The regeneration of the London Road area is moving forward in leaps and bounds as new businesses line up to open.

A specially-commissioned website has now launched giving the burgeoning business scene a high-end platform.

And crime and vacancy rates have dropped in the historically neglected area with the introduction of liaison officers.

The progress comes five months after the launch of the £83,000 Portas Pilot scheme – one of 15 across the country.

The unit vacancy rate in the area has gone from 16% in 2012 to 9% in 2013 with at least nine notable businesses opening.

These include the much-hyped burger restaurant MEATLiquor and ethical supermarket HiSbe, both in York Place. More recently Moe’s@TheCircus cafe has opened in Clyde Road, and Alcampo Lounge is due to open in London Road.

And The Hare and Hounds, 75 London Road, has been bought up by Brighton and Hove pub chain and Sussex brewery supporters Indigo Pub Company.

The refurbished pub is set to reopen in the spring in Indigo’s signature style with a range of craft ales.

Popular Mexican street food restaurant La Choza will also run the kitchen.

A town team has been set up to manage and plan the future of the area by coordinating with independent retailers, multiple outlets, landlords and community groups.

Brighton and Hove design agency Osomi was commissioned to develop the Visit London Road website and branding.

The site provides each business with a personal page to advertise deals, news and events.

Town centre liaison officers have also been appointed to tackle theft and antisocial behaviour, support businesses and reassure shoppers.

Additional funding of £10,000 from the Arts Council has been secured to support the pilot and Brighton and Hove City Council’s Economic Development Team has funded the Portas bid, consultation and meeting costs to date.

Meanwhile a major re-development turning the old Co-op building into retail outlets and managed student accommodation is moving forward.

'The changing face of Brighton'

Spearheading the artistic rejuvenation of London Road has been theatre, café, bar and exhibition hub Emporium.

With the support of the 100-year-old arthouse cinema the Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Emporium has brought culture back to the area after opening eight months ago.

Artistic director James Weicz said: “Since we first opened our doors and Emporium was the only new business on the high street, we've seen loads of exciting and dynamic business following our lead, building a vibrant London Road. It is thrilling to see.

“We love providing for the local community and seeing a variety of people enjoying Emporium.

“Our cafe is only a part of the business, and when a show is on it is exciting to have audiences travel far and wide to see our productions.”

The arrival of popular La Choza at the Hare and Hounds in spring will give the area another premier eatery on top of BBQ Shack at the World’s End, Troll’s Pantry at The Hobgoblin and MEATLiquor, which has led to the nickname ‘meat street’.

Aoife Sweeney, co-owner of La Choza, said: “We were looking for a new premises and this opportunity came up.

“We’ve had an amazing, runaway success on Gloucester Road and London Road is really exciting.

“It’s the changing face of Brighton, there’s loads going on down there.”

Further down Preston Road is Cafe Metropolis which opened five months ago.

Manager Natalia Wolkowska said: “We’re getting more and more people coming in.

“We’re a bit invisible at the moment but people are passing by and it’s getting better.

“More places are opening. I think it’s going to be a really cool area.”

Aaron Holmes opened small boutique hair salon Shanti Haus in Preston Road six months ago.

He said: “It does feel like there are a few nice things around this way.

“Building up the business has been quite tough but once the student accommodation is finished it should change.”