Stark warning over future of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion

The Argus: Andrew Comben, Janita Bagshawe, and Amanda Jones Andrew Comben, Janita Bagshawe, and Amanda Jones

The boss at a world-famous venue has issued a stark warning that parts of it could close unless it wins vital funding.

This month the Royal Pavilion Estate in Brighton will bid for around £14 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The bid has a one in three chance of success and will be up against rival bids from the likes of Canterbury Cathedral.

The Arts Council has already ring-fenced £5.8 million towards the upgrade project. The money will go towards a planned £35 million revamp of the gardens and buildings at the former palace of George IV. The Heritage Lottery Fund is expected to make a decision by May next year.

Bristol-based architect Feilden Clegg Bradley has drawn up plans to create a new building in New Road, opposite the Theatre Royal, similar to John Nash’s original ideas for a conservatory at the site. The architect also wants to create a clear entrance to the estate.

Planned work could see the minuscule basement dressing rooms updated and more showers installed as – believe it or not – there is only one to go round for the famous faces appearing at the Studio Theatre. An asbestos-ridden space known as ‘the slope’ links the Corn Exchange and the Studio Theatre and is in need of an overhaul.

Other ideas include creating an education space inside the Dome, opening up historic tunnels beneath the gardens and making an area for artists to create props for upcoming productions.

Outside, project leaders hope to make the buildings more accessible. In June, Brighton and Hove City Council, which owns the site, and Brighton Dome and Festival, which leases the former royal stables, launched a mass consultation. Amanda Jones, project director, Royal Pavilion Estate project, said the organisation had conducted more than 1,000 face-to-face interviews carried out by 50 volunteers, held more than 40 interviews with key stakeholders, undertaken 2,500 surveys – in the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, and with Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival ticket buyers – and arranged a series of focus groups with primary and secondary school teachers, young adults and people with access needs.

She said the aim of the masterplan is to reconnect the buildings with each other and the surrounding gardens. The plan will conserve the listed buildings for future generations and help more people learn about their history.

The Argus:

 

 

The Argus:

A key aim is to bring together two organisations – the Royal Pavilion and Museums and the Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival – to make them more efficient. Ms Jones said the masterplan will drive the estate’s delivery of the city’s cultural strategies. She said: “People have told us that at night the grounds do not feel safe.

At times there has been serious antisocial behaviour in the gardens. We have also heard visitors do not know when they have arrived at the Pavilion because they do not know how the buildings are connected. “What the Royal Pavilion Estate and the Brighton Dome does have is the ‘wow’ factor. There is nowhere else like it in the country. No other location combines a unique former royal palace, a museum, concert venues and gardens.”

Andrew Comben, chief executive at Brighton Dome and Festival, said: “It is an ambitious plan but a necessary one. If we do not invest the sort of sums we are talking about we will be looking at closures of parts of the site in the next five to ten years. It is crucial for the city.” He insisted there are no plans to lose the Pavilion Garden Café as a service within the estate. The Sewell family has operated a cafe in the gardens since 1941.

Mr Comben said the Royal Pavilion and Dome management were talking to the family about moving the cafe to a new site within the grounds.

But David Sewell, boss at the cafe said it should not be moved.

He said: “We all want the bid to succeed. But the cafe and its patio must stay where they are. That’s what the Friends of the Cafe want.”

Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the council’s economic development and culture committee, said: “The Royal Pavilion, the Regency gardens and Dome complex are seen rightly as an extraordinary national asset. “While they’ve improved immeasurably in recent decades we still have ambitions to do more. “We want to raise them further to World Heritage Site status – improving aspects like the welcome, the feeling of security and history, conservation and the facilities for visitors and performers."

Comments (31)

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11:09am Thu 14 Nov 13

chilliman says...

It sounds as if someone still has designs on the Cafe.even if it's to move it somewhere else.

