London Road Regeneration
London Road is a busy high street to the North of the city centre. Once a thriving shopping area, it had been in a state of gradual decline since the 1980s, after seeing the loss of well known businesses and investments. Read more about the London Road regeneration here!
In recent years London Road has become the focus of a number of strategies and projects aimed at improving its environment and turning around its economic fortunes. Here is a summary of the various projects happening right now to renovate and revive the London road area to its former glory.
The council has allocated an indicative sum of £600,000 from the Local Transport Plan for improvements in London Road. In order to make best use of a relatively small budget for such a large area, the council is aware that investment needs to be carefully prioritised. The council opened a public survey called ‘London Road Public Realm Survey’, looking for input from the local community to help identify the main issues and opportunities that the concept scheme should consider. It closed on February 7th.
The Open Market, Brighton’s only covered market, will reopen on July 19th, offering fresh food, locally sourced goods and a range of other market products and services. It will also host permanent shops and cafés, pop up stalls and a variety of regular and one off events. Redevelopment of the Open Market involved the replacement of the former market with a new covered space, workshops and housing. It was a key project aimed at improving the economic performance of London Road and attracting more customers to the area.
The Level has recently undergone a complete restoration. The transformed space features a large skate park, fantastic enclosed playground, the new Velo cafe with its unique bicycle theme, water fountains and lots of open public areas. The restoration and improvement of this historic park, just to the east of London Road, was completed during 2013 and has been highly successful. The Level provides an attractive and popular open space, not just for people in the London Road area but for the city as a whole and its many visitors.
As part of the ‘Lively Cities’ project to provide a pedestrian-friendly ‘oasis’ on the edge of London Road, the council is now progressing plans for the permanent improvement of this area. Elder Place and Providence Place are back-streets that run parallel with London Road and suffer from considerable graffiti and tagging. Plans for improvement include the creation of an ‘art wall’, new on-street parking and renovation of Providence Place Gardens with new seating and games equipment.
This important mixed-use development to the north east of Brighton Station is currently under construction and will complete the pedestrian route that will link the rear entrance of the station with London Road, the Level and beyond. The development will also provide new housing, a pedestrian plaza, shops and (eventually) a new hotel and office block.
Planning permission was granted in 2012 to Watkins Jones for the redevelopment of the former Co-op department store on London Road. The redevelopment of the building will preserve the façade of the original 1930s department store and provide 351 units of student accommodation above three ground floor retail units, with a residential block behind. Construction work has been well underway since December 2013.
City College, Pelham Street
Planning permission was granted in December 2013 for the redevelopment of the City College buildings on Pelham Street, just to the west of London Road. The new £73 million development will provide new modern further education teaching space for the college, along with student housing, residential and new public open space.
Brighton & Hove City Council and Wired Sussex are partners on the INTERREG ReCreate project to support the arts & creative industries, with £650,000 funding. The project includes the transformation of New England House into the ‘Fusebox’, a 3,500sq ft creative innovation hub whose aim is to encourage the development of new art & creative industry businesses. For Brighton & Hove, with its creative industries, a single-hub building to provide flexible and affordable space for the creative and digital sector is very beneficial.
Valley Gardens is made up of green spaces running from The Level down to the Old Steine and seafront. The area has huge potential and plays an important role in connecting the city centre to London Road. Despite being a conservation area there is not a lot to attract residents and it is not often used. The council is developing plans to rationalise the transport arrangements of this key corridor and improve the quality of the public spaces.
The London Road Local Action Team (LAT) provides a forum for local businesses, residents and local organisations to discuss local issues and work together on projects that will help to improve the area. The LAT has been particularly engaged with planners and developers, hosting presentations at its regular meetings on a number of significant local developments. It is also involved itself with community safety issues, with much consideration currently focussed on problems around substance misuse, street community issues and squatting.
The London Road Town Team led by the council was one of 27 areas granted Portas Pilot status by the Department for Communities and Local Government, receiving £83,485. This funding was for enterprising use of empty premises, business skills training, arts and cultural events and crime reduction. The council has also secured £10,000 in Arts Council funding to support the project.