Brighton businesses need space to grow, says Chamber of Commerce

Posted On 05 Jul 2016 at 10:11 pm

Businesses in Brighton and Hove need space to grow, according to the Chamber of Commerce, which is hosting a “big debate” on the topic tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday 6 July).

Among the questions being addressed at the free event are

  • How can we best balance the needs of a growing business economy with the desperate need for more housing in our city?
  • Do we know what sort of space city businesses want? Many digital, creative and tech businesses prefer shared spaces to traditional offices. How do we identify and meet those requirements?
  • Is building in areas such as Shoreham or Newhaven the answer or do these businesses want – or need – to be in central Brighton?
  • Developers make far more money out of housing so how can we (and should we) incentivise them to build workspaces instead?

As always with Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce big debates, expert panellists will speak and take questions, with opportunities for those in the audience to share their views too.

The panellists are

Council covid support
  • Gayle Mann, from Entrepreneurial Spark, the free business accelerator hub for early stage and growing business
  • Chris Oakley, executive chairman of commercial property experts Oakley Property
  • Phil Jones, chief executive of digital support agency Wired Sussex
  • Mike Hollingbery, director of creative digital agency Bozboz web design
  • Steve Pette, co-founder and director of Central Working, providing co-working space for small businesses aiming to grow rapidly

The debate will be chaired by Nick Juba, chief executive of City College Brighton and Hove, which itself has plans to develop the college to include new workspaces.

It is taking place at City College’s Pelham Street site from 4pm to 6pm, with the opportunity for networking too.

Register for free at

Eeva Paasiaro

Eeva Paasiaro

The big debate is being sponsored by First Base, which is working with Hyde Housing to redevelop Anston House, often referred to as Brighton’s ugliest building.

First Base development manager Eeva Paasiaro said: “The debate will look at the issues of workspaces in the city and ask whether a shortage of suitable, affordable workspaces is really hindering the local economy.

“First Base have plans to transform Anston House in Preston Road into a new co-working hub for Brighton and Hove which will include modern workspaces that cater for Brighton’s thriving SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and start-ups along with 230 much-needed homes.

“The internationally renowned architects Conran and Partners, who have an office in Brighton, will design the new development on the site which has been derelict for 25 years.

“Conran were responsible for the sensitive development of the Argus newspaper’s former printworks into the Argus Lofts workspaces and apartments in addition to many award-winning developments across the globe.

What the proposed First Base workspace could look like

What the proposed First Base workspace could look like

“First Base have spent the last 12 months listening to the people of Brighton and discovering the needs of the city via a series of public consultations and meetings with local businesses.

“The redevelopment of Anston House provides an opportunity to address the demand for homes and modern workspace in Brighton.

“Our proposals will deliver 229 new homes and workspace for over 280 local maturing start-ups and provide a real boost to the Brighton economy.”

Steve Pette said that a co-working revolution in Brighton was needed. He said: “What’s become apparent over the course of the last five years is that SME and corporate businesses are creating and demanding new ways of working.

“Work no longer takes place just at desks in a traditional office. Work is on the train, in a café, at home or from a co-work space.

“Talking to local organisations such as Wired Sussex and the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, it is clear that there is demand and it’s only going to increase. But where is the space?”

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