Brighton & Hove City Council has given the developer behind Haworth Tompkins’ long-awaited King Alfred proposals two months to either commit to the scheme or walk away from it
The local authority issued a final deadline of 30 March – the day after the UK is due to leave the EU – for Crest Nicholson to sign a development agreement for the practice’s 560-home project, which will also include an 11,200m² leisure centre and 1,140m² community arts facility.
It comes after the developer reportedly said it couldn’t commit to the scheme until the government’s Brexit plans became clear.
Crest Nicholson was named preferred bidder for the Hove seafront plot in February 2016 but in 2017 urged the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to provide £10 million to bail out its project. Then, last October, the developer asked the council for more time to complete viability assessments.
Brighton & Hove City Council leader Dan Yates said: ‘While we recognise and have sympathy with the uncertainty that Brexit brings and how challenging this is for developers who are making investment decisions, we have to see progress on the delivery of a new leisure centre complex.
‘The council – and the people of Brighton & Hove – must have serious and absolute commitment to this scheme.’
The council’s policy, resources and growth committee unanimously voted this month to give Crest Nicholson a final deadline of 30 March to enter a development agreement.
Councillors said they would work towards completing the agreement by the end of January but begin to explore other options beyond this date, alongside working to complete the deal with Crest by that date.
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.
Crest Nicholson and Haworth Tompkins have been approached for comment.
A previous proposal for the site by Frank Gehry – dubbed Tin Can Alley because of its crumpled metallic towers – was shelved in 2008 almost five years after the US architect won the original competition.