A £300 million scheme to revive a derelict Brighton site with hundreds of homes and jobs has been signed by Brighton and Hove City Council and developer U+I.
The regeneration specialist said: “U+I today announces that a deal to radically transform the Lewes Road area of Brighton is now unconditional after contracts completed with Brighton and Hove City Council to deliver one of the city’s biggest ever mixed-use regeneration projects.
“Preston Barracks, in Brighton, a brownfield site which has lain derelict for over two decades, forms part of the wider regeneration partnership with the University of Brighton which will transform the area into a thriving new destination for people to live, work and learn.
“The £300 million gross development value project will deliver over 1,500 new jobs, 369 homes, 1,338 student beds and bring £281 million into Brighton and Hove’s economy over the next ten years.
“U+I’s proposals for the Preston Barracks site include 369 new homes, 534 student beds (a partnership with Scape Student Living), and a 50,000 sq ft innovation hub for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs.
“This forms part of plans to attract enterprising and high-growth companies and increase international investment into Brighton and Hove.
“The hub has already attracted £7.7 million of grant funding from Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.
“This innovation hub is a tried and tested model for U+I. The first fully operational hub, known as the CRL (Central Research Laboratory) is located at its Old Vinyl Factory project in Hayes, where it complements the ongoing regeneration work by providing an innovative new workplace for local start-ups and entrepreneurs, and a place for the community to come together.”
Councillor Warren Morgan, Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “This is an enormous boost for homes, jobs and businesses in the city, a landmark development finally making good use of a site that has been derelict for decades.
“It’s a great step forward for the University of Brighton and will provide a significant amount of student accommodation that will help reduce the pressure on our housing stock.
“The city council is pleased to be part of this creative partnership regeneration project with U+I which will bring huge benefit to the city and to the community around Lewes Road.”
Richard Upton, deputy chief executive of U+I, said: “We are delighted to complete this agreement and press on with regenerating Preston Barracks.
“Our goal is to transform this rundown area of Brighton and deliver a stunning and exciting new place that befits the inspirational city of Brighton and Hove.
“We are now on site delivering one of the most significant regeneration projects in the history of the city – a great example of what effective public-private partnership can deliver.”
The mixed-use regeneration project at Preston Barracks will include new public streets and squares.
U+I promised edible landscaping including fruit trees and vegetable growing areas and a 1km fitness route with outdoor play space and exercise equipment.
It also promised better transport links between neighbouring residential areas and said that the train station would help make the big area an integral part of the city.
U+I has also finalised agreements with leading student accommodation provider, Scape Student Living, to build more r 500 high-quality student bedrooms on the site. This will help address the City’s under-supply of student accommodation and take the pressure off local private housing.
Tom Ward, co-founder of Scape, said: “We’re delighted to have secured this incredible student accommodation scheme in Brighton, one of the country’s leading higher education cities.
“We’re looking forward to working with our partners U+I and the stakeholders of this regeneration scheme to make the area a leading education hub.
“Scape Brighton will raise the bar for student living in the city. It will combine world-class design and service to make sure students get the most from their time studying.
“The building will also give students great social and living spaces including a gym, cinema, café, large shared kitchens and study spaces.
“And through our events and partnerships, we’ll help students to get ready for life after they’ve graduated.”
Demolition of the buildings on the army barracks site is almost complete and building works are due to start imminently.
Brighton University students have designed imaginative hoardings which will be revealed soon around the site.
The whole regeneration, designed by Studio Egret West and TP Bennett, is expected to be completed by 2021.