Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Shelter Hall piling starts


The latest phase of rebuilding Brighton’s historic seafront Shelter Hall gets underway from early September, as contractors start sinking 135 concrete piles, up to 20 metres into the ground. These will then be capped with a half-metre thick slab of concrete to provide a stable base for the new building.

Around 1450 cubic metres of concrete will be pumped into the site – enough to fill three swimming pools the size of Brighton’s Prince Regent.

Hundreds of cement mixer deliveries will be needed. To accommodate them, a special compound will be created across the layby and prom opposite the Brighton Centre. This will entail a second diversion in the seafront cycle lane to be put in place imminently, shifting it a few metres south into a space shared with pedestrians. An existing diversion to the east will stay.

Piling and capping work is expected to last until around next February. However the compound and cycle lane diversion are expected to be in place until June 2018 to assist subsequent works.

Once groundworks are complete, a reinforced concrete frame will be created. External finishes will mean the new building looking similar to the Victorian structure it replaces.

The new building housing a large destination restaurant, a rotunda café, a retail unit and public toilets is expected to be fully open in Spring 2019. Revenues will help maintain the seafront in future. The council is also reinforcing the A259 to eliminate the risk of it eventually collapsing.

"Trixi mirror" for Lewes Road/Elm Grove junction


The extensive improvements (details here) currently underway at the junction of the Lewes Road and Elm Grove will include installation of a 'Trixi mirror'. 

A Trixi is a convex mirror attached to traffic signals to help drivers (especially HGVs) to see down the side of their vehicle for the presence of people on cycles, especially before turning left. This is a common cause of some very serious accidents in these situations.

In this case the mirror will be positioned under the signal head on Lewes Road southbound carriageway at its junction with Elm Grove.

The complete work is expected to last until 20th November and cause considerable temporary disruption.

West Pier - a Journey through Time



See also: Last days of the West Pier

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Boots corner.

The 100 year-old+ White Lion Hotel building
Photo:RPM

The 1974 modernist building
Photo: RPM

The re-designed, re-clad building. 2017

Boots have had some presence on this corner since 1903. Their modernist store which replaced the White Lion Hotel building & Regent cinema in 1974 at least had architectural integrity. It was designed by Derek Sharp of the Comprehensive Design Group. But its understated. elegant modernism was all but ruined by a re-design in 1998, changing it into a semi-industrial carbuncle. The cladding hasn't weathered well and the ridiculous  mortar-board roofs still look gimmicky and out-of-place. Hopes that it might be replaced by what seemed a fine new store for John Lewis were dashed earlier this year with a change in their plans.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

The new seafront landscaping

RSCH car park - access route change.


From Tuesday 29 August until Sunday 24 September the normal route to the multi-storey car park, from Bristol Gate across the hospital site, will be shut. This is to allow the delivery of modules for a new building in the hospital and engineering works to connect it to power and water supplies.

During this period drivers should follow the signposted route (shown in blue on the image below) to reach the hospital’s multi-storey car park.

To help manage traffic during this period:

The bottom of Whitehawk Hill Road will be made one way (from north to south), as shown in red on the image below.
Parking bays next to the hospital on both Upper Abbey Road and Whitehawk Hill Road will be suspended.
Please allow extra time if you are driving to the hospital and wish to park in the multi-storey car park.

If possible, please think about using a different way to reach the hospital or parking elsewhere. Links to information about using public transport to reach the hospital can be found on the RSCH information page.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

How the BA i360 was built



In the i360 beach building an interesting exhibition is open to the public until, come winter, the pod starts loading and unloading from the lower promenade level.

Interesting facts about the construction:
The 4,150-tonne concrete foundations are 3 metres deep.
7,200 tonnes of natural beach shingle was excavated during construction and returned to the beach at Shoreham, to help reverse the longshore drift.
The 162-metre-high tower consists of 17 steel cans that were bolted together using 1,336 bolts.
The steel cans vary in thickness from 85mm at the base to 20mm at the top.
The pod is 18 metres in diameter and is 10 times the size of a London Eye capsule.
The glass panels of the pod were shaped at high temperatures using bespoke moulds.
The West Pier tollbooths were reconstructed using castings from the original structures.

Seafront sculpture sacrilege

Aug 2017

Notwithstanding the reputation of Brighton as a centre for the arts and artists philistines seem to be alive and kicking.

The setting of an important 20thC artwork has been recently ruined by the unthinking addition of a motley collection of seafront clutter. It is no consolation that some of it may not be permanent. Even the security camera mast, in itself, is sufficient to spoil the composition.

How it should look.
See also: Passacaglia postscript

Thursday, 10 August 2017

New homes in old buildings


At yesterday’s BHCC planning committee approval was given to convert Preston Road School, to provide 25 flats. Consent allows the locally-listed 1880s building to have a roof conversion, mezzanine floors, and a rear extension.  Ten of the flats would be affordable units aimed at local people in housing need.

Developers would pay the council £71,000 to local open spaces and indoor sports facilities plus £55,000 towards local schools.

Over in South Street, Portslade, planning permission has been granted for a scheme which will provide 37 flats on the old Brewery complex.


The scheme will utilise the classical revival-style buildings on the site which are all locally-listed.  There would also be commercial space including artists’ studios with ancillary galleries, community space and a café. Other industrial buildings would be demolished.

Elsewhere on site will be 11 new  houses. This would include two units of affordable accommodation aimed at local people on the housing waiting list - or a payment of £126,000 instead towards housing elsewhere. Councillors agreed they preferred the on-site option.

In a planning agreement developers would pay over £100,000 to improve local parks. Another £48,000 would go towards sustainable transport, £21,000 for city sports centres and £16,000 to a local employment scheme.

View of the corner of the site from South Street. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Corn Exchange project - time lapse video.

Pride 2017, BHCC video

Grenville Place

The north-east corner of Grenville Place with Upper Russell Street in 1967
Photo:RP&M

From left to right is the back of Home & Colonial Stores; no.2, a hairdressers and, on the corner, the back of Dorothy Normans

The corner of North Street with Farm Yard. 2017
Before Churchill Square the frontage of the Western Road shops was level with what is now the Metro Bank at the end of North Street.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Circus Street update

Construction has at last started on the vacant Circus Street site. This follows the developer U+I  securing funding for the delivery of the project with GCP Student Living plc, the UK’s first Real Estate Investment Trust focused on student residential accommodation, and Gravis Capital Management Limited.

A public-private partnership between U+I and Brighton & Hove City Council, this important £130 million project will see a derelict, former fruit and vegetable market in central Brighton transformed into a thriving new quarter and cultural destination for the city.

The development, designed by leading architects shedkm with TP Bennett, will create over 400 jobs and inject £200 million into the local economy over the next ten years.  It includes 142 new homes; 450 student bedrooms; 30,000 sq ft of new office space plus workshops offering creative businesses start-up accommodation and room to grow.

Central to the Circus Street designs is a new public square, with restaurants and shops targeted at independent businesses, creating  new retail and leisure destination for the city. A state-of-the-art dance space will open onto the square and provide a new home for South East Dance, a leading arts organisation and charity.

Brighton & Hove City Council has sold part of the site to the University of Brighton for their plans to be brought forward at a later date.

British firm Henry Construction has been appointed as contractor standing out for their emphasis on offering local jobs and apprenticeships for young people on the construction. Henry has previously worked on The Boiler House at the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, another of U+I’s regeneration projects and has also worked on important London regeneration projects including King’s Cross and North Acton.

Piling is currently underway and the majority of the buildings on site will complete in 2019.

Earlier post: Circus Street scheme approved.

Monday, 7 August 2017