Surely the first priority should be to make sure the fabric of the buildings is sound. I remember there being quite a few nasty surprises several years ago, when restoration work was being done without any proper plans as to how the building was put together. OK, the gardens may not be how someone's vision for them looks, and it may be desirable to build other parts, but don't use millions on them and then find there isn't anything for the existing buildings.

As for visitors not knowing where they are, has anyone heard of decent signposting?
It sounds as if someone still has designs on the Cafe.even if it's to move it somewhere else. Surely the first priority should be to make sure the fabric of the buildings is sound. I remember there being quite a few nasty surprises several years ago, when restoration work was being done without any proper plans as to how the building was put together. OK, the gardens may not be how someone's vision for them looks, and it may be desirable to build other parts, but don't use millions on them and then find there isn't anything for the existing buildings. As for visitors not knowing where they are, has anyone heard of decent signposting? chilliman

11:10am Thu 14 Nov 13

Tallywhacker says...

Well from the two pictures either the building has gotten smaller, modern people have become bigger or little people rode teeny horses in it during Georges time.
Well from the two pictures either the building has gotten smaller, modern people have become bigger or little people rode teeny horses in it during Georges time. Tallywhacker

11:15am Thu 14 Nov 13

Fight_Back says...

It might only be me but a majority of this story talks about new buildings and features. Surely if what is currently there is at risk then money should be directed towards that rather than some grand scheme for expansion ?
It might only be me but a majority of this story talks about new buildings and features. Surely if what is currently there is at risk then money should be directed towards that rather than some grand scheme for expansion ? Fight_Back

11:38am Thu 14 Nov 13

The Prophet of Doom says...

Tallywhacker wrote:
Well from the two pictures either the building has gotten smaller, modern people have become bigger or little people rode teeny horses in it during Georges time.
In those days Lilliputians were more prevalent around the town.
[quote][p][bold]Tallywhacker[/bold] wrote: Well from the two pictures either the building has gotten smaller, modern people have become bigger or little people rode teeny horses in it during Georges time.[/p][/quote]In those days Lilliputians were more prevalent around the town. The Prophet of Doom

12:01pm Thu 14 Nov 13

wicket5 says...

Misleading headline as usual.
Misleading headline as usual. wicket5

12:22pm Thu 14 Nov 13

Vigilia says...

I would gladly see my portion of the £1,900 a day currently being spent on travellers redirected to the maintenance and upkeep of this invaluable City asset rather than constantly going cap in hand to outside funding sources. It's unique and it's ours so let's direct every penny we can on preserving and enhancing something that brings tens of thousands of visitors to our City, not squandered on the visitors we do not wish to have.
I would gladly see my portion of the £1,900 a day currently being spent on travellers redirected to the maintenance and upkeep of this invaluable City asset rather than constantly going cap in hand to outside funding sources. It's unique and it's ours so let's direct every penny we can on preserving and enhancing something that brings tens of thousands of visitors to our City, not squandered on the visitors we do not wish to have. Vigilia

1:37pm Thu 14 Nov 13

Herbertfarquarson says...

The area certainly needs improving including the café.
The area certainly needs improving including the café. Herbertfarquarson

1:44pm Thu 14 Nov 13

Herbertfarquarson says...

Yet again we see the council issuing threats to close precious assets because their inability to efficiently run them has resulted in neglect and having to run to outside agencies with a begging bowl.
Yet again we see the council issuing threats to close precious assets because their inability to efficiently run them has resulted in neglect and having to run to outside agencies with a begging bowl. Herbertfarquarson

2:01pm Thu 14 Nov 13

Scorpio50 says...

