Brighton & Hove City Council took the decision to dispose of the 1.45 hectare site on the outskirts of the city at the cabinet meeting on 17 February. The new operators will develop the site for a hotel, leisure club and office space that will bring 250 new jobs.
Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council Mary Mears said, “This is good news for the city’s economy. It means that a site which has remained derelict and unsightly for many years can now be redeveloped and provide new employment. The plot, which has easy access next to the bypass, will offer facilities for local people and contribute to our economy.
“The sale of the land on a long lease also provides the council with capital that can be used to support council funds for the benefit of residents.”
De Vere Village Hotels proposes to build a 128 bed four star hotel and Leisure Club which would provide conferencing, banqueting and community facilities, a restaurant, bar, Starbucks café, together with a health and fitness centre with swimming pool, spa, sauna and gym. It is also planned to incorporate 455 square metres of offices on the site.
The new leaseholders will now seek planning permission for the development.
Despite the recession, the council received eight separate bids for Patcham Court Farm when it was widely marketed. Bidders were assessed on a number of criteria, including their track record, offer price for the lease, quality and ability to deliver large projects.
ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT
Although it is always good to see a piece of land that has been derelict for so long coming forward for development, this is not a particularly strategic use of the site. A hotel on the outskirts of town doesn't comply with the Hotel Futures Study, which recommends new hotel space to be located in a core area in the city centre, or the Local Plan which earmarks the site for high-tech business use.
Apart from the three or four times per year when we have big conferences when delegates fill every bed space, it seems unlikely that a hotel on the outskirts will benefit the pubs, bars, cafes, shops and restaurants of the city centre i.e. the local economy.
Although the jobs are welcome, and some of them will undoubtedly be managerial, the majority will be entry-level whereas what the city desperately needs is higher-value, skilled employment opportunities.
A high-tech business park would provide much needed new office accommodation that could perhaps play a part in keeping world-beating companies like Rayner, with its skilled workforce, in the city [see earlier story].
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