Decision to be made on restoration of Moulsecoomb Place

Proposals to restore the historic Moulsecoomb Place Manor House, Tithe Barn and gardens on Lewes Road, and replace the existing student halls on the site with higher quality student accommodation and community uses will be considered by Brighton & Hove Planning Committee on 5th April 2023.

The development will bring an estimated 62 jobs to the local area and an investment of over £150million into the city, opening up the park and listed buildings for public use and enjoyment, as well as delivering much needed student rooms right next to the University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb Campus with a gym and well-being studio.

Sustainable design means new student buildings will be built to BREEAM Excellent standards and will include a 100sq.m community space at ground level. Land has been allocated for a Brighton Bikeshare hub in the northern part of the development, next to Moulsecoomb Station. Public realm improvements within the site and adjacent public highway will make the gardens more accessible, and landscaping and planting aims to create a ten percent biodiversity net gain.

Restoration of the Manor House and Tithe Barn will incorporate a public house, restaurant and events space, guest bedrooms, car parking and associated alterations to hard and soft landscaping. Moulsecoomb Social Club is also being offered the opportunity to work with the developers to restore the building and build its membership.

“We listened to local people through a two-year series of consultation events and meetings and believe that the local community will benefit from us bringing the listed Moulsecoomb Place Manor, Tithe Barn and gardens back into the public domain for leisure, enjoyment and well-being,’ said Richard Upton, CEO of Cathedral, owners of the site.

“Feedback from local businesses, community groups and residents was crucial to help us establish what would work on this complex site, which has been underused for many years. Our proposals will open up the listed gardens and buildings for everyone to enjoy.”

More details: 566 purpose-built student rooms in a 24-hour managed group of four blocks will include a 100sq.m dedicated community space at ground level, accessed from Queensdown School Road, designed to potentially provide flexible space for one of several community organisations to use continuously. Brighton has a shortfall of over 4,000 student bedrooms in the city which is taking too many affordable homes away from families; these proposals will go some way to addressing that shortfall, putting student bedrooms in the heart of a university campus rather than taking land in residential and commercial areas. In turn this will lead to a release of affordable family homes in the city.

The developer intends to hold an events programme inside the listed buildings and in the gardens at Moulsecoomb Place, to enliven the area year-round and bring together the local communities, residential and student.  Areas of the publicly accessible listed buildings will be designed to highlight the history of the site and share its fascinating story. The Prince Regent once bestowed some hardwood doors to the Manor House and was said to be a frequent visitor to the house, playing his flute in the long since demolished Dovecote. That dovecote is the inspiration for some stunning architecture which shape the proposals. The pub room and event space within the Manor House will double up as affordable community space for local groups to hire.

Opening the listed buildings and gardens to the public was embraced by the local community and the developers are now proposing to enhance the gardens with new, well-maintained planting, places to sit, easily accessible pathways, linking the gardens with the new buildings and restored heritage assets. Landscape proposals look to increase biodiversity by 15 percent and include areas of planting for fruit trees. The gardens will be managed and maintained by the owners as part of the estate.

The ‘Pub Hub Club’ proposal, which the developers intend to manage with their own team, offers the opportunity to hire upwards of 60 staff and special efforts will be made to hire locally and train staff well. The construction and restoration projects will also create a large number of jobs in the local area. Additional employment and training opportunities will include security, janitorial and housekeeping roles within the student accommodation.

Richard Upton continued, “We intend to deliver an exceptional, sustainable, lively and more accessible place which brings great benefit to the local community of Moulsecoomb and the wider city.”

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