Owners Investec Bank, the Joint Receivers and local property agency Stiles Harold Williams have teamed up with Urban Splash to create £44m plans for the eyesore Anston House opposite Preston Park.
The land at 137-147 Preston Road has in excess of 60 planning applications against its name but none have come to fruition over the past two decades and the site is now thoroughly derelict [see earlier stories].
Urban Splash, who have a reputation for creating imaginative, high quality places to live and work are acting as advisers to the Receivers and Investec, supported by a leading design team including multi-award winning architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. Mark Latham, spokesperson for the project from Urban Splash said “Our vision is to create a really special place, a contemporary reinvention of the classic Victorian or Edwardian parkside mansion block for the 21st Century.
“It will be mainly for living in – new homes beside the park, but there will also be workspace and other activities bringing new life to the Preston Road frontage – a coffee shop, a gym, a children’s nursery perhaps – we’d like to know what local people would like to see here”.
“We want it to be a classy and delightful addition to the neighbourhood of Preston Park and Brighton as a whole; an unashamedly modern building but which is rooted in the materials, colours and landscape of Brighton and the Sussex downlands – a worthy addition to the city’s superb built heritage.”
The outline proposals for a horse-shoe-shaped building with park views from most apartments includes a mix of one, two and three-bed flats for sale, shared ownership and private or affordable rent and up to 1,850 sq metres [20,000 sq ft] for offices, studios and other non-residential uses, particularly targeting the creative industries in the city.
At the time of posting this story there was no link to a web site outlining the proposals in more detail. A planning applicatin is expected in the next four to six weeks.
ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT
There is little detail about the proposals at present but the office space represents a loss of about 1,390 sq metres [15,000 sq feet] from the existing building which is allocated as an employment site in the Local Plan.
As the new Core Strategy [City Plan] emerges and takes over from the Local Plan there is concern to protect employment sites so that the city does not become a dormitory town serving south London.
However, it is fair to say that, although technically Anston House is an employment site, for the past twenty years it has been nothing other than a derelict eyesore at the gateway to the city centre. The loss of employment space is not to be taken lightly but it must be balanced against the city’s need for housing and also the need to bring this important site back to some use.
Urban Splash and the rest of the team will have to come up with a quality scheme to persuade interested parties that the compromise on office space is offset by the benefit gained from affordable and commercial housing, all wrapped up in overall excellent design. Not an impossible task by any means.
Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership will be meeting with Urban Splash to discuss the plans on 9th May.
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