New luxury hotel with rooftop terrace planned for Brighton seafront

Posted On 11 May 2022 at 1:19 pm

An artist’s impression of the plans

A new luxury hotel with a rooftop bar and restaurant is planned for a derelict former hostel on Brighton seafront.

Sussex businessmen James Randall and Lucky Gohler want to refurbish the empty Hostel Point building next to the Pier Nine casino into a new 40-bed boutique hotel called The Louche.

The Grade II listed building on the corner of Grand Junction Road and Pool Valley which dates from 1830, was originally three houses before being combined into one hotel by 1861.

An additional floor was added to number 11 by 1897, and from 1911 the building was known as the Palace Pier Hotel until the mid-1980s, when it was re-fitted and re-named the Princes Hotel.

The site today

In 2015 it reopened as Hostel Point, offering cheap accommodation to backpackers, but has since closed and fallen into disrepair.

They have submitted plans to Brighton and Hove City Council, which include a rooftop extension for a terrace bar and restaurant, which would be open to the public.

A proposed fifth floor extension would be set back from the building’s façade, with seating areas for visitors along the front and sides of the building, providing panoramic sea views.

Mr Randall said: “This corner of Brighton is ripe for respectful redevelopment, as part of a broader regeneration of the seafront. It needs major investment as the site at 10-12 Grand Junction Road has been neglected.

“If a successful outcome cannot be reached there is a danger that this site will remain derelict for at least another decade and negatively impact the building next door – Pier Nine Casino.”

Mr Gohler said: “Currently there are hardly any rooftop bars and surprisingly, no Michelin-star restaurants in Brighton yet.

“Our city attracts millions of visitors every year, yet we know there’s a shortage of accommodation and an appetite for more high-end options.

“The Louche would help fill this gap, as well as providing a vibrant new venue for local people to enjoy and local jobs.”

Darren Johnson, conference and business development manager at VisitBrighton, said: “The Tourism and Leisure Department would be supportive of any works that would bring the building back into use and to renovate the exteriors in an area which acts as a city gateway to our business and leisure visitors.”

However, both the council’s heritage team and the Conservation Advisory Group, which are consulted on listed building planning applications, are not so keen on the plans.

Tim Jeffries from the council’s Heritage Team says: “It is considered that the roof extension and loss of original roof to number 10 would cause very clear harm to the significance of the listed building, whilst the roof extension would cause very clear harm to the appearance and character of the Old Town conservation area.

“There would be some heritage benefits in bringing the listed buildings back into use and good repair (as well as the benefit of opening up the basement lightwell) but these benefits would not outweigh the identified harm.

“It has not been demonstrated that a viable reuse for these buildings cannot be achieved without such harmful intervention or that any harm has been minimised and mitigated.”

The CAG said: “The proposed additional glass storey with its glass balustraded roof terrace would be a very harmful intrusion on the views from various seafront locations and from the Palace Pier.

“The existing four Georgian storeys and Victorian 5th storey of this site, together with the five storey Royal Albion Hotel opposite provide a view into Poole Valley which is balanced in scale. The proposal would upset this balance.

“The loss of the existing chimneys and stacks and the replacement of the front door of no 10 with a window and front door of no 12 with walling would be a regrettable loss of original fabric and together with the harm mentioned above would not be mitigated by the proposed reinstatement of some original features.”

The application can be found on the council’s planning portal here.

  1. Van Diesel Reply

    Willful neglect leads to this sort of proposal. Time to renovate, not demolish and replace it with another Thistle/Jury’s Inn.

    • Robin Briggs Reply

      This council is so backward they probably wont let them insulate or replace windows with double glazing . We need roof top restaurants on the seafront. I worked on the Royal York Hotel and they made them take double glazed bespoke windows out in the penthouses and made them move railings back a meter from the parapet so people couldn’t enjoy their outside views . Criminally stupid

  2. Valerie Reply

    Calling it The Louche is as deep an insult as imaginable! Does it also signal the sort of ‘trade’ anticipated?

  3. Chris Reply

    Maybe the name’s a throwback to the Keith Waterhouse quotation that “Brighton looks like a town that is constantly helping the police with their enquiries.” Or maybe “louche” has a different meaning nowadays rather than “not completely moral or honest, often in an attractive way:” Or maybe the meaning wasn’t considered, just the sound of the word.

  4. Mick Reply

    Demolish and replace with student accommodation; usually a rubber stamp approval!

  5. Tristan Reply

    Finally! A much needed facelift for the seafront. For such a popular tourist destination, it’s something which will be welcomed with open arms. With regards to the name, I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate for a city with a global reputation for it’s open-mindedness and bohemian atmosphere!

  6. Ricky Bobby Reply

    This is exactly what Brighton needs, love the idea of the combined offering of this hotel, the name and the initial images look attractive and sound classy, it has 100% my vote.