Vigilia wrote:
I would gladly see my portion of the £1,900 a day currently being spent on travellers redirected to the maintenance and upkeep of this invaluable City asset rather than constantly going cap in hand to outside funding sources. It's unique and it's ours so let's direct every penny we can on preserving and enhancing something that brings tens of thousands of visitors to our City, not squandered on the visitors we do not wish to have.
Here,here! I completely agree with you. Start putting the buildings, that bring in tourists, and the towns people first rather then throwing money on the travellers.
[quote][p][bold]Vigilia[/bold] wrote: I would gladly see my portion of the £1,900 a day currently being spent on travellers redirected to the maintenance and upkeep of this invaluable City asset rather than constantly going cap in hand to outside funding sources. It's unique and it's ours so let's direct every penny we can on preserving and enhancing something that brings tens of thousands of visitors to our City, not squandered on the visitors we do not wish to have.[/p][/quote]Here,here! I completely agree with you. Start putting the buildings, that bring in tourists, and the towns people first rather then throwing money on the travellers. Scorpio50

2:51pm Thu 14 Nov 13

Martha Gunn says...

Seems crazy that the cafe could hold up such an important development.

Tails and dogs comes to mind.
Seems crazy that the cafe could hold up such an important development. Tails and dogs comes to mind. Martha Gunn

3:01pm Thu 14 Nov 13

ThinkBrighton says...

It's quite amazing, one of Brighton's biggest tourist atractions is falling into
disrepair and that prat kitkat and his bunch of merry green numptys, open a new cycle lane or screw up another road or give a few quid to a traveller.
This is quite depressing that this bunch are so irresponsible regarding the future of the City
It's quite amazing, one of Brighton's biggest tourist atractions is falling into disrepair and that prat kitkat and his bunch of merry green numptys, open a new cycle lane or screw up another road or give a few quid to a traveller. This is quite depressing that this bunch are so irresponsible regarding the future of the City ThinkBrighton

3:09pm Thu 14 Nov 13

twosugars says...

How about using the cash set aside for the white elephant knowns as the i360 to support this project? The Prince Regent and his holiday home are the reason Brighton grew as a resort in the first place. without him we would still be the tiny fishing village of Brighthelmstone. Better the money be spent on a world famous icon of the city than a shabby gimmick tower no one wants to invest in, (apart from a council who love wasting money) because they know they will never get their money back.
How about using the cash set aside for the white elephant knowns as the i360 to support this project? The Prince Regent and his holiday home are the reason Brighton grew as a resort in the first place. without him we would still be the tiny fishing village of Brighthelmstone. Better the money be spent on a world famous icon of the city than a shabby gimmick tower no one wants to invest in, (apart from a council who love wasting money) because they know they will never get their money back. twosugars

3:41pm Thu 14 Nov 13

P.Dant says...

This is all very interesting,but it ignores the major problem - the cafe closes so early in the Summer.We need an owner there with daring new ideas,like staying open an hour longer.
This is all very interesting,but it ignores the major problem - the cafe closes so early in the Summer.We need an owner there with daring new ideas,like staying open an hour longer. P.Dant

4:48pm Thu 14 Nov 13

Valerie Paynter says...

Feilden Clegg Bradley is just another dog cocking his leg at a post. Why should some Bristol-based architect be allowed to revise Nash? And be given Pavilion Estate land (the land on which our beloved cafe sits) to add a new building that is not even historically relevant?

No.
Feilden Clegg Bradley is just another dog cocking his leg at a post. Why should some Bristol-based architect be allowed to revise Nash? And be given Pavilion Estate land (the land on which our beloved cafe sits) to add a new building that is not even historically relevant? No. Valerie Paynter

5:40pm Thu 14 Nov 13

HJarrs says...

Pavilion cafe to move? It's ok, but nothing special. I can't say it is of particular architectural value. I would like to see the design of the new cafe before passing judgement, it wouldn't be difficult to provide a much more attractive building more fitting to this amazing area.
Pavilion cafe to move? It's ok, but nothing special. I can't say it is of particular architectural value. I would like to see the design of the new cafe before passing judgement, it wouldn't be difficult to provide a much more attractive building more fitting to this amazing area. HJarrs

6:07pm Thu 14 Nov 13

Martha Gunn says...

