The long-planned refurbishment of the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and its studio theatre have been given a boost with a £5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant today, which means work can now start this autumn.
The £4.99m HLF funding (which includes development phase support) comes on top of £5.8m pledged by Arts Council England, along with money from the city council, charitable trusts and individual patrons. Together this now secures 66% of the £19m funding required for this first phase of the project.
A bid for £2m is being made to Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership and further fundraising is focused on raising the final £4.3m that the project requires. This will include an exciting appeal to the public, details of which will be announced shortly.
The project forms the first phase of an ambitious regeneration of the Royal Pavilion Estate. Refurbishment and essential conservation work will secure the future of the Corn Exchange, a Grade I listed building, and the Grade ll listed Studio Theatre.
Previously hidden heritage spaces will be restored for public viewing, and a new interpretation strategy and activity plan for the estate will be developed which aims to reveal inspirational stories, unfold layers of history, thought and knowledge and help more people learn, understand and care about the estate and its history.
Brighton and Hove City Council leader Warren Morgan said: “This marks a major step forward in our joint plans to transform these unique historic assets, to enable more local people and visitors from around the world to enjoy them, and secure the future of the entire estate, which includes the Royal Pavilion, for generations to come.”
Andrew Comben, chief executive, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, said: “This is tremendous news. It is a fantastic endorsement of our vision and – alongside major contributions from Arts Council England (ACE), other charitable trusts and individual donors – creates a really strong foundation with which to launch our public appeal in the coming months.”
Stuart McLeod, head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we’re delighted to support this first crucial step towards the regeneration of Brighton’s cultural heart and securing the future of two of the city’s historic listed buildings.”
The next phases of the ambitious project will concentrate on the Pavilion Gardens, opening up the Dome complex to the Regency park. The original plans to remove the Pavilion Gardens Cafe have now been rethought after a large public protest.
The project will be delivered by two of the UK’s leading cultural and heritage organisations, Royal Pavilion and Museums and Brighton Dome and Festival, which manage and care for the Royal Pavilion Estate owned by Brighton and Hove City Council.
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