  7. Laura Reply

    WOW… As a booming, vibrant city this renovation is perfect for this building. The slight modern facelift is exactly what the Brighton seafront needs! Hoping this gets approved, the view on the top with dinner and a drink would be lovely!

    • Ivan Reply

      Hope this gets approved. The building has been left in a poor state for too long in a prime site

  8. Mark Reply

    Great to see people wanting to invest to make Brighton great again! Long overdue, this is exactly what we need to attract tourism back and support all the locals business who have struggled over the last couple of years. Let’s get behind this and make it happen!!

    • Clayton Reply

      I think we can all appreciate the need to preserve history and architecture but the applicants are likely spot on with their analysis that if not successful then it will be left to become more derelict. Attract squatters and others who typically accelerate the deterioration of a building and leave us in a situation where the building is past repair and ends up having to be demolished. Thus losing everything that was once worthy of saving.

      Some, limited, sympathetic alteration and loss/ change of appearance is patently obvious as the correct course of action and the one that offers the best chance of preservation. If these council groups can’t see that then I question their suitability for their positions.

      100% of nothing is a worse outcome than 90% out of 100

  9. birdy Reply

    Great news! Maybe they could save St Catherines Hotel too?

  10. Cliff Reply

    I’ve lived in Brighton my whole life, I have no idea why redevelopments like this get rejected, it drives me mad. This sort thing improves our city and would attract hardworking people looking to spend money, instead the council would prefer it to be a hostel full of abusive drunks or another student accommodation. Madness!

  11. Robert Pattinson Reply

    I bet the Police saying there is too many bars. Walking around the seafront area it looks so run down. Plus i think the i360 venue needs to be used later than 6pm so we get our investment back. How about some bars and a nightclub.

  12. James Biley Reply

    This is exactly the type of development that Brighton desperately needs! You only have to walk along the seafront to see how unfortunately dirty and run down this area has become. Investment like this should be welcomed as a benefit for tourism, the retail & hospitality industries (which are both in desperate need of help) not to mention the local employment opportunities. Plus it would be wonderful to see a rather sad old building restored and brought back to life for people to enjoy!

  13. Robert Reply

    Looks great.Brighton should aim to be an upmarket seaside city and do everything possible to make it one.Brighton has been neglected for too long.

  14. sd Reply

    Sounds good…though what we really do need is some affordable housing.

    Imagine this building being converted into the most coveted social housing in the UK! That would be something our city could be proud of.

  15. Kaplicky Reply

    A fabulous much needed proposal, it’s about time the heritage department and CAG had some training in commercial viability. The building is knackered so it’s fortunate these guys want to spend millions on it. To say changing the roof level causes serious harm is a joke, apart from Tim Jerries who actually notices the roof level of buildings?? The buildings in any city must evolve and change with the times and especially for tourism uses on the seafront. Other cities would be welcoming these guys with open arms but no Brighton wants to keeps its old chimneys and roof slopes instead and let the building sit there empty…

    • John Reply

      God knows who looks up there, maybe a seagull has objected!

  16. Jon Bailet Reply

    Yet again the council have shown that they stand for profit, not purpose. What’s wrong in refurbishing the building and use it for more temporary housing for the homeless? There is a massive need here in Brighton, especially one bed studios. This I’m sure would be relatively cheap to do and I’m sure grants would be available.

    • Ian Reply

      Putting temporary housing for the homeless on the seafront is an idiotic idea. Not because I dont think they should live there, but because we have limited resources and the seafront should be used to attract commerce to the city. Living in Brighton is expensive enough without swapping employment uses for residential uses.

  17. Balbir Reply

    I cannot believe the small and narrow mindlessness of this out of touch council. It must be the same individuals who dilly dallied over minuscule issues with investors and oversaw the neglect and destruction of our lovely heritage West Pier. Same ones who cared about our heritage and then wasted tax payers money on giving permission to loss making i360 (nicknamed eyesore by some) which is completely out of character from what was previously there on this historical site. Same individuals who’ve let our Madeira Terraces crumble and go into disrepair and disused for so many years. Same individuals who’ve ruined the cast iron heritage lampposts with modern lights. The seafront has become an embarrassment for a modern seafront city like ours. This investment is long overdue to bring back ‘REPEAT’ tourism, rejuvenate our retail & hospitality industries who’ve suffered the most during COVID19, improve employment and attract future investment. A number of similar roof top terraces exist elsewhere in the city and are welcomed and enjoyed by everyone all over the world. So why is our council so backward and stuck in the dark ages. Let’s get this dilapidated building restored quickly and brought back to life for everyone to enjoy!

  18. Hollie Reply

    Exactly what the town needs! Attracting tourism and another great location for locals to visit! The facelift is exactly what the building needs and deserves. I hope this gets approved as it’s been neglected for so many years.

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