Plans approved for rebuild of London Road Co-op
Brighton & Hove City Council has approved plans for a new student housing development in central Brighton.
The planning approval, granted on Wednesday (12 December), means that construction work at the Co-op building in London Road could begin in the new year and the first students could move in for the academic year 2014-15.
The University of Sussex has been working in close partnership with the developer, Watkin Jones, on the plans to regenerate the 80-year-old building – 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: “The project 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.
“The London Road site will be particularly attractive to postgraduate, mature and overseas students who might otherwise be housed in the private sector.”
A car-free development, the building will 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 approved this week, the building will be managed by a specialist student accommodation company but the University will allocate the tenants and will expect to be responsible for the welfare of Sussex students living there and to be involved with community and neighbourhood relations.