The owner of The Grand hotel has pulled out of a deal to build a hotel on the edge of Brighton, putting park and ride back on the agenda.
The 3.6-acre Patcham Court Farm has long been regarded as one of the best sites for a park and ride in Brighton and Hove.
But since the Greens took control of Brighton and Hove City Council last year, plans for a park and ride scheme have been shelved.
With the hotel deal falling through, there will be renewed hope in some quarters that a park and ride scheme will be back on the agenda.
The De Vere Group was the council’s preferred bidder to build a four star 128-room hotel with a leisure club and offices on the Patcham Court Farm site.
It was expected to take on a 125-year lease on site at the junction of the A23 London Road and the A27 Brighton Bypass.
But this morning (Monday 14 May) the council said that De Vere had withdrawn from the deal which was expected to create more than 250 jobs.
The council said that the hotel company was looking for a site nearer to the city centre.
The initial signs are that the site will go back on the market subject to the approval of councillors on the policy and resources committee which is due to meet on Thursday 14 June.
Council leader Bill Randall said: “It’s a change of plan but it won’t deflect us from our ambition to put this site to the best possible use for the local economy and its residents.
“Although De Vere won’t be going to Patcham Court Farm, they’re showing their confidence in Brighton and Hove and looking for another site for their De Vere Village brand in the city.”
Meanwhile, De Vere remains committed to investing heavily in a nine-month refurbishment of its flagship Grand hotel which starts in June this year. It follows the refurbishment of the Empress Suite last year.
The latest work will involve upgrading the bedrooms, restaurant, bar and remaining meeting rooms.
The hotel group is also looking to create a new leisure club and spa with external membership for the local community and the reinstatement of the swimming pool.
The upgrade should be completed by early next year, with the work being carried out on a rolling basis so as not to disrupt the business.
Andrew Coppel, chief executive of the De Vere Group, said: “We continue to see Brighton as a key destination for our business with the iconic Grand hotel already firmly part of the hospitality industry in the region.
“We will work closely with local partners to identify a suitable location for the future expansion of the De Vere Village brand.”
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