Consultants Urban Practitioners have been appointed to offer ideas about how the redevelopment of the Brighton Centre could not only encompass the next door Kingswest but also how it will relate to other surrounding buildings.
Developers bidding for the multi-million pound redevelopment project, due to be completed by 2008, will be expected to look at the Centre as an holistic part of the entire seafront and pay particular attention to how it will relate to The Grand, The Hilton Metropole and Churchill Square together with transport links to King Alfred and Black Rock.
Kingswest was completed before the Brighton Centre and opened in 1965, twelve years before the Centre. They were each immediately hailed as eyesores and there is general political consensus that the replacement for both must be landmark buildings.
At 1,500 to 1,800 seats the new Brighton Centre will be considerably smaller than the current conference venue which has a 5,500 capacity but research has shown that 86% of the demand is for venues with less than 2000 seat capacity. The most important pre-requisite is that any new conference centre has state of the art facilities. Some of our historically largest events e.g. Labour Party Conference, TUC etc may not be able to be hosted in the new Centre as a result of a reduction in the capacity of the hall. However if the design, layout and quality of fit-out and build are superior, in theory the city can become truly competitive in the International Association market which is large and growing.
Also the new International Ice Arena at Black Rock will be able to convert into an 11,000 capacity arena.
The City Council's environment committee meets on Monday 19th April to approve the start of consultation on the site. The Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership (BHEP) will be a key consultee.
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