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Clouds hang over Haworth Tompkins' succession plans for Gehry’s King Alfred redevelopment

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Doubts have emerged over the future of Haworth Tomkins’ mixed use development on the troubled King Alfred site in Hove, East Sussex

Developer Crest Nicholson, which was named preferred bidder for the seafront plot in 2016, has approached the Homes and Communities Agency to provide £10 million to bail out the scheme.

Building had been scheduled to start in October so the scheme – which would provide 560 homes and a new leisure centre could open at the end of 2019. But a scheduled planning consultation which had already been delayed by a year has yet to be launched.

In a statement, Geoff Raw chief executive of Brighton & Hove City Council, said: ‘Crest Nicholson has approached the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) with the agreement and support of the council to assist in the delivery of the King Alfred development project. Involvement of the HCA is not unusual on large and complex schemes.

‘Discussions with the HCA are ongoing.’

He said that the level of affordable housing – 20 per cent of the total number of homes - would not be affected by the approach.

A statement from Crest Nicholson said: ‘Crest Nicholson and the Starr Trust are committed to working in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council to deliver the King Alfred development.’

The scheme is slated to provide 560 homes plus an 11,200m² new leisure centre and a 1,140m² community arts facility.

Brighton newspaper The Argus reported last month that Crest Nicholson is attempting to renegotiate the terms of the deal with Brighton and Hove Council because of ‘inflated costs’.

A previous proposal for the site by Frank Gehry, dubbed Tin Can Alley because of its crumpled metallic towers (pictured bottom), was shelved in 2008 almost five years after the starchitect won the original competition (see AJ 10.11.08).

Haworth Tompkins, which is acting as masterplanner, has been working with sports specialist LA Architects on the all-new scheme which will see the 1930s King Alfred sports centre flattened.

An AJ approach for more details about the state of the scheme met with silence from the main parties. A spokesperson for the council said: ‘Nobody wants this played out publicly, but we’ll be very happy to give you more information as soon as we’re able.’

AJ was promised a more detailed statement on the scheme by a PR firm acting for the development, but none was forthcoming after more than 10 days.

The Homes and Communities Agency failed to respond to inquiries.

gehry king alfred

gehry king alfred



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