Oh no! Help!
I agree with H. Jarrs @5.40.
What is happening?
Oh no! Help! I agree with H. Jarrs @5.40. What is happening? Martha Gunn

6:54pm Thu 14 Nov 13

IShouldoftriedharder says...

twosugars wrote:
How about using the cash set aside for the white elephant knowns as the i360 to support this project? The Prince Regent and his holiday home are the reason Brighton grew as a resort in the first place. without him we would still be the tiny fishing village of Brighthelmstone. Better the money be spent on a world famous icon of the city than a shabby gimmick tower no one wants to invest in, (apart from a council who love wasting money) because they know they will never get their money back.
Well said.
[quote][p][bold]twosugars[/bold] wrote: How about using the cash set aside for the white elephant knowns as the i360 to support this project? The Prince Regent and his holiday home are the reason Brighton grew as a resort in the first place. without him we would still be the tiny fishing village of Brighthelmstone. Better the money be spent on a world famous icon of the city than a shabby gimmick tower no one wants to invest in, (apart from a council who love wasting money) because they know they will never get their money back.[/p][/quote]Well said. IShouldoftriedharder

7:26pm Thu 14 Nov 13

HJarrs says...

IShouldoftriedharder wrote:
twosugars wrote:
How about using the cash set aside for the white elephant knowns as the i360 to support this project? The Prince Regent and his holiday home are the reason Brighton grew as a resort in the first place. without him we would still be the tiny fishing village of Brighthelmstone. Better the money be spent on a world famous icon of the city than a shabby gimmick tower no one wants to invest in, (apart from a council who love wasting money) because they know they will never get their money back.
Well said.
There is no money set aside for the i360, it is a loan guarantee.
[quote][p][bold]IShouldoftriedharder[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]twosugars[/bold] wrote: How about using the cash set aside for the white elephant knowns as the i360 to support this project? The Prince Regent and his holiday home are the reason Brighton grew as a resort in the first place. without him we would still be the tiny fishing village of Brighthelmstone. Better the money be spent on a world famous icon of the city than a shabby gimmick tower no one wants to invest in, (apart from a council who love wasting money) because they know they will never get their money back.[/p][/quote]Well said.[/p][/quote]There is no money set aside for the i360, it is a loan guarantee. HJarrs

7:41pm Thu 14 Nov 13

I'm H Jarrs and I can't stand cars! says...

Clearly our ghetto strategy is what we are all about. No funding from the greens for this.

It would make a magnificent drug den
Clearly our ghetto strategy is what we are all about. No funding from the greens for this. It would make a magnificent drug den I'm H Jarrs and I can't stand cars!

9:55pm Thu 14 Nov 13

Poem58 says...

The joy of the Cafe being where it is is the VIEW - over the gardens to the Pavillion. It is truly one of the best in Brighton and an absolute pleasure to experience over a cup of tea and slice of fruitcake.

Moved elsewhere and a lot of regular patrons & visitors from out of town are going to be exceedingly unhappy.

It is NOT progress to destroy a popular and long established local amenity.

Think again you cold hearted planners.
The joy of the Cafe being where it is is the VIEW - over the gardens to the Pavillion. It is truly one of the best in Brighton and an absolute pleasure to experience over a cup of tea and slice of fruitcake. Moved elsewhere and a lot of regular patrons & visitors from out of town are going to be exceedingly unhappy. It is NOT progress to destroy a popular and long established local amenity. Think again you cold hearted planners. Poem58

10:23pm Thu 14 Nov 13

Martha Gunn says...

Only in Brighton could the future of a very ordinary caff become such an important factor in the development of one of our most valuable sites.

Madness!
Only in Brighton could the future of a very ordinary caff become such an important factor in the development of one of our most valuable sites. Madness! Martha Gunn

1:21am Fri 15 Nov 13

Metadadaist says...

I don't understand this at all.

It was ten years ago (or less) when the whole lot was revamped in a £15 million (or some massive figure) re-development. They should have thought about putting a shower in then (though most stars would still use their tour bus).

