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John Lewis lined up for Hove Station £100m redevelopment
The “nation's favourite retailer” is being lined up as the cornerstone of a £100 million redevelopment of a rundown area.
The Argus understands that developer Matsim Properties is in negotiations to secure John Lewis for a site near Hove station.
The developer has been working for three years to secure a six-hectare plot which includes Ellen Street, Conway Street and Fonthill Road.
The plans, which have been dubbed Hove Square, include 90,000sq ft of office space for about 1,250 jobs, a nine-screen Vue cinema, a 22-storey building, supermarket and about 380 homes in five high-rise blocks.
News that John Lewis could be coming to the city has been welcomed by business leaders.
Tony Mernagh, executive director of Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “If John Lewis is ever going to come to Brighton and Hove this is our best chance.
“The whole development could be fabulous for Hove and perhaps lift Hove out of the shadow of Brighton.”
As developers released new images of the scheme, they called it a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to transform the area.
Andy Lambor, managing director of Matsim, said: “We believe the proposed development will breathe new life into an area that currently does not live up to its location and potential.
“We want to create a new and exciting district for Hove, one that will be the most modern, high tech part of the city, creating a 21st century focus for living, working and relaxing.
“We believe our proposed development will have an important role to play in contributing to economic growth and prosperity in the local community and beyond.”
Any plan is subject to planning permission from Brighton and Hove City Council, but developers are hopeful work could start by early 2014.
Mr Lambor added: “While we have a clear vision of the dynamic and visually exciting scheme we want to create and we have ideas of the interaction with the various uses, as yet we have not agreed terms with any actual occupiers.
“This is a conscious decision to allow us to respond to the various reports and consultations that are taking place as part of the planning process.”
An exhibition will open next week, displaying the plans.
Valerie Paynter, of campaign group Save Hove, said: “It could be a huge asset or your worst nightmare come true.
“I have grave fears about the site being too landlocked to take the amount of development that’s proposed.
“I also do not think people realise what 400 homes will look like on that site.”
Ms Paynter urged people to be wary of what feedback they gave as it could be used as the basis for any planning application.
Brighton-based architects LCE, which won a competition to redesign the area, said a planning application could be submitted by the end of this month.
The scheme is directly tied to the successful sale of The Argus headquarters in Hollingbury to Brighton and Hove Buses.
The bus company would turn the Hollingbury site into a depot, freeing up its current Conway Street site for development.
A spokesman for Newsquest, the parent company of The Argus, said the newspaper offices would be relocated to somewhere within the city boundary.
The proposal is designed around a new pedestrian route, New Conway Street, which passes through the middle of the development with Hove Station at one end and Sackville Road at the other.
Cafes, restaurants and other shops will be included.
The new buildings are expected to have environmentally-friendly “green roofs” while under croft parking will be provided.
Road improvements are planned to the north of the site and there are ongoing talks about upgrading the council-owned high-rise housing to
However, the current proposals do not meet the guidelines for the area in the draft City Plan, which will guide development until 2030.
It states it should provide a minimum of 575 homes and 4,000sqm employment floor space.
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “While I welcome improvements to the area I do have concerns about some of the ways Matsim propose to use the site, which fall short of what we were anticipating: it has less space for employment and far more retail than we expected.
“I don’t believe this city needs yet another large supermarket backed by 800 parking spaces.
“I hope the developers will revise their proposals and consider alternatives of greater benefit to local resi- dents and answering the real needs of Hove.”
An exhibition with the plans will be on show at Matsim’s headquarters in Ellen Road, Hove, from Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm.
There will also be an evening opening from 6pm to 8pm on Wednesday.
Architects will be available to speak to about the scheme on Wednesday evening and Friday.
For more details visit www.hovesquare.com or call 01273 777750.