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Bennetts challenges KSS's designs for Brighton pier

Bennetts Associates is spearheading a campaign to halt KSS Sport and Leisure Design's proposed £34 million revamp of Brighton's historic West Pier.

KSS's plans have received harsh criticism from CABE, which called on the planning authorities to refuse the scheme in its current form (AJ 27.6.02).

Bennetts Associates, supported by local opposition group Save Our Seafront (SOS), is pushing for a reconsideration of its own proposals for the site. Its alternative scheme was one of a number of projects shortlisted in a competition in February 2000.

KSS's contested plan, for developer St Mowden, includes a number of buildings that rise two storeys above the Upper Esplanade. But Bennetts' associate director Julian Lipscombe claims these proposed new buildings would destroy the context of the pier and the character of the seafront.

By contrast, Bennetts' scheme, which sits below the level of the promenade, would deliver the same level of development 'in a more sensitive way', Lipscombe claimed.

KSS associate James Budd dismissed the challenge: 'Our clients and ourselves consider Bennetts Associates' proposals not worthy of any further comment. Furthermore, we consider there to be misplaced enthusiasm for a building which will not be commercially viable and will add nothing to the vitality and viability of either the pier or the experience of Brighton's seafront.'

KSS is currently revising its proposals in light of CABE's criticisms last month.

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