Also the redevelopment changed all the entrances to the buildings, so now it's not that clear, but only a 5 minute inconvenience.

There's actually loads of surrounding buildings with tons of wasted space they should re-develop first (buildings opposite the Dome entrance, and more connected to the pavilion near the gift shop).

There seems to be an ulterior motive to this? There's no way either the Dome or the Pavilion would close, and if they aren't making any money they should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves if they deserve their jobs....
I don't understand this at all. It was ten years ago (or less) when the whole lot was revamped in a £15 million (or some massive figure) re-development. They should have thought about putting a shower in then (though most stars would still use their tour bus). Also the redevelopment changed all the entrances to the buildings, so now it's not that clear, but only a 5 minute inconvenience. There's actually loads of surrounding buildings with tons of wasted space they should re-develop first (buildings opposite the Dome entrance, and more connected to the pavilion near the gift shop). There seems to be an ulterior motive to this? There's no way either the Dome or the Pavilion would close, and if they aren't making any money they should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves if they deserve their jobs.... Metadadaist

8:40am Fri 15 Nov 13

HJarrs says...

Poem58 wrote:
The joy of the Cafe being where it is is the VIEW - over the gardens to the Pavillion. It is truly one of the best in Brighton and an absolute pleasure to experience over a cup of tea and slice of fruitcake.

Moved elsewhere and a lot of regular patrons & visitors from out of town are going to be exceedingly unhappy.

It is NOT progress to destroy a popular and long established local amenity.

Think again you cold hearted planners.
Have you seen the plans? I am waiting till they come out before passing judgement. In any case, as you do not sit in the cafe, it is the location of the seating that counts. I would like to see any replacement have some covered space.
[quote][p][bold]Poem58[/bold] wrote: The joy of the Cafe being where it is is the VIEW - over the gardens to the Pavillion. It is truly one of the best in Brighton and an absolute pleasure to experience over a cup of tea and slice of fruitcake. Moved elsewhere and a lot of regular patrons & visitors from out of town are going to be exceedingly unhappy. It is NOT progress to destroy a popular and long established local amenity. Think again you cold hearted planners.[/p][/quote]Have you seen the plans? I am waiting till they come out before passing judgement. In any case, as you do not sit in the cafe, it is the location of the seating that counts. I would like to see any replacement have some covered space. HJarrs

9:53am Fri 15 Nov 13

roxinante says...

'create a clear entrance to the estate' ..... there is also the front garden area for that, currently mostly passed by car traffic and people at bus-stops
'create a clear entrance to the estate' ..... there is also the front garden area for that, currently mostly passed by car traffic and people at bus-stops roxinante

5:02pm Fri 15 Nov 13

bug eye says...

roxinante wrote:
'create a clear entrance to the estate' ..... there is also the front garden area for that, currently mostly passed by car traffic and people at bus-stops
I think the idea is to fence off the whole of the gardens and charge to enter the estate, so no cut through for anyone. That is not right as we own it.
[quote][p][bold]roxinante[/bold] wrote: 'create a clear entrance to the estate' ..... there is also the front garden area for that, currently mostly passed by car traffic and people at bus-stops[/p][/quote]I think the idea is to fence off the whole of the gardens and charge to enter the estate, so no cut through for anyone. That is not right as we own it. bug eye

5:21pm Fri 15 Nov 13

chemicaljax says...

The thing about the Pavilion Gardens Cafe is that it is unique - people go there to sit outside & enjoy the view & the general ambience. In this frantic world we live in it's great to have an oasis where one can sit & relax with a cuppa & a rock cake & feel all is well. And it is part of our town's history! I have been coming here for my tea & rock cake since I was a intense teenage beatnik, with my Russian novels, foreign ciggies & head filled with ways to right the world.. The way to right the world (well, Brighton) today is not to destroy a much-loved & iconic Brighton institution - it is SO totally unnecesary! Of course, in the general scheme of things change is necesary in order to progress - but some things should NEVER CHANGE! Please leave alone!
The thing about the Pavilion Gardens Cafe is that it is unique - people go there to sit outside & enjoy the view & the general ambience. In this frantic world we live in it's great to have an oasis where one can sit & relax with a cuppa & a rock cake & feel all is well. And it is part of our town's history! I have been coming here for my tea & rock cake since I was a intense teenage beatnik, with my Russian novels, foreign ciggies & head filled with ways to right the world.. The way to right the world (well, Brighton) today is not to destroy a much-loved & iconic Brighton institution - it is SO totally unnecesary! Of course, in the general scheme of things change is necesary in order to progress - but some things should NEVER CHANGE! Please leave alone! chemicaljax

