Preston Barracks revamp could include hi-tech start-up business centre

The Argus: Preston Barracks Preston Barracks

A cutting-edge business centre for start-up firms could form the centrepiece of a multi-million-pound redevelopment of Brighton's Preston Barracks.

After years sitting empty, developers are moving forward with plans to transform the old barracks in Lewes Road.

Working with the University of Brighton, the Cathedral Group is now in talks to buy the 2.2-hectare site from Brighton and Hove City Council.

In return, it will create a Growth Centre for newly formed hi-tech manufacturing firms. Detailed projections claim it will provide 740 new jobs over a ten-year period.

The development of the wider area, including the university’s Watts and Cockcroft buildings, will lead to the creation of 350 homes alongside 1,288 student flats and 515 car parking spaces.

Richard Upton, chief executive of Cathedral Group, which is also leading separate £100 million plans for Circus Street, Brighton, said: “Brighton is one of the most forward-thinking cities in the UK.

“Our proposals to build a new community at this crucial northern gateway to the city where the University of Brighton already has a thriving campus, will deliver an opportunity to add significantly to Brighton and Hove’s ability to attract the best students, the best hi-growth companies and the best international investment in the world.”

Preston Barracks was built in 1793 amid fears Napoleon might invade England. But, after a period of decline, it has sat empty for more than 20 years.

The council has been in talks with the University of Brighton about redeveloping the area since 2009.

The latest scheme centres on the Central Research Laboratory to support new hi-tech manufacturing start-up companies as part of wider plans to create a “magnet for innovation” in the academic corridor.

Tomorrow, councillors are set to agree that “a financially viable solution is in reach” and push ahead with bringing the plans to a reality.

Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “Preston Barracks is a really significant site for the city. It has enormous potential in terms of research, employment, redevelopment and new homes. It will not only help business start ups get off the ground but also provide the support they need to flourish.”

Professor Julian Crampton, vice-chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “This is a very exciting proposal for the city and for the University of Brighton – one which will create an attractive location which generates jobs and economic benefit to the city, and will alleviate pressure on the private housing market.”

Comments (17)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:14am Wed 4 Dec 13

The Real Phil says...

It could also include a three hundred story tower block, but it won't.
It could also include a three hundred story tower block, but it won't. The Real Phil

10:14am Wed 4 Dec 13

Mel Shock says...

Would be good to see it devoloped but MORE student housing !!!!!
Would be good to see it devoloped but MORE student housing !!!!! Mel Shock

10:20am Wed 4 Dec 13

roystony says...

An Ikea would be good!
An Ikea would be good! roystony

10:23am Wed 4 Dec 13

The Prophet of Doom says...

Hope no-one wants to get there in a hurry...
Hope no-one wants to get there in a hurry... The Prophet of Doom

10:31am Wed 4 Dec 13

Ed Bassford says...

Contrary to the report - "After years sitting empty" - Preston Barracks has been in use for years as the operating site of half a dozen companies, employing about a hundred people, including Brighton & Hove Community Transport. When the redevelopment gets the go ahead, some thought needs to be given to relocating these organisations, some of whom provide not just jobs, but a vital service to the city.
Contrary to the report - "After years sitting empty" - Preston Barracks has been in use for years as the operating site of half a dozen companies, employing about a hundred people, including Brighton & Hove Community Transport. When the redevelopment gets the go ahead, some thought needs to be given to relocating these organisations, some of whom provide not just jobs, but a vital service to the city. Ed Bassford

10:48am Wed 4 Dec 13

cookie_brighton says...

Mel Shock wrote:
Would be good to see it devoloped but MORE student housing !!!!!
Agree.....as if this city needs more ....NON COUNCIL TAX PAYING students. The old co op London road is being converted to student housing, then you have the student area around the Lewes road triangle and along Lewes road to the university...I can see a further council tax increase for the people of this city to pay for the cleaning up after these students and the policing of the noise most cause......notice I said most, and not all.
[quote][p][bold]Mel Shock[/bold] wrote: Would be good to see it devoloped but MORE student housing !!!!![/p][/quote]Agree.....as if this city needs more ....NON COUNCIL TAX PAYING students. The old co op London road is being converted to student housing, then you have the student area around the Lewes road triangle and along Lewes road to the university...I can see a further council tax increase for the people of this city to pay for the cleaning up after these students and the policing of the noise most cause......notice I said most, and not all. cookie_brighton

10:51am Wed 4 Dec 13

cookie_brighton says...

more student housing........I can already see the drug suppliers of the London road are, once again.........rubbin
g their hands.
more student housing........I can already see the drug suppliers of the London road are, once again.........rubbin g their hands. cookie_brighton

11:00am Wed 4 Dec 13

pachallis says...

