HUNDREDS of jobs would be created in two multi-million pound developments which would see a bus company move to a new state-of-the-art depot. Brighton and Hove Bus Company wants to move from its current base in Conway Street, Hove.
The firm’s new headquarters would be in Crowhurst Road, Hollingbury, Brighton, at the current home of The Argus.
The Argus is actively searching for a new base in Brighton. Under the bus company’s plans the Hollingbury site would comprise about 30,000 sq ft of office space. About half of the existing site would be demolished. About 450 staff would move from Conway Street and an extra 50 jobs a year created at the company. Meanwhile the Conway Street site would be transformed into a development of homes, offices and a leisure complex creating several hundred jobs. Details of the scheme will be finalised in an architects’ competition launched by Hove-based property developer Matsim Properties. The development will comprise Ellen Street, Conway Street and Fonthill Road.
Roger French, managing director of the bus company, said it has agreed terms to purchase the long leasehold interest of Argus House in Crowhurst Road. The deal is subject to a change of use to a headquarters bus depot. The plans have been drawn up because the Conway Street base is no longer large enough.
Mr French said: “This is a very exciting opportunity which will enable us to invest in the expansion of our bus network and to create jobs in the city.” The new depot would be built by Matsim Properties Ltd which would acquire the old depot at Conway Street for redevelopment.
Andrew Lambor, director of Matsim Properties, said the Conway Street development would create several hundred jobs.
He said: “This is a very exciting project that should be a win-win for Brighton and Hove. “A modern sustainable bus depot for the bus company is long overdue and the site in Conway Street, which is next to Hove Station, offers exciting possibilities to improve this part of Hove.”
Craig Ritchie, also a director at Matsim, said the firm will soon unveil details of an architectural competition to find the most appropriate use of the Conway Street site.
He said there are three owners of sites in the area, Matsim Properties, Brighton and Hove Bus Company and Brighton and Hove City Council.
Mr Ritchie said Matsim will discuss its plans with about ten tenants and that the development would take place in three phases. He added: “We own the adjoining land which potentially gives us the opportunity to create a six-acre development. The challenge for the architects is to exploit the benefits of the area around Hove Station which currently does not fulfil true potential. It’s an incredibly exciting prospect.”
An Argus spokesman said: “The bus company’s interest in Argus House enables us to look for alternative premises that are more suitable to our business.
“That search will centre on Brighton, a city we have been proud to serve for more than 130 years and will continue to do so for many more years to come.”