A businessman shared his plans to build an arts and leisure centre on a key seafront site in Hove this evening (Thursday 4 October).
Rob Starr wants to replace the King Alfred Leisure Centre with a scheme that he described as “Brighton and Hove’s front room”.
With his brother-in-law, opera singer Darren Abrahams, he urged Brighton and Hove City Council to help turn his dreams into reality.
The council wants any scheme to include more than 400 flats to tackle the city’s housing shortage.
Mr Starr said that the working title for his project is The Lyrics, with an emphasis on performing arts, rehearsal space and a gallery.
Mr Starr also wants it to include a 50-metre swimming pool but ruled out an ice rink and said that he wasn’t sure that the site was right for a school.
One neighbour called for a sympathetic design as Mr Starr declined to say what sort of height any design would be.
The controversial Karis proposal was mentioned more than once. Karis’s scheme, with architect Frank Gehry’s involvement, won planning permission but failed when the bank ING pulled the plug four years ago.
Architect Steve Tompkins said that it was too early to set a height for the scheme as much would depend on the council’s requirements. He said that any scheme was unlikely to be built before 2015.
Valerie Paynter, of the Save Hove campaign group, gave broad support, having fought the Karis scheme. She said that she would though ask tough questions throughout the process.
Mr Starr, who runs the Edward Starr Charitable Trust and is chief executive of Hove company Seico Insurance, encouraged people to engage with his team as consultation gets under way.
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