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Developers praise Brighton and Hove Council's flexible attitude
Developers have hailed a ‘can-do’ attitude from city planners. Brighton property developers Centurion Group hosted a question time debate on the regeneration and development aspects of the Brighton and Hove City Plan.
About 70 representatives from Sussex property development firms debated issues including the i360 project, the future of Brighton Marina, the further community engagement that Brighton College can provide and the methods that the council are taking to address the strategic sites that have failed to come to fruition.
The event was chaired by managing director of Brighton and Hove Bus Company, Roger French, with panel members comprising Brighton and Hove City Council’s head of planning and public protection Martin Randall, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Brighton Colin Monk, Scott Marshall of This is Regeneration Ltd, The Brighton Society’s Selma Montford and Paul Westbrook, bursar of Brighton College.
Tony Mernagh, executive director at the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said the City Plan will be one of the most important documents to be published in the city in the next two decades. He said: “It’s great to see a local company Centurion backed by Sprunt willingly working with the Economic Partnership to facilitate meaningful debate in the city.
“There appears to be a good grasp all round about the scale of the development challenges that the city faces and every square metre of land will have to be used strategically.
“All parties will have to keep an open mind and be prepared to be flexible.
“The council seems to be genuine in its desire to see homes and employment space built. We will have to work closely with our neighbours to meet all our needs, especially for housing, and there has to be a quid pro quo for them as well.”
Developer Scott Marshall, boss at This is Regeneration, said: “The core message I took from the event is that the council wants to be flexible with developers where possible. “It is credit to the councillors that they spoke at the meeting as it is well–known that developers can be intimidating to meet face-to-face. The event demonstrated a ‘can do’ attitude in the city.”
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “The event acknowledged the progress our administration has made in unlocking projects which have previously been long delayed, such as the i360, Saltdean Lido and the Circus Street site. “We re-affirmed our desire to be flexible to ensure projects keep coming forward. I was delighted by the desire from participants at the event to work with us in delivering high quality developments that meet the city’s ambitions.”
Ed Allison-Wright, director at Centurion Group, said: “I was delighted to see such a great turnout of both global developers and key local stakeholders at our event.
“The debate has been filmed and our intention is to present this to the general public for greater community wide engagement of what was an exciting and passionate debate.”
Robert Sprunt, executive chairman at Sprunt, said: “Two years ago, Sprunt recognised the opportunity to work with a credible local company, Centurion Group, and our relationship has gone from strength to strength in the sole aim, which is to create sustainable developments for Brighton and Hove.”