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Conran and Partners wins contest for £100m Hailsham masterplan

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Conran and Partners has won a competition to masterplan a £100 million mixed-use regeneration in Hailsham town centre, East Sussex

The London practice was chosen ahead of four unnamed rivals to win the estimated £720,000 commission, which was tendered by Wealden District Council in October last year.

Conran and Partners will re-masterplan the site of the Vicarage Field shopping centre, which was purchased by the local authority two years ago. The appointed firm will also draw up RIBA Stage 2 concepts and submit an outline planning application.

The ‘Hailsham Aspires’ project, planned to complete in 2025, will deliver a mix of retail, leisure, civic and residential uses on the site and on a neighbouring plot also owned by the council. The project aims to improve ‘footfall and dwell-time’ in the town centre and will include new public realm and car parking.

Lee Davies, partner at Conran and Partners said: ‘We will draw on our wide experience of working in sensitive contexts – from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to UNESCO World Heritage sites – and consult closely with local people to ensure that the regeneration strategy both respects Hailsham’s historic setting and also enhances the town’s existing commercial offer and night-time economy.

‘We will also be exploring opportunities to deliver a significant number of much-needed new homes for both private and social housing providers.’

Hailsham is a market town about 80km south-east of London. The town centre is a designated conservation area and includes a large number of historic listed buildings, including the Grade I-listed St Mary’s Church.

Wealden District Council purchased the 8,500m² Vicarage Field shopping centre for about £12.35 million in 2017. An initial feasibility study looking at options to boost retail, civic and residential activity on the site has already been completed by Savills.

Bob Standley, council leader and chair of the project sponsor board, said: ‘We are excited to have been able to assemble such a high-quality team of specialists to help regenerate this part of Hailsham.

‘We are impressed with the emphasis our team is placing on collaboration at every stage of the design process. The findings from our recent Hailsham Aspires consultation will now help the design team create a regeneration proposal which will inspire and help secure the future prosperity of the town.’

Conran and Partners has teamed up with engineers Hilson Moran, town planners Lambert Smith Hampton and design team project managers Mott MacDonald to develop the scheme.

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