Plans for Brighton's West Street to become like La Rambla in Barcelona
Photo: An artist impression of West Street, Brighton
One of the most run-down parts of the city could be transformed into Brighton’s answer to La Rambla as part of a regeneration masterplan.
The newly unveiled plan would transform “tacky” West Street – currently a magnet for antisocial behaviour and blighted by “awful buildings” – into a Barcelona-style walkway including hotels, a restaurant, trees and street furniture.
Developers hope the development could act as a catalyst for further regeneration of the area, and coincide with the much-mooted Standard Life redevelopment of Churchill Square, as well as the £9 million rebuilding of Shelter Hall on the seafront.
Under the proposals, 78 West Street, formerly Hedkandi and Tru nightclub, and 79 West Street, currently Walkabout, Smart Brighton Beach and Backpackers Hostels, will be replaced with new hotels and a ground floor area spanning between 78 West Street and 7-8 Middle Street, including a hotel reception and high quality restaurant.
The eyesore former nightclub will be replaced by a modern building “reminiscent of the original Victorian dancehall”.
Another building will replace a former hotel on Middle Street, which currently towers over the synagogue and other neighbouring listed buildings and its graffitied front will be rebuilt and opened up.
Meanwhile “unattractive, unlit” South Street will be made into a safe secondary thoroughfare, with entrances and windows to the new hotel and a small block of four apartments.
Architect Morgan Carn Partnership is also behind the recently approved Hanningtons Lane, Puget’s Lane and Brighton Square plan to regenerate The Lanes and North Street.
John McLean, director at Morgan Carn, said: “This is tremendously exciting for our city, West Street is a huge disappointment and lost opportunity.
“Thousands of visitors and local residents flock to the seafront from the station and their first impression is an inhospitable, car dominated street spoilt by some awful buildings.
“West Street suffers from a tacky image and many of the current uses are a magnet for antisocial behaviour, with the dead frontages created by the nightclubs and amusement arcades contributing nothing to the quality of the public realm.
“This is the primary route between the station, seafront and the eagerly awaited i360 and should be Brighton’s equivalent of the Rambla in Barcelona, a wonderful, vibrant, tree lined avenue with street performers and alfresco dining, an attraction in itself.
“We are hoping to upgrade the pavements and introduce trees and street furniture as part of the proposals and encourage neighbouring landowners to do the same.”
Geoffrey Springer, director at developer London & Regional, said: “The proposed development will bring a disused and semi-derelict site back into occupational use, generating jobs, enhancing the appeal of the Old Town to tourists and creating economic and physical regeneration in the heart of Brighton. We want to ensure that we deliver the very best development, as Brighton deserves.”
Afshin Foulad, director at Smart Space, said: “This is a burning aspiration that we have been working towards since our acquisition of the site and we hope will provide a catalyst for the future enhancement of West Street and the Old Town. We look forward to discussing our ideas with local stakeholders and the general public in due course.”