The £300 million Preston Barracks scheme “represents a unique opportunity to create huge economic and social benefit for Brighton”, planners were told this afternoon (Wednesday 27 September).
Brighton University vice-chancellor Debra Humphris told councillors: “None of us are in any doubt about the strategical importance of this development for the city.
“It will bring £300 million of investment into Moulsecoomb. It will produce over 1,500 new jobs and £500 million of wider economic benefit.
“It will transform the public realm. It will improve local amenities along the Lewes Road.
“It will produce a vibrant new neighbourhood and provide a stunning new gateway into the city with a bridge across the Lewes Road.”
Professor Humphris said that it would also bring “much-needed new student accommodation”.
Together with a commitment to maintain rather than increase current student numbers, this would reduce the pressure on local housing.
Professor Humphris said that the scheme would also reduce the need for cars and travel, with improved cycling and pedestrian routes and improved connectivity across the Lewes Road and to Moulsecoomb railway station.
It would provide much-needed state-of-the-art academic facilities, she said, as well as new Students’ Union and recreational facilities.
And it would enable the university to open its campus to neighbours, bringing the local community into the university.
The scheme has more than funding of more than £7 million pledged by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.
In addition to a new business school and central research laboratory, the project would provide more than 300 homes and more than 1,300 student flats.
Eighty people have written to Brighton and Hove City Council to object to the scheme but more than 420 have written in to support the plans.
The council’s Planning Committee is discussing the plans at Hove Town Hall this afternoon. Officials are advising councillors to approve the scheme.