TIMES are tough on the high street.

Shops are closing, Brexit is adding to the uncertainty and the competition from online retail is bigger than ever.

Step forward Hanningtons Lane in the heart of Brighton.

Work is almost complete on Brighton’s newest Lane and retailers are starting to fit out their units ready for opening in April.

Redevco is transforming the site into an new retail and cultural destination.

Habitat joined brands such as the White Company, Kurt Geiger, Sandro, Maje, Cath Kidston and Flying Tiger in November.

New stores have been created in North Street and on the site of a former service yard, a new Lane is emerging, which will link into the existing Lanes and includes Puget’s Cottage, a historic building that has been restored to its former glory.

A mix of tenants will sit alongside existing independents such as Choccywoccydoodah, Riddle and Finns, Donatello and Frames In The Lanes.

The new Hanningtons Lane features a uniquely designed environment which embraces the best of the Lanes.

Every shopfront, elevation and colour has been individually designed to provide “an immersive and engaging experience” with shops sitting alongside new residential apartments and office space.

Habitat’s managing director Clare Askem is enthusiastic about the future.

She said: “We have had a phenomenal response from customers, recording one of our strongest ever opening weeks and seeing sales continue to grow during the busy winter period.

“Our city centre location, exciting store design and collaborations with local artists have really connected with customers here, drawing new shoppers and design fans to North Street.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming many more as the Hanningtons Estate is completed.”

Gingerman Restaurants will open The Flint House soon.

The new “baby” of husband and wife team Ben and Pamela McKellar, the restaurant will offer a different feel and menu to its Ginger cousins.

Pamela said: “We’ll have the same great suppliers but a different style of dining, with small plates, beautiful wines by the glass and cocktails made upstairs in the bar area.

“We want to create the perfect place for food, drinks and a get-together with friends.

“We’re very much hoping to make this a glamorous space to eat and drink in the heart of the town.”

Inside the beautiful two-storey, flint-clad building, designed by local architect Morgan Carn, the McKellars are creating “a bright light airy space filled with green plants during the day and candles and soft lighting in the evenings”.

The colour palate includes greens, greys and charcoals, with fabrics from House of Hackney, lighting from Belgian company Wever and Ducre and plant design from Go Botanica.

Dishes include scrumpy battered oysters with apple puree, shaved Hispi with brown shrimps and dill, large tiger prawns with crispy garlic, ham croquettes with mustard mayo, flattened chicken with honey soy and pea shoots and beetroot tartare.

Andrew Foulds is portfolio director at Redevco, the owner and developer of the Hanningtons Estate.

He said: “In addition to all this recent activity and as we approach completion, we are delighted to announce that the latest retailer to sign up to Hanningtons Estate is Watches of Switzerland for North Street.

“Their new showroom will be home to brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Tag Heuer, Cartier and Breitling.

“This is a fantastic brand and another great endorsement of our scheme.

“The Lanes attract shoppers from all over the world and our retailers recognise that this a fantastic and unique place to spend time and shop.

“They are investing in Brighton and Hanningtons Estate because they have bought into our exciting vision for this area.

“We can’t wait to share this experience with shoppers and are planning some exciting new collaborations and events over the coming months.

“If you are a compelling brand who could add to a carefully curated retail mix, we want to hear from you.”

Fashion, homeware and gift store Oliver Bonas, which is currently in nearby Bond Street, has signed a ten-year lease on a 3,295sqft store across ground floor and basement.

Oliver Tress, founder and managing director, said: “We are so excited to relocate to a larger space in the Hanningtons development.

“Our team of designers have created a unique and inviting store in the heart of Brighton’s Lanes and we can’t wait to open our doors. This is going to be good and a huge boost for our economy.”

Andrew said: “Hanningtons Lane is at the heart of all the action and will bring Brighton’s young, creative and affluent crowds together to explore, meet, eat, drink and shop. It will blend pioneering fashion, cutting-edge art and inspiring food.”