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Green light for Preston Barracks and University of Brighton application

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Brighton & Hove Planning Committee has granted unanimous approval for the £300 million regeneration of Preston Barracks and the University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb campus, which will create over 1500 jobs, hundreds of new homes and attract over £500 million into the city over the next ten years. Brighton & Hove City Council received over 400 hundred letters of support from members of the local community and business leaders in the city for the application.

Richard Upton, Deputy Chief Executive of U+I, said: “This is a major milestone for the Preston Barracks project, one of the largest and most ambitious regeneration projects to have been brought forward in Brighton for a number of years. We have the opportunity to transform this area of Brighton, which has been derelict for 20 years and deliver a huge number of benefits to the local community and the wider city.

“Our Circus Street project is also moving forward at great pace, regenerating another important part of the city. We will deliver world class, imaginative urban design on each project, building on the bohemian audacity of the Prince Regent and leaving a lasting legacy that befits such an inspirational City.”

Professor Debra Humphris, Vice Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “We are delighted that our plans have been approved. This partnership aims to deliver one of the most ambitious and transformational projects for the city in a neighbourhood where meaningful regeneration is long overdue. The scheme has the potential to have a huge positive impact both for the local community and wider city, as we look to deliver on our aspiration to create an inspiring place where people can live, work and learn together.”

Designed by award-winning architects, HASSELL, Studio Egret West, TP Bennett and Stride Treglown, the proposals which straddle the Lewes Road include 369 new homes, incorporating affordable housing, and 1,338 purpose built student bedrooms in managed halls of residence, to address the large shortfall of managed student accommodation in the city. They also include a new home for the University’s Business School.

U+I will also deliver a 50,000 sq ft hub for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs. U+I has created an accelerator company to unlock difficult sites and provide workshop space, mentors and business support. The ‘Central Research Laboratory’, a project supported with grant funding from Coast to Capital, the Local Enterprise Partnership, which will create hundreds of new jobs. The first, at the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes is fully operational and is already providing innovative new workplace opportunities, to complementing the onsite regeneration and build a sense of community.

The design team consulted local people over the past 18 months and have incorporated some key elements into the site, which local people support, including energy efficient buildings; growing areas to promote locally sourced and homegrown produce and edible landscaping for foraging; safe pedestrian and cycle routes; an outdoor fitness route with equipment for use by the whole community; and over 1000 secure cycle spaces.

At the core of the scheme design is improved connectivity. As well as a striking new pedestrian bridge across Lewes Road there will be new public routes, squares and crossings which will aid access across the sites and Lewes Road, providing connections to the bus routes and Moulsecoomb station. The provision of lifts, ramps and landscaped steps will further aid accessibility, whilst the repositioningof existing car parking and new site access and signal junctions will improve traffic flow. New public spaces and independent-sized shops, cafes and workshops are also part of the plan.