Brighton Seaside Resort

©English Heritage
©English Heritage

Region: South East

Owner Type: Many

Funding Body: HERS; Public; Private

Year of Intervention: 1999 - 2003

Summary: Brighton seaside resort- investing in a secondary shopping throughfare through the aid of the Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS) and Conservation Area Partnership Scheme (CAPS).

Description: The Brighton HERS focuses mainly on the St James’s Street and St George’s Road shopping areas, which contain 31 listed buildings and 52 locally listed buildings, and are located within the East Cliff conservation area.
Issue: St James Street is a District Shopping Centre and a well-used throughfare, with flows of approximately 2,400 pedestrians per hour. However, in the past decade the are has suffered considerably as many larger or more established retailers have moved out or been replaced. A perceived negative image of the street pervades due to fear of crime and anti-social behaviour; the congestion caused by through traffic which endangers shoppers; the lack of major environmental improvements relative to other shopping areas in Brighton; and a lack of marketing of the area. Lack of investment in the building fabric, coupled with under-use of the upper floors, has resulted in the neglect of the buildings. The street has also suffered from a number of long term vacant shop units. St George’s road is designated as a Local Shopping Centre in the Local Plan, comprising smaller units, which serve a local catchment area. The street has begun to attract new small, specialist retailers; however, it suffers from similar problems as St James Street.
Strategy: St James’s Street was included in the East Cliff Conservation Area Partnership Scheme (CAPS), which finished in March 1999. Thirteen buildings benefited from grant aid under the CAPS. The HERS has been successful to date. Several key prominent buildings have been comprehensively restored; six formally vacant shop units have been brought back into commercial use and a number of attractive new shopfronts have been installed in both St James’s Street and St George’s Road. Furthermore, take-up of funding has been improving since the road improvements were carried out with European URBAN funding.
Outcome: The full impact of the HERS cannot be properly assessed yet, however in 2002 £111,555 of English Heritage grant money, which was matched by additional public sector funding and a further £236, 662 of private sector funds was invested. This improved 20 buildings, 952 square meters of commercial floorspace and 15 homes. As a consequence 31 new jobs were created. There is a sense of slowly renewed confidence in the area, with several new businesses moving in and various planning applications for extensions and alterations to buildings, to provide further residential accommodation above shops, and to expand commercial floorspace.

Keywords: Grants, Regeneration, Repair, Reconstruction & Restoration

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