disappointed to hear that Shiny Town will not be a part of this year’s Brighton Fringe and are in the process of informing and fully refunding anyone who had booked tickets to see shows there.

“We are always looking to involve venues and producers that will bring new artists and events to Brighton, so have worked hard over the past two years on it and were looking forward to the exciting programme Shiny Town had planned.

“We hope to welcome them to Brighton Fringe in the future and in the meantime look forward to working with more than 150 venues to entertain and excite audiences throughout May and into June.”

The venue was due to be free until 6pm, with an entrance charge after that.

  1. Brighton Girl Reply

    Why anyone in their right mind would think that using the grounds of the Royal Pavilion as a fringe festival location was a good idea is, quite frankly, beyond me.

    • Hanama Reply

      The ice rink and restaurant seems to be ok there every winter, so it does seem possible to put events on in the gardens.

  2. SamC Reply

    “unduly obstructive”… that’s Brighton Council Planning department through and through…. how is the greater good served by that decision? It is not. Shameful.

  3. Christian Sant East Brighton Hoveite Reply

    It is a shame it could not be used as part of Fringe with being the landmark building as one of the focal points for this town. The Ice Rink when it goes up always respect the building and contributions are made by them to repair any damage to the grass. Shinny town just got a bit too optimistic with their plans which should of been thought through more along with being applied for further in advance.

  4. Maria brooker Reply

    Hooray some sense at last.keep all venues away from listed buildings.

  5. Brighton Girl Reply

    The MD of the Brighton Fringe is very quiet on the subject – he was so vocal when criticising the Palace Pier. After witnessing people trampling all over the flower beds in the Pavilion Gardens last year after the amazing Dr Brighton event, it comes as no surprise that a full on festival location would not work in the grounds of a Grade I Listed building.

  6. George Reply

    So the Council tell this Fringe event they can’t use the Pavillion Gardens as these are of ‘historical importance’, yet they do nothing about the squatter camps making an eyesore of Pavillion Gardens?

    They love to say ‘no’ to those who follow laws / process, but then do nothing at all about those who just ignore the laws.

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