Councillors have given the official go-ahead to seek commercial partners for redeveloping the Brighton Centre.
Brighton & Hove council’s policy and resources committee has now approved a report outlining the way forward for the scheme.
The environment committee had already approved planning guidelines, saying any proposals should include ways of enhancing the surrounding area. The 12.6 hectare area extends north to Churchill Square and encompasses the Kingswest and Grand and Metropole Hotels.
The environment of Cannon Place could be improved and the street made more lively. Redevelopment of the Kingwest centre is recommended, although the council does not own it.
Tall buildings could be considered as long as they did not obscure views of the listed buildings in the area. It may be possible to link Churchill Square to the seafront in some way. The latest report says a new convention centre could be part-funded by allowing the development of hotel, residential, retail and leisure premises in the area. Any residential developments would need to meet council policies requiring a proportion of affordable housing.
Officers have been studying other European convention centres. They say the new building should be a landmark design with world-class facilities. These should include as a minimum a large meeting hall, exhibition space, catering and banqueting areas, breakout meeting rooms and pre-function areas.
Chair of the Brighton Centre project board, Councillor Simon Burgess, said: “A key consideration will be to deliver a scheme which has the maximum economic benefits. The Brighton Centre currently generates around £50m for the city, not the council. We want the new convention centre to develop that conference business further and a scheme which really enhances the wider area and the seafront.”
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