A planning application has been submitted to Brighton & Hove City Council to restore and enhance the historic Moulsecoomb Place Manor House, Tithe Barn and gardens on Lewes Road, creating a new public park and replacing the existing student halls on the site with higher quality student accommodation and community uses.
“After two years of careful design and consultation with the Community I would like to thank the community groups, Ward Councillors and hundreds of people who participated in our consultations and meetings,” 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, and we have heard a lot of local support for our proposals which will open up the listed gardens and buildings for everyone to enjoy.”
Proposals are for a Pub, Community Hub and Social Club in the restored Manor House and Tithe Barn, including a pub, restaurant and event space with guest rooms, and Moulsecoomb Social Club, a low-cost local membership club, open for anyone to join.
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 provide flexible space for one or several community organisations to use continuously, supporting employment and training in the local area. 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 24 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 sixty 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.”
Natural PR has managed the public consultation and prepared a Statement of Community Involvement for this project.