The 2.2 hectare Preston Barracks site is owned by the city council and was acquired from the Ministry of Defence because of its strategic significance and potential to contribute towards many of the city’s priorities. The primary objective is to create a first class, sustainable, employment-led, mixed use development that will act as a regenerative catalyst. The site, on the main Lewes Road, is an ‘urban gateway’ to the city from the ‘Academic Corridor’ (close to Brighton and Sussex Universities).
Since 2009, the council has been working in partnership with the University of Brighton to explore wider development opportunities that include the former barracks site alongside adjacent university land. This effectively doubles the area of developable land, which offers the prospect of a more integrated and comprehensive development. Having agreed a ‘Shared Vision’ that sets out joint aspirations for the redevelopment in 2009, a Site Capacity Assessment that examined development potential was then completed in 2010.
In 2012, the partners commissioned a new masterplan covering the extended development area, the results of which lead to a detailed assessment of financial viability and a review of delivery options. The outcome of this review was presented to the council’s Policy & Resources (P&R) Committee in July 2013, when it was agreed that the council should enter into negotiations to actively consider disposal of the council-owned barracks site to the University of Brighton and/or its development partner. Negotiations have progressed well and following a report to the cross-party Project Board on 20 November, an update report was considered at P&R on 5 December 2013. The committee supported the work to date and agreed the detailed arrangements by which the partners would seek to conclude negotiations, the outcome of which will be reported to a future meeting of the Project Board. It is hoped that negotiations can be concluded satisfactorily, with a further report to the Project Board by the end of February 2014.