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Sussex supports revised plans for rebuild of London Road Co-op

Regenerated: An artist's impression of how the Co-op building in London Road, Brighton might look as student residences

Cornered: Artist's impression of how the regenerated Co-op building would look from Baker Street

Thoroughfare: An artist's impression of the rear of the Co-op building, in London Terrace

The University of Sussex is working in close partnership with the owner and developer on revised plans for a new student housing development in central Brighton.

Brighton residents have been invited to comment on a new scheme by developer Watkin Jones to regenerate the 80-year-old Co-op building in London Road, Brighton – which has stood empty since 2007 – by creating accommodation for 351 students.

The previous application, which was refused by council planners in December 2011, proposed to clear the entire site and replace it with a completely new building.

The new design, for retail outlets on the ground floor and managed student accommodation above, is significantly reduced in scale and retains the façade of the original 1930s building.

The University’s interest in the proposed development arises from a growth in student numbers, which in turn has increased demand for accommodation.

The University already owns and manages a wide variety of accommodation off campus, including the King’s Road residence on Brighton seafront and several houses.

To meet the growing demand, however, other developments are necessary.

Charles Dudley, Director of Residential, Sport & Trading Services, says: “We’ve been working closely in partnership with the owners and developers of the Co-op site and we hope the project comes to fruition.

“It helps and complements the work that the University is doing to develop and expand student accommodation on campus and will provide additional capacity while we bring forward further schemes.

“Just this month we received planning permission for a further 150 rooms in the Northfield student residences.

“The London Road site would enable us to offer housing to undergraduates and postgraduates who would otherwise be housed in the private sector.”

A car-free development, the building would contain secure, covered storage for up to 120 bicycles.

Charles says: “The proposed accommodation is ideally located close to the attractions of the city but with ease of access by public transport and cycle lanes to the Falmer campus.”

The University’s requirements for the site include some adapted accommodation for disabled students.

Under the plans, the building would be managed by a specialist student accommodation company but the University will allocate the tenants and would expect to be responsible for the welfare of Sussex students living there and to be involved with community and neighbourhood relations.

At a consultation exhibition this week, the majority of local residents who inspected the latest proposals expressed their support for the development. Further comments are welcome by email until 31 July: E co-op@genesistp.co.uk

The developer intends to submit a planning application to Brighton & Hove City Council in August.

If planning permission is granted (potentially by the end of December), Watkin Jones could begin construction in the new year and the first students could move in for the academic year 2014-15.

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2012

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