A space where a new library was due to be built will now be left empty after the University of Brighton temporarily pulled out of the scheme.
As demolition works recommenced on the Circus Street regeneration in Brighton, it has been announced that the University of Brighton has opted to defer the construction of its new academic building which forms part of the development.
The University wants to ensure that the plans for Circus Street can best meet its future needs. This is in the context of a rapidly changing UK higher education sector.
Plans for the regeneration of Circus Street will otherwise remain the same as that approved in September 2014 and will include The Dance Space, a new home for South East Dance; 142 new homes, 28 of which will be affordable; 450 student bedrooms in managed halls of residence; and 38,000 sq ft of new office space.
The site allocated for the new academic building will be landscaped to form part of the public space at Circus Street pending decisions on the timing of its future development.
In the interim, the University will remain in St Peter’s House and will continue to invest in the development and upkeep of its estate at its city campus.
A university spokesman said: “The university’s involvement with the Circus Street Development dates back to 2007 and was delayed due initially to the economic downturn following the banking collapse and more recently the rapidly rising costs in the construction sector.
“The university remains supportive of the project and especially the 450 new student beds which will be built on the site.
“We continue to work with the City Council and U+i at our Moulsecoomb Campus and the Preston Barracks site to deliver much needed investment in that part of the City.
“At Circus Street, the university will retain the land previously earmarked for its academic building and will progress its development in due course. In the mean-time, the university will continue to invest in its City Campus estate.
“The decision is not connected in any way to the university’s changes to course provision in Hastings.”
Demolition works are preparing the site for the building work which is expected to recommence later this year.
The market buildings which previously stood on the site were demolished last year, but work was stalled after the developer U+I retendered the construction contract in order to seek a viable price for construction.
This followed an extended period of concerted co-operative working by the development partners, to reduce costs and/or profits in order for the contract to be let.
Last year, U+I said it was confident that over the course of 2016, the construction market has ‘softened’ to the extent that it will be able to secure more competitive bids on this occasion, thereby ensuring a viable build price and allowing for construction to commence in early spring this year.