UNIVERSITY of Brighton vice-chancellor Professor Debra Humphris took the controls of an excavator during a visit to the first stage of the £300m redevelopment of the Preston Barracks site in Moulsecoomb, Brighton.

Professor Humphris said: “It is exciting to see work being carried out on the first phase of the fantastic redevelopment of the old Preston Barracks and our Moulsecoomb campus sites.”

A new Central Research Laboratory, innovation and business start-up hub will replace the old FIELD building.

There will also be 500 extra student bedrooms in privately-managed accommodation on the site.

University land adjoining the site and across the street will see the development of 800 student bedrooms in new halls, new Students’ Union facilities, fitness facilities, a new academic building, multi-storey car park and space for 1,000 cycles.

The main construction works will run from this summer to the spring of 2020.

The development, by the University in partnership with developers U+I and Brighton & Hove City Council, will create over 1,500 jobs and attract over £500 million into the city over the next ten years.