8:17pm Fri 15 Nov 13

pebble counter says...

I say redevelop the site. I used to live opposite it and to be quite honest it attracted the worst sorts of people, myself included. It stands on about 4.5 acres and could be a prestige development for the hordes of media types who have moved to Brighton in the last 25 years. The council need to think about income/square foot, not heritage and beauty.
I say redevelop the site. I used to live opposite it and to be quite honest it attracted the worst sorts of people, myself included. It stands on about 4.5 acres and could be a prestige development for the hordes of media types who have moved to Brighton in the last 25 years. The council need to think about income/square foot, not heritage and beauty. pebble counter

10:45pm Fri 15 Nov 13

whoee! says...

pebble counter wrote:
I say redevelop the site. I used to live opposite it and to be quite honest it attracted the worst sorts of people, myself included. It stands on about 4.5 acres and could be a prestige development for the hordes of media types who have moved to Brighton in the last 25 years. The council need to think about income/square foot, not heritage and beauty.
what a complete tw4t
[quote][p][bold]pebble counter[/bold] wrote: I say redevelop the site. I used to live opposite it and to be quite honest it attracted the worst sorts of people, myself included. It stands on about 4.5 acres and could be a prestige development for the hordes of media types who have moved to Brighton in the last 25 years. The council need to think about income/square foot, not heritage and beauty.[/p][/quote]what a complete tw4t whoee!

11:36am Sat 16 Nov 13

college says...

elizabethkgonzales wrote:
Now nothing fret regarding earnings. Our Company wants home users for his or her monetary reportings. I created £3576 this Month already...Here is that the website for additional data... www.Bar17.cℴm
come on Argus your moderators are quick enough to pull posts on other threads if they don't like them, why do we have to put up with this get rich scam popping up all all over the site? Are they paying to advertise this cr*p with you?
[quote][p][bold]elizabethkgonzales[/bold] wrote: Now nothing fret regarding earnings. Our Company wants home users for his or her monetary reportings. I created £3576 this Month already...Here is that the website for additional data... www.Bar17.cℴm[/p][/quote]come on Argus your moderators are quick enough to pull posts on other threads if they don't like them, why do we have to put up with this get rich scam popping up all all over the site? Are they paying to advertise this cr*p with you? college

8:10pm Sat 16 Nov 13

jackthekipper says...

we told a mate from newcastle when he asked,that the pavillion was the biggest indian restaurant in the world outside india.be a shame to close it.
how about a whip round led by the shmargus
we told a mate from newcastle when he asked,that the pavillion was the biggest indian restaurant in the world outside india.be a shame to close it. how about a whip round led by the shmargus jackthekipper

1:34am Sun 17 Nov 13

Poem58 says...

Has anyone visited Piccadilly Sq in Manchester since that new office block swallowed up a huge chunk of it?

Cities need green spaces - we have more than enough buildings in our town centre.

Tell the architect from Bristol we rather like Pavillion Gdns the way they are thank you very much.

AND SO DO THE SQUIRRELS!
Has anyone visited Piccadilly Sq in Manchester since that new office block swallowed up a huge chunk of it? Cities need green spaces - we have more than enough buildings in our town centre. Tell the architect from Bristol we rather like Pavillion Gdns the way they are thank you very much. AND SO DO THE SQUIRRELS! Poem58

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