Mel Shock wrote:
Would be good to see it devoloped but MORE student housing !!!!!
@Mel - but isn't Sussex University planning a £500m expansion and taking on 5,000 more students over the next five years?

And I understand that building student accommodation is a nice little earner if you are investing - I received an email last week for a development in Southampton offering 7% return guaranteed for 5 years.

I just hope they provide enough parking spaces - 515 spaces for 350 homes and 1,288 student flats does seem a bit low.
[quote][p][bold]Mel Shock[/bold] wrote: Would be good to see it devoloped but MORE student housing !!!!![/p][/quote]@Mel - but isn't Sussex University planning a £500m expansion and taking on 5,000 more students over the next five years? And I understand that building student accommodation is a nice little earner if you are investing - I received an email last week for a development in Southampton offering 7% return guaranteed for 5 years. I just hope they provide enough parking spaces - 515 spaces for 350 homes and 1,288 student flats does seem a bit low. pachallis

11:32am Wed 4 Dec 13

wippasnapper says...

Is it not right to build new homes for the many that need them O’ no lets build a cutting-edge business center sorry to say it but there has been a billboard up on Preston Barracks site for god knows how many years stating Development of mix homes yet now we read the developers are in talks with nun other than the University of Brighton so what’s the bet they will squeeze in some more STUDENT accommodation SORRY but this is wrong this site should be made available to build a mix of council & housing assignation affordable homes not ANOTHER office complex that will site empty.

I’m going to pop down there an take a photo of the old billboard because I’m less than impressed by the proposal! To witch I shall post on my google page witch is licked to most B&H councilors i.e. if this is what the site was intended for it should remain as such and not another University development.
Is it not right to build new homes for the many that need them O’ no lets build a cutting-edge business center sorry to say it but there has been a billboard up on Preston Barracks site for god knows how many years stating Development of mix homes yet now we read the developers are in talks with nun other than the University of Brighton so what’s the bet they will squeeze in some more STUDENT accommodation SORRY but this is wrong this site should be made available to build a mix of council & housing assignation affordable homes not ANOTHER office complex that will site empty. I’m going to pop down there an take a photo of the old billboard because I’m less than impressed by the proposal! To witch I shall post on my google page witch is licked to most B&H councilors i.e. if this is what the site was intended for it should remain as such and not another University development. wippasnapper

1:06pm Wed 4 Dec 13

s_james says...

Would people rather more family homes were converted to student HMOs? This is clearly an ideal location for student housing, being adjacent to the university. The vast majority won’t have cars – they won’t need them and won’t be able to afford them.

Getting things moving on this site is a good news story and should be welcomed.
Would people rather more family homes were converted to student HMOs? This is clearly an ideal location for student housing, being adjacent to the university. The vast majority won’t have cars – they won’t need them and won’t be able to afford them. Getting things moving on this site is a good news story and should be welcomed. s_james

1:09pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Bob_The_Ferret says...

Comes complete with its own traffic jam on the Lewes Road!
Comes complete with its own traffic jam on the Lewes Road! Bob_The_Ferret

1:25pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Mr P Brown says...

roystony wrote:
An Ikea would be good!
On Lewes Road? I think the council have made it impossible for that to ever happen
[quote][p][bold]roystony[/bold] wrote: An Ikea would be good![/p][/quote]On Lewes Road? I think the council have made it impossible for that to ever happen Mr P Brown

2:05pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Mel Shock says...

There needs to be more affordable housing for everyone else that lives in Brighton, there are full time residents not just students.
Key workers need affordable living, 1st time buyers etc.......often these proposals have to provide an element of key worker housing but often only provide a handful to get round the requirement.
This site does need something doing to it as Wippasnappa says there has been a board up promising housing for years and nothing ever came of it.......so on the one hand it is good and an ideal site for student accoms but what with the old Co-op building and the proposal of a tower block opp the college (remove the car park build student accoms) and the new flats on the open market old site do we not have enough ?
Perhaps if we could rely on the many landlords in Brighton to regenerate their run down flats to a better living condition then we could start to have more housing for others as well.........
There needs to be more affordable housing for everyone else that lives in Brighton, there are full time residents not just students. Key workers need affordable living, 1st time buyers etc.......often these proposals have to provide an element of key worker housing but often only provide a handful to get round the requirement. This site does need something doing to it as Wippasnappa says there has been a board up promising housing for years and nothing ever came of it.......so on the one hand it is good and an ideal site for student accoms but what with the old Co-op building and the proposal of a tower block opp the college (remove the car park build student accoms) and the new flats on the open market old site do we not have enough ? Perhaps if we could rely on the many landlords in Brighton to regenerate their run down flats to a better living condition then we could start to have more housing for others as well......... Mel Shock

5:59pm Wed 4 Dec 13

WhatsNotToLike says...

