The first detailed plans that supporters hope will lead to the £35 million transformation of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate have been unveiled.
A planning application submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council focuses on a major refurbishment of the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre.
In the first step towards the multimillion-pound masterplan, the initial proposals include improvements to the Studio Theatre, including a new creation space and ground-floor bar-cafe opening on to New Road.
The Corn Exchange will have better facilities, while seating will be increased from 320 to 500.
A new viewing gallery, audience circulation spaces, additional offices, back-of-house accommodation, storage, toilets, catering and a service tunnel linking all venues will also be built, if the scheme is given permission to go ahead.
The new Studio Theatre cafe will open on to New Road, with outdoor seating stretching around the corner into Pavilion Gardens.
The outside terrace will replace unsightly bin stores on the corner of New Road and the access road ramp.
The cafe bar floor will be brought up to street level with lowered window sills to attract customers and enliven the area.
A new copper canopy will wrap around the building, covering the exterior seating to blur the cafe bar and street edge further.
The Max Miller statue will remain where it is.
Alterations to the Corn Exchange will include retractable seating beneath a new balcony and replacement roof coverings.
A balcony overlooking the new Corn Exchange Gallery will be shared by the Studio Theatre and the new Creation Space, which can be viewed from the Corn Exchange.
Internal work will include the demolition of a single-storey link building and erection of a three-storey infill extension to the west of the Corn Exchange, which will incorporate new foyers, a bar, box office, toilets, production space, public stairs and lifts.
Warren-like link corridors accumulated ad hoc in the last century will be demolished.
The work will have no visual impact from the outside, according to a heritage report.
The master plan for the redevelopment of the Royal Pavilion Estate was dealt a blow earlier this year after a bid for £14 million of Heritage Lottery Funding was turned down.
The £35 million plan has benefited from £5.8 million from the Arts Council and may now take a phased approach with new, separate lottery bids.