Brighton University and developers Cathedral Group (Holdings) Ltd have exchanged contracts with the City Council for the purchase and redevelopment of the former Preston Barracks site in Lewes Road, Brighton.
The news follows the Government’s announcement on 7 July that it intends injecting £7.7m into the Barracks development as part of a £17.4m investment by the university.
The partnership agreement will bring forward the purchase and comprehensive redevelopment of the existing council-owned site and adjacent Brighton University land to deliver new employment space, new academic buildings, 1,300 bedroom student accommodation, 350 new ho
mes and 25,000 sq ft of retail space.
The agreement signed this week now means the scheme can be worked out in more detail. The city council will sell the freehold of Preston Barracks site to the university and a lease will be agreed for Cathedral to develop the Barracks site. It is part of a masterplan covering two other sites as well as the Barracks - the car park of the adjacent Watts building and the university’s Mithras House car park on the opposite side of Lewes Road.
Preston Barracks itself would be the site for 350 housing units [20% of which will be affordable homes], 500 student bedrooms, a Central Research Laboratory [CRL], plus a health centre.
The Mithras House car park site would have a new academic building plus 552 student bedrooms and a small amount of retail and other uses to complement the university’s existing operations at its Moulsecoomb campus. The Watts Building car park has space for future academic expansion, plus a small amount of retail, and 264 student bedrooms.
It is estimated this regeneration scheme will create 740 new jobs over a 10-year period. Central to this ambition will be the 55,000 sq ft CRL, a business incubation centre and cutting-edge facility that will support new hi-tech and design-led manufacturing start-up companies and entrepreneurs.
The partners consider this as a major development that will create a new gateway to the city from the north, further enhancing the university position at the centre of the city’s economic life. The university and Cathedral have an established working relationship that dates back to 2006, and have worked closely, alongside Brighton & Hove City Council, on the development of the Circus Street project in Brighton city centre, adjacent to the university’s Grand Parade campus.
Cathedral Group and the University of Brighton are working with the award-winning architects Hawkins Brown and Studio Egret West.
Professor Julian Crampton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “The University of Brighton has worked closely with the City Council and Cathedral Group to create a comprehensive plan for the development of the whole of the Preston Barracks and adjacent land, owned by the University of Brighton. The development incorporates a range of uses from residential accommodation and student residences, to space for a new University academic building and innovation space for the university and business to work closely together."
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