Plans for the comprehensive regeneration of Preston Barracks and the University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb campus have been submitted by a partnership between the university and U+I, the mixed-use property regeneration specialist, to Brighton & Hove City Council’s planning department, following a year of engagement with the local community.
The project has a working title of Momentum: Lewes Road, and has been designed by award-winning architects, HASSELL, Studio Egret West, TP Bennett and Stride Treglown. Straddling the Lewes Road, Momentum includes: 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. It also includes a new home for the university’s Business School and U+I will deliver a 50,000sq ft hub for start-up and SME businesses, dubbed 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 design team have consulted with local communities and listened to what they have to say and have changed proposals significantly over the past year, increasing the number of homes on the site, lowering the heights of buildings, providing a range of community facilities and creating a comprehensive transport strategy, improving access across the area.
The masterplan covers three sites: the university’s Mithras car park and Watts car park and the Preston Barracks site.
Richard Upton, Deputy Chief Executive of U + I, said: “Working in close partnership with the University of Brighton and Brighton & Hove City Council, we have the opportunity to create meaningful and transformational regeneration in this important mixed-use scheme for Brighton. By helping to alleviate pressure on the city’s private housing market, attracting inward investment and developing a thriving hub for local businesses, this scheme will create long-lasting socioeconomic benefit for the local community and the city as a whole.”
At the core of the scheme design is improved connectivity. A striking new pedestrian bridge across Lewes Road, new public routes, squares and crossings 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 repositioning of existing car parking and new site access and signal junctions will improve traffic flow.
The designs promote a healthy, vibrant and sustainable new community with special features including a gym, a 1km running and fitness route around the site, with fitness equipment at key points for use by the whole community, and cycle docks to support the city’s new cycle hire scheme, as well as over 1,000 cycle parking spaces. New public spaces and independent-sized shops, cafes and workshops are also part of the plan.
Professor Debra Humphris, Vice Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “This partnership is aiming 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.”
Council leader Warren Morgan said: "The planning committee will make up their own minds on the details of this scheme. However, it's good to see progress with the council's ambition to work with partners to regenerate key brownfield sites, in this case providing over 1000 jobs and 350 homes, including affordable homes."
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