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Brighton's Diplocks Yard under threat from office plans
The future of Brighton's Diplocks Yard appears uncertain after plans have been submitted to convert it into office space.
The ramshackle yard off Brighton's North Road is currently home to a popular weekend farmers' market but developers want to convert the space into eight office units.
Organisers of the market say they don't fear for the immediate future but traders have raised concerns about the potential loss of a unique space.
The site was formerly a barrow yard and for 60 years until 1975 was used a site where barrows or hand trucks were hired out to totters or rag-and-bone men.
It has been home to a farmers market since August 2010 and was home to vintage market The Yard between 2011 and last summer following a change of ownership of the site.
The site was hailed as an exemplar of its kind by then Government minister Don Foster in 2012.
Maxine Michaelides, who ran The Yard vintage market, said: “I think it will be extremely sad, a waste and unnecessary. The yard is a connection to old Brighton and what residents want.
“I would like to see it remain as it is and be developed into a seven day a week market. The Lanes and Brighton would benefit from a market staying there.
“There are a lot of creative people in Brighton and the yard gave them an affordable place to sell their items.”
A spokesman for Farm, which runs the market as well as a cafe further down North Road, said they were not making any contingency plans just yet and that it would remain business as usual until they were told otherwise.
He said: “I don't envision anything happening here for a couple of years.
“There have been plans before and they have fallen through so we will just keep going.
“It is a very unique space and it would be a shame if it was lost.
“I don't see how they will convert it and it is quite complicated, somebody else owns the front door so that could take a while to sort out.”
Brighton-based CJ Planning have drawn up plans for the conversion on behalf of Sussex Property Investments Ltd.
The 310 square metres of office space is proposed to be arranged as eight individual units with units set over two floors with the upper half as a mezzanine and two ground floor only units.
Developers say that traditional small office and workshop space has been lost in the area meaning the cost of renting space within the newly developed commercial space is prohibitive for the small business market.
A decision is expected on April 23.
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