About the site

The two hectare former Gasworks site is next to the A259 coast road and in the area of Black Rock, Brighton Marina and East Brighton Park.

Housing surrounds much of the site and immediately to the north west there are a number of small industrial units at Bell Tower Industrial Estate.

Currently the site is mostly given over to temporary uses such as storage, parking and light industrial uses. Two redundant gasometers and supporting gas infrastructure remain on land owned by the National Grid and St William.

The A259 which serves the site is a primary route into the city. The main entrance is from Boundary Road, with a secondary access from Marina Way.

How it is owned

The land is owned by the National Grid and the developer St William. The site will be developed by St William, a joint venture between Berkeley Homes and the National Grid that specialises in complex regeneration sites in London and the South East.

There are strips of land to the north and south of the main site that are owned by the city council.

The planning application

We have not received a planning application for this development.

We have been having discussions with the applicant about the proposal, involving a range of specialists and the Design South-East panel.

There’s no statutory requirement for the developer to engage with the local community at this stage. We recommend the developer continues to engage proactively with the local community before submitting a planning application.

The council expects an application to be submitted in the summer.

Following submission residents will be consulted and be able to comment on the detailed proposal before it goes before the planning committee for a decision on whether to grant or refuse the application.

If submitted in the summer, we expect that the decision could be made by the end of the year.

How the council is involved

Once a formal application has been submitted and validated, we will publicise it by:

  • putting up site notices
  • advertising the application in the newspaper
  • publish it on our website

One of the easiest ways for people to both comment on the application and to receive updates on when key milestones have been reached, is to register with our planning system.

We are finalising a Planning Performance Agreement with the developer that will set out the issues and topics to be worked through. A Planning Performance Agreement is a project management tool which local planning authorities and applicants can use to agree timescales and actions throughout the process, and to ensure that the right resources are in place.

Cleaning up the site

We understand residents’ concerns about plans to redevelop the Gasworks site

Due to the historic industrial use of the site, it will be of paramount importance that the applicant shows that the redevelopment they are proposing can come forward safely, without contamination being released into the environment or affecting people.

The council is engaging specialist environmental consultants to help us assess and review the plans that will be submitted as part of the formal planning application.

As part of any planning permission the developer will need to comply with stringent planning conditions attached to the permission to address safely address the historic land contamination.

All planning applications are determined in line with both local and national planning policy and guidance and relevant planning legislation. In this case, the application will be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment which is a framework for robustly considering impacts on the environment and human health.

The applicant must demonstrate that in redeveloping the site, its contamination has been dealt with to meet stringent standards set nationally. There will be oversight of this by our Environmental Health team, but various other agencies will also be involved, including the Environment Agency and Public Health England.

The conditions set by planning officers are also reviewed at each stage by our environmental health protection team.

Housing

The site was identified for redevelopment as part of the wider Marina, Gas Works and Black Rock area in the council’s City Plan Part One adopted in March 2016.

Policy DA2 allocates the site for a minimum of 85 new homes and 2,000 sqm of employment space.

This means that applications can be submitted for more than 85 homes.

The reason the number of units is expressed as a minimum is that the council was only able to meet 44% of our housing needs through sites identified for housing.

As a result, the government’s Planning Inspector for the City Plan directed the housing requirement for the city should be expressed as a minimum.

Where more units are proposed planning officers will carefully look at the level of development against all policies in the plan, for example design, layout, impact on amenities and travel.

The plan sets a target of 40% affordable housing for large developments. If this can’t be achieved the applicant needs to provide viability evidence to justify the level being reduced. This assessment will be checked by the council’s independent viability assessor.

Tall buildings policy

The principle of allocating the site for intensified use was agreed back in 2016 when our City Plan Part 1 was adopted. This followed exhaustive city-wide consultation.

The site was identified as suitable for tall buildings in the draft Urban Design Framework Supplementary Guidance published last year. This was not in response to the emerging proposals for the Gasworks.

This draft guidance has recently been subject to consultation, and we will be reviewing the status of the site in the light of comments made during the consultation.