In the original consultation some 17 years ago the local community were promised a community space, some 700 homes and small business lockups to provide a space for people to start new business opportunities. The Uni at the time wanted to also build an IT centre, to which the local community would also have access to use. I see that has all gone out the window, again in favour of the total 'Studentification' of the Lewes Road corridor.

Building on the Cockcroft and Mithras house car parks was always to follow along with the facade of both sides of the Lewes Road becoming glass fronted shop fronts. I take it they have again consulted with the immediate community around the site? It say's it will 'project' 74 jobs a year over 10 years - doing what exactly? Teaching the students? The only good thing would be the many trades people who could benefit out of the build itself..not much after that.
In the original consultation some 17 years ago the local community were promised a community space, some 700 homes and small business lockups to provide a space for people to start new business opportunities. The Uni at the time wanted to also build an IT centre, to which the local community would also have access to use. I see that has all gone out the window, again in favour of the total 'Studentification' of the Lewes Road corridor. Building on the Cockcroft and Mithras house car parks was always to follow along with the facade of both sides of the Lewes Road becoming glass fronted shop fronts. I take it they have again consulted with the immediate community around the site? It say's it will 'project' 74 jobs a year over 10 years - doing what exactly? Teaching the students? The only good thing would be the many trades people who could benefit out of the build itself..not much after that. WhatsNotToLike

6:57pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Maxwell's Ghost says...

Ha ha ha ha. 550 car parking spaces. So much for public transport. What was the point of spending millions on the new bus and cycle lane. Laughable. Student houses with student parking spaces built by a uni which the council has just spent millions providing a repainted cycle lane for.
Even more laughable is the suggestion that manufacturing companies would want to locate at what is now the most congested spot in the city. Not a chance. The uni is pulling your leg. It will be student flats and student parking.
I hope it dumps them out of the family homes and communities so they can all locate in one herd of animals.
Ha ha ha ha. 550 car parking spaces. So much for public transport. What was the point of spending millions on the new bus and cycle lane. Laughable. Student houses with student parking spaces built by a uni which the council has just spent millions providing a repainted cycle lane for. Even more laughable is the suggestion that manufacturing companies would want to locate at what is now the most congested spot in the city. Not a chance. The uni is pulling your leg. It will be student flats and student parking. I hope it dumps them out of the family homes and communities so they can all locate in one herd of animals. Maxwell's Ghost

9:23pm Wed 4 Dec 13

HJarrs says...

If Cathedral Group's other projects are anything to go by then we have pretty much got the best development we are going to get on this site; the Circus Street development looks pretty good.

One development will always barely make a dent into the problems of housing and transport in the city, but this is 350 homes that do not exist today and 1200 students that will not be renting houses in the rest of the city (something that always exercises the moanerati, who would love to drive students out of town and ensure that the city sees little or no benefit from having two universities). There is mixed use space, students are close to the Uni and there are good bus and train services and major cycle route right on the doorstep.

I await to see more details before passing final judgement, it would be nice to see some social housing on the site, however I think this already sounds pretty good.
If Cathedral Group's other projects are anything to go by then we have pretty much got the best development we are going to get on this site; the Circus Street development looks pretty good. One development will always barely make a dent into the problems of housing and transport in the city, but this is 350 homes that do not exist today and 1200 students that will not be renting houses in the rest of the city (something that always exercises the moanerati, who would love to drive students out of town and ensure that the city sees little or no benefit from having two universities). There is mixed use space, students are close to the Uni and there are good bus and train services and major cycle route right on the doorstep. I await to see more details before passing final judgement, it would be nice to see some social housing on the site, however I think this already sounds pretty good. HJarrs

11:10pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Maxwell's Ghost says...

And 550 parking spaces........ha, ha, ha. Brilliant.
Plus the additional parkers who will use nearby streets as happens in every other area.
You couldn't make it up. It's a shame the council couldn't find space for 550 cars to park and ride. This was the funniest thing I've read in a long time.
And 550 parking spaces........ha, ha, ha. Brilliant. Plus the additional parkers who will use nearby streets as happens in every other area. You couldn't make it up. It's a shame the council couldn't find space for 550 cars to park and ride. This was the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Maxwell's Ghost

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree