A RESTORATION project has been given a major lift after receiving almost half-a-million pounds in government funding.

The huge sum has been awarded to Brighton and Hove City Council to support work on the Royal Pavilion Estate regeneration project.

It will be used to fund the refurbishments of Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange and Studio Theatres.

The Grade I listed Corn Exchange was built in the early 19th century for the Prince Regent as his riding house and supper room, and features unique heritage features including the widest span timber frame in the country. The restoration of the site began in 2017.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman described the refurbishment as the "first phase" of a "wider project to reaffirm Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate".

The Argus:

He said: "Our longer-term vision aims to reunite the historic estate to create a centre for heritage, culture and the performing arts which reflects the unique spirit of Brighton.

"It is anticipated that the revitalised Royal Pavilion Estate will support 1,241 full-time jobs and have an economic impact of £68m."

The new grant, which totals £458,920, was granted to the city council by Arts Council England's (ACE).

It is part of a £1.57 billion investment by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which aims to tackle the crisis facing cultural organisations and heritage sites.

The Argus:

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said: "This award will help us continue the vital restoration of some of our most important heritage buildings.

"There is no doubt that Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on our timetabled work as social distancing has meant scaling back and the finances of both the council and our cultural partners have been severely affected."

Brighton Dome has also received a further donation of £100,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation (a family-founded, charitable grant-making foundation) in addition to their original leadership gift of £250,000 in 2016.

The Argus:

Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, said: "Like so many other arts organisations in the city and across the country, Brighton Dome has faced financial challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The refurbishment of these historically important venues remains a beacon of hope in our future plans for bringing the arts back to our audiences and communities and to reinvigorate the city’s cultural recovery."

The city council has estimated that the redevelopment of Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange and Studio Theatres will be completed in autumn, 2021.

The Argus:

The venue will have improved access for visitors, staff and performers, as well as new accessible toilets, hearing assistance systems and a public lift providing wheelchair access to all levels of the buildings.

A new "Creative Space" will be available for community groups and emerging artists to use for developing new work.