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King Alfred site plan could be revived
The future of the King Alfred Leisure Centre site in Hove has remained in a stagnant position for nearly five years after the collapse of the £290 million Gehry towers scheme.
However, developers have now started to show an interest in regenerating the area.
It comes as landowners Brighton and Hove City Council agreed to look at establishing a cross-party panel of councillors to look into its future.
Council leader Jason Kitcat told The Argus: “Lots of developers have shown possible interest in the site but nothing beyond sketched ideas have been prepared so far.
“The King Alfred is a big site with plenty of potential and I’m delighted there’s a strong desire from the developer community to get involved.
“A cross-party project board is being set up to progress options for the site and look at the wider picture of how to best provide a new sports centre.”
The Argus understands at least two firms have shown an interest in developing the site in recent weeks.
It is believed one is looking for finance from the continent to provide a community centre, an auditorium and housing.
Another is understood to be a firm based in Sussex.
It comes a week after the King’s School said it had the site as its primary target for a new free secondary school to open in September 2013.
The local authority’s City Plan, which will guide development in Brighton and Hove until 2030 and is currently being consulted on, lists the site as a key area for redevelopment.
It states securing the redevelopment would lead to new indoor public wet and dry sports facilities which provide for the “local Hove communities and contribute to the wider mix of facilities in the city”.
The document also says the council wants 400 homes on the site which would be mixed use and potentially include shops, a café, a restaurant or community facilities.
The former development, which collapsed in 2008, was to have delivered a new sports centre, 751 flats and a new public realm.
Central to it was the Frank Gehry Towers, which would have been the renowned architect’s first building in England but proved divisive among the community.
Valerie Paynter, of campaign group Save Hove, which opposed the plans for the Gehry Towers, said the seafront was not right for leisure facilities.
She said: “The development that was right in 1938 is not right for 2012.
“It’s nearly a century on and it’s essential that leisure facilities are more centrally located somewhere in the vicinity of Hove station.”
The local authority is accepting comments on the City Plan until midnight on Monday, July 23.
For more details call 01273 292505 or visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ldf .
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