Plans to create a world class conference centre and entertainment venue at Black Rock, next to Brighton Marina, have received a boost, with over £12 million of government funding awarded to the project.
The financing has come via the Local Enterprise Partnership, which will make a significant contribution to the high costs of redeveloping the Black Rock site that has been derelict for over 30 years.
The city's huge waterfront regeneration project would see the current Brighton Centre demolished, along with the cinema complex next door. The site would be redeveloped, including extending Churchill Square shopping centre to the seafront and radically improving public spaces in the area. A replacement world class conference and events centre, including a 10,000 seat entertainment venue and transport links from the venue to the city centre and Brighton train station, would be built at Black Rock.
The new venue is deemed vital for the city as it would ensure Brighton can continue to compete with the bigger venues for the large conferences and major act tours. The venue would draw in extra business and visitors to the city.
The Waterfront Project would involve the council selling the site of the Brighton Centre to Standard Life Investments, owners of Churchill Square shopping centre and using the money from the sale to part-fund a new venue at Black Rock.
Once the partners have reached a legal agreement the next stage would be to develop a scheme with professional architects and engineers, which is anticipated to take one to two years. Partners will then prepare a planning application for the agreed final scheme, the current estimate for this being 2019/2020. Consultation with communities, businesses and interest groups will also form a vital part of the project.
The completed developments, worth an estimated £540 million, are expected to create 2,000 jobs and boost spending in the city by £150 million annually. They would earn an extra £4.6 million a year for the public purse – seen as crucial in an era of reductions to council funding.