THE PROSPECT of residents pursuing their childhood dreams of taking on the Crystal Maze look set to be dashed.

Brighton and Hove City Council officers have recommended councillors refuse plans to convert the former Hollingbury Custody Centre into an “immersive adventure experience” inspired by the cult Channel Four programme.

Officials said applicant Matsim had not shown sufficient evidence there was no interest in retaining the building as offices and recommended it should remain on the market for longer before it could be proved it was not viable for that use.

The developer had hoped to turn more than 22,000 square feet over two floors in to a venue similar to the Crystal Maze in London and Manchester, creating 40 jobs.

It was proposed the centre would open 9am to 9pm Monday to Saturdays and 9am to 7pm on Sundays offering customers two adventure routes for teams of up to eight to pursue.

Customers would be collected from themed pick-up points, including Brighton, Lewes and Falmer railway stations.

The applicant said the building does not offer enough natural light to continue be used as offices by a new tenant and would require significant investment.

However, planning policy officers said the Hollingbury Industrial Estate was protected for business, manufacturing and warehouses and demand for such spaces remained very high.

They said: “It is has not been demonstrated by the applicant that there is no reasonable prospect of the premises, which is undergoing refurbishment, being used for the allocated employment use.”

The “Crystal Maze” plans were welcomed by tourism and leisure officers who said it would positively enhance the city’s year-round facilities.

Matsim offered to open up the former custody centre – which has been vacant since September – to rough sleepers earlier this year.

The firm was successful in April with an application to improve the “tired” appearance of the building’s exterior with modern cladding.

The planning committee meeting in Hove Town Hall on Wednesday could spell a second setback for Matsim in a matter of weeks.

In June, the Balcombe-based firm had a £70 million scheme for more than 180 homes in Hove Gardens, near to Hove station, rejected.