Next stage of plans to redesign and restore the Royal Pavilion Gardens

A report to the Strategy, Finance & City Regeneration Committee published today proposes the next stage of plans to redesign and restore the Royal Pavilion Gardens. This includes a bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for £4.4M to be jointly made with the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust (RPMT).

The plan is to continue to develop the Royal Pavilion Estate as a world class cultural and heritage site by improving the integration of the Royal Pavilion and Gardens, Brighton Dome, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre within their historic setting.

Historic England placed the Garden on its Heritage At Risk Register in 2017 and since this time a programme to protect and maintain the garden has been in development.

Plans include improved footpaths, a new education space, a Changing Places accessible toilet and refurbished public toilets, the reinstatement of historic boundary railings and a new planting plan. Without these works being carried out there is the risk that the Garden could lose its listed status.

Following discussions with RPMT, it has been agreed that 24-hour public access to the Garden will be maintained.

A safe, people-focused environment

To protect its dual function as a palace garden and public park a strategy to address serious criminal and anti-social behaviour in the Garden will be agreed by the council, RPMT and other stakeholders.

Measures might include joint working with the police, increased security, improved lighting and design and expanded CCTV coverage.

This strategy is important to demonstrate to the National Lottery Heritage Fund that, if it awards grant funding, its considerable investment will be safeguarded and the Garden maintained in the future. 

Discussions will also continue about the siting of and potential funding for proposed statues, including a statue of Indian Soldiers who fought in World War 1 and were nursed in the Royal Pavilion and a statue of suffragette Mary Clarke who was active in Brighton in 1909/10. These would provide important social context for the Royal Pavilion and its Gardens and also create an opportunity for increased community engagement.

New secure and Changing Places toilets

The public toilets in the Garden are currently closed as they have been the focus of anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

Under the plan, they will be replaced with a ‘secure by design’ toilet building to provide a safer environment for visitors. A Changing Places toilet is also part of the bid for funding.

We will explore bringing forward the refurbishment of the toilets, including the Changes Places toilet, to achieve reopening as soon as possible. Current estimates suggest that the toilets could be brought back into use by early 2025 and before the main project works to the Garden start later that year. These timings would be subject to a successful NLHF bid.

In the meantime, we are considering how to ensure there are adequate toilet facilities for those visiting the Garden and will provide further information on this in due course.

The Committee will be asked to agree a contribution of up to £250,000 for toilet refurbishment for the project.

The world class centrepiece of Brighton & Hove’s cultural quarter

Council Leader Bella Sankey said: “The aim of the project is to ensure our unique and historic Royal Pavilion Garden is a Garden fit for a City and that it retains its listed status.

“This plan contains exciting proposals to restore some of the Garden’s former glory as well as ensuring maximum use by residents and visitors.

“I’m particularly animated to see plans for a new world-class public toilet including a Changing Places toilet.

“I hope this report is agreed by the Strategy, Finance & City Regeneration Committee on Friday so that the bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund can be made later this month and reach a successful outcome.”