19 December 2014

Two shortlisted for King Alfred redevelopment

Two companies have been shortlisted to progress to the next stage of the search for a developer for Hove’s King Alfred Leisure Centre site.

They are Bouygues Development and Crest Nicholson Regeneration in partnership with local charity, the Starr Trust.  The firms were selected from six applicants by a team of specialist council officers, including the heads of planning and sport, advised by Deloitte Real Estate.

The decision was ratified by the cross-party King Alfred project board at its meeting on 12 December.

Shortlisted bidders were selected following a Pre-Qualification Stage that considers their relevant experience and technical and professional capability. Other factors included a track record of partnership working and community engagement. The council is stressing the firms have not been required to submit any plans at this stage.  Such details will form part of the next stage.

Shortlisted companies will now be invited to work up ‘outline solutions’ as part of a Competitive Dialogue process.  This would include drafting design proposals for the sports centre and the enabling development required to pay for it – including the size of such a development.  There would also be a review of any alternative sites developers might propose for the sports centre – while still funded by an enabling development at the King Alfred.

Bouygues Development focuses on working in partnership with local authorities and landowners to develop schemes that create a better environment for local communities. It is part of the Bouygues Group, a global development and construction company that has already delivered major projects across the UK and worldwide, ranging from sports facilities to community amenities and entire new neighbourhoods.

Crest Nicholson, a major southern UK-focussed property developer, is best-known locally for the award-winning One Brighton eco-development in the New England Quarter near Brighton Station. The Starr Trust work closely with the local community to help young people fulfil their potential in Sport, Arts & Education.

After a period of dialogue with the council, bidders will be invited to submit final tenders next May.  It is hoped that this will lead to a preferred development partner being chosen by next September.

Chair of the project board Cllr Geoffrey Bowden said:  “I’m pleased we have two promising bidders who have undertaken high-quality projects of a similar scale.

“It’s early days and there are no plans to see yet.  When we have more detail it will be very important that residents are properly consulted and their views met wherever possible.  We also need to be realistic.  This sports centre will be privately-funded because councils these days have nothing like the required funds.  That money will have to come largely from the proceeds of an enabling development.”

Project  board member Cllr Andrew Wealls said; “I am delighted two bidders have been approved to go to the next stage of the process and very much look forward to selecting a development partner and engaging in public consultation at the soonest opportunity.”

Fellow board member Cllr Warren Morgan said; “It’s vitally important that we as a council replace the current King Alfred leisure centre with a new one that meets the needs of residents, is appropriate, affordable and can be delivered on time and in budget after proper and full consultation with residents. We are united in the desire to see that happen as soon as possible.”


Background: Press release from October 2014…

Development partner sought for
King Alfred leisure centre site

Brighton & Hove City Council is seeking a developer to create a new high-quality leisure facility to replace Hove’s King Alfred Leisure Centre.

Alongside could be a residential development of around 400 homes, subject to planning permission.  These would be required to meet the capital cost of the leisure centre - as well as addressing the city’s acute housing shortage.

Developers are being alerted to the development opportunity with a notice to the industry issued this week and a trade press advert on Saturday October 11.

The council says a new leisure centre is essential to meet modern standards and public expectations.  A modern, new facility is also likely to attract more users, thereby helping to meet running costs.  The current building, dating from the 1930s, is expensive to run at a time when the council is facing its biggest-ever funding cuts – needing to save over £100m in the next five years.

A council report in July 2013 estimated a new leisure centre would cost around £40m.  The authority points out councils have nothing like the available funds, so a partnership with the private sector is the only way such a scheme could be delivered.

A cross-party project board was set up to develop the brief and oversee the scheme. Chair of the board and the council’s culture committee,

Cllr Geoffrey Bowden said:  “Staff are doing a brilliant job at the current leisure centre – it’s been much improved but with mounting maintenance costs, it really needs replacing with an up-to-date facility.  We’re certain that a new leisure centre would be much more popular, be easier to maintain and so cost taxpayers a lot less to run.  There is nowhere near enough council money to buy a leisure centre outright, so an enabling development and a private partner is the only option.  But we need to make sure it’s an appropriate development for the site. Local people will be consulted to make sure their views are accommodated as part of the process.”

Last year the council’s policy and resources committee agreed the mix of facilities should include a swimming pool, plus teaching and children’s pools, a six-badminton-court hall, a bowls rink, 70-piece gym, workout studio and 180 parking spaces.  Last November personnel representing 29 teams attended a developers’ day with the council to discuss possibilities for the site.


Further information: King Alfred redevelopment