6 August 2014

Altered developments approved on two key city centre sites

Alterations to two major redevelopment schemes in Brighton have received approval from the city council’s planning committee today (August 6 2014).

In May 2012, the city council gave permission for the derelict former Astoria cinema in Brighton to be demolished and replaced with an eco-office development which would accommodate around 170 jobs.

The developers have now secured permission to include six flats in the scheme, as well as additional office space in an additional third floor at the rear of the building. The building has been empty since 1997.

Meanwhile, councillors also agreed to changes to a scheme to redevelop the former Buxton’s furniture shop near The Level in Ditchling Road.  Permission was granted in April this year to turn the building into student accommodation with 86 rooms.  Now, consent has been given for a scheme with 58 student rooms, plus two for staff and one for a warden.  There would be teaching space plus catering in a basement.  The building is earmarked for use as a residential college by an international organisation which provides pre-university training for overseas students.

Chair of the planning committee Cllr Phelim Mac Caffery said:  “These are two very prominent development sites. 

“There have sadly been no plans coming forward to retain the Astoria as a cinema or entertainment venue. This is a real shame because the building is highly regarded with its exterior ‘moderne’ style and interior French Art Deco style. The consent to demolish from 2012 was achieved despite these features. But there is an outstanding condition to record and retain features of importance appropriately.

“When we have such a serious housing shortage it seems reasonable to allow some residential development to be added.

“At the Buxton’s building, students will be accommodated instead of residing in accommodation more regularly used for families. Language schools are an important part of the local economy, while the current building has seen happier times. Committee felt that the new approach with the old Buxton’s site fits well with the many projects now underway to regenerate the London Road area. This includes the new Level park, the renovated Co-op building and the fantastic new Open Market.”