International arena plans for Brighton seafront are to be dropped – nearly a decade after they were first proposed.

Last month The Argus exclusively revealed that Brighton and Hove City Council was considering pulling out of a deal with Brighton International Arena for the derelict Black Rock site.

After the recession-affected developers dramatically scaled back the plans, the local authority has confirmed it will now look elsewhere.

Fresh ideas for the key site, both permanent and temporary, will now be invited for the land, currently behind graffiti-clad boards.

A decision will be taken at a town hall meeting on Thursday, July 12, after a cross-party project board reports its findings.

Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “Various administrations have been trying for many years to help developers get this scheme started. I think we need to be realistic if we’re to put this site to a good use which benefits the city.”

The local authority first gave its backing to the arena plans in 2003 but a firm agreement was not made with developer David Pople until 2007.


A planning application has never been submitted.

Recent meetings between the council and the developers have seen revised plans submitted. But this has seen the original 10,000-seater arena scaled back to a 3,000 capacity and housing numbers up from 111 to 209.

The local authority will agree not to renew the exclusivity agreement when it expires at the end of this month.

Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown said: “The Brighton Arena scheme as currently put forward has unfortunately changed beyond recognition from what was originally agreed by the council and so it is only right that others are given the chance to bring their ideas forward.”

Labour group leader Gill Mitchell said: “Things have dragged on for too long and there is an opportunity